Division for Research Development
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​DESC Process

  1. All projects for degree purposes, in which humans, institutions, organisations or communities/groups are involved or approached as participants, must be submitted to the Departmental Ethics Screening Committee (DESC) for review. 
  2. The REC will only accept medium- or high-risk projects without an initial DESC review process if the research is not for degree purposes (e.g. submitted by an SU staff member or other SU affiliated researcher), if the applicant deems the project as medium- to high-risk, and is following a process that has been approved by the respective Department (i.e. individual Departments may decide that all research must be reviewed by the DESC irrespective of the status of the applicant).
  3. The DESC reviews and approves minimal- and low-risk research. The DESC may request the applicant to make certain changes to the project or informed consent form, etc., and should recommend an appropriate process for ensuring that these changes are made prior to the implementation of the project.
  4. THE APPLICANT MAY START THE DESC-APPROVED MINIMAL- OR LOW-RISK PROJECT as soon as DESC approval is confirmed. 
  5. Medium- and high-risk research is referred to the REC either directly or after requiring the applicant to make certain changes (this at the discretion of the DESC), for full REC review as per standard REC processes.
  6. Once the DESC has approved the project (minimal- and low-risk projects) the complete ethics application (with DESC report included) is submitted to the REC to be ratified.
  7. The application and DESC-report are then reviewed by a rotating sub-committee of the REC, e.g. the chairperson and other REC member(s).
  8. THE DESC APPROVAL IS RATIFIED AT A REC MEETING (A LIST OF PROJECTS APPEARS IN THE AGENDA) AND THE REC ISSUES A FINAL LETTER OF APPROVAL.
  9. The REC reserves the right to suspend the DESC approval and request changes or clarifications. If there are minor problems, the REC reviewer may request additional information or changes without suspending the DESC approval. However, if the problems are deemed more substantial, the DESC approval will be suspended and the applicant will be notified that the project will need to serve at the next REC meeting. The REC office will notify the applicant (and if applicable, the supervisor) of this suspension within 1 day of receiving the notice of suspension from the REC sub-committee.