We are pleased to announce the establishment of the University of Belize (UB) – Institutional Review Board (IRB) which reflects a major milestone for the UB and its commitment to meet the mandate for Research, Innovation and Institutional Development.
One of the functions of the University of Belize (UB) established in the UB ACT is to engage in research that responds to national development needs. The development of this function is more and more being given attention by the University as it is clearly evident in its strategic plan 2010 and the transformational plan 2018, which express a commitment to development-responsive research. It is critical that it fulfills this research function in a responsible and ethical manner, particularly when it comes to the protection of human participants in research. With the above in mind, the present Institutional Research Board (IRB) policy and procedures have been developed. This policy aims to establish the ethical principles that will regulate the conduct of research that involves human participants, the procedures by which the ethical compliance of research projects will be assured, and the composition and operation of the IRB proper.
- Review the kinds of research carried out under the auspices of the University;
- Review the ethical soundness of proposals in terms of the university’s commitments, national regulations and laws, professional standards, human rights standards, code of ethics (such as those articulated in the Belmont Report and Helsinki Declaration) and community attitudes.
- Guarantee respect for its advice and decisions.
- Maintain confidentiality of the documents and deliberations of IRB meetings
- Declare any conflict of interests.
Membership and Terms of Service
The IRB will be comprised of six (6) individuals listed below. The members listed will serve for a term of two (2) years with possibility for renewal.
Internal to the University
- Two members whose primary concerns is in the health/behavioral/social sciences
- One member whose concern is in Non-Scientific
External to the University
- One member whose primary concern is in the health/ behavioral/social sciences
- Two members whose concern is in non-scientific areas (human rights, community, legal)
Research/Quality Assurance Officer of the University as Ex-officio Member and Coordinator of the IRB
At times the IRB may not have the necessary expertise to review a particular proposal in which case it may seek the expert advice from outside the IRB. Such expert will not constitute a member of the IRB and will not have voting rights. Such expert will be requested to disclose any conflicts of interest.
The Board will select a chair and vice-chair from the University members in the Board.
The Chair will be responsible for presiding over the meetings and speaking on behalf of the IRB. In the absence of the Chair the vice-chair will assume the Chair duties.
Quorum and Voting
- Quorum will be established as 50% + 1 member from amongst the voting members of the IRB
- Approval of protocols shall require a majority If at any time during the meeting quorum is lost this must be noted down in the minutes and no approval vote shall be taken.
- The committee will meet for a minimum of 2 (two) twice per semester
- Additional special meetings may be held as necessary at the request of the Chairperson
Attendance and Minutes of Meeting
- The Committee will maintain a record of its meetings and attendance at each
- The meeting agenda will be circulated to members at least five (5) days before a scheduled meeting
- The Chair is responsible to ensure minutes of meeting are recorder and circulated to the rest of the IRB
- A member may not miss more than two consecutive meetings
Resignation, Disqualification, Replacement of Members
- With sufficient reasons, members may resign from the committee by submitting a letter of resignation to the Chairperson within 30 days prior notice.
- Members may also be disqualified from continuance should the Chairperson provide the grounds for disqualification to the (other) members and there is unanimous agreement.
- Members who have resigned or have been disqualified may be replaced by appointing
- Members may be replaced in the event of death or long-term non-availability defined as more that two unexcused absence or for any action not commensurate with the responsibilities laid down in the guidelines and deemed unfit for a member.