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There are two Research Ethics Boards at the University of Calgary that are responsible for managing the ethics review process for researchers: the Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board (CHREB) and the Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board (CFREB). The Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board (CFREB) covers researchers in:

  • Arts
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Design
  • Haskayne School of Business
  • Law
  • Science
  • Social Work
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Institutes associated with any of these faculties
  • Libraries and Cultural Resources

Applications to the CFREB are created and submitted online using IRISS. There are no paper application forms.

Applications judged to be of minimal risk or no risk are typically reviewed in 3-4 weeks, depending upon the number of applications under review (the CFREB reviews approximately 600 applications per year). Minimal risk/no risk applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the year by the Chair and the Ethics Resource Officers.

Applications judged to be greater-than-minimal risk and those that use deception are reviewed by the entire CFREB during its monthly meeting, as required by the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS) regulations.

The schedule of monthly CFREB Meetings is listed here: CFREB Meeting Dates.

Research carried out by undergraduate students for course projects is normally reviewed by the student’s Faculty or Department ethics committee (e.g., the Faculty of Arts Research Ethics Committee) and not by the CFREB. However, if an undergraduate student is conducting research under the supervision of a faculty member (e.g., an honours thesis or directed study; a student with a PURE award or Markin award) and the research is directly related to the faculty member’s research program, then the faculty member would either 1) submit a regular application to the CFREB for ethics review and identify the student’s role in the application, or 2) submit a Modification to an existing CFREB-approved application to add the student to the research team.

Graduate and undergraduate students must complete the Tri-Councils' Course on Research Ethics (CORE) tutorial in order to be a co-applicant on an ethics application (as a member of the research team or as a masters/doctoral thesis student pursuing supervised research). Students must upload their CORE certification into the IRISS application before the CFREB can approve the application.

Please review the documents below for a description of the application process and for information that will facilitate the review of your application.

Expired Ethics Certification New

Description of the Application and Review Process

Research Activities Exempt from CFREB Review

Common Issues and How to Avoid Them

Special Ethical Considerations for Research in University of Calgary Courses 

Obtaining Oral Consent from Research Participants 

Establishing a Proxy for a Principal Investigator New

Update the Study Team in a particular study New

Funding SmartForm User Guide (if your study has not yet been submitted or approved) New

Manage My Funding (if your study is approved and you need to update funding information without having to submit a modification) New

Preparing a Certification Renewal Request - User Guide New

CFREB Forms & Templates

CFREB Confidentiality Form

CFREB Consent Form Template Updated Oct 2016

University Policies

University of Calgary Policy on Research Integrity

University of Calgary Policy on Human Subject Research Ethics

Effective September 30, 2016, CFREB approvals will no longer include separate Approval letters and Certificates. IRISS now combines the elements of both the certificate and the approval letter into one streamlined letter. This change will affect all new applications, renewals and modifications approved by our office.

For inquiries regarding the ethics review process please contact:

If you need to report a serious incident that occurred in your study, please contact CFREB or 403-220-4283 and a Research Ethics Analyst will follow-up with you.