The AEIRC Ethics Review Committee (ERC), Pakistan, ensures that AEIRC conducts and supports research of only highly ethical standards. The projects adhere to supreme principles that protect the dignity and rights of human participants. The Ethics Committee is responsible for looking after all the research projects involving living species, either human subjects or animals, in the form of individuals or communities. AEIRC Ethics Committee must approve any changes that occur before or during the study to continue the research study. The ethics committee provides written guidelines on ethical considerations for research involving human subjects or animal subjects. AEIRC Ethics Committee can audit research studies at any time to ensure compliance with guidelines. It has all the authority to withdraw approval if found dissatisfactory upon investigation.
Our board members represent a panel of experts in diverse fields; for additional help, AEIRC Ethics Committee accounts on the Advisory Board to have an external professional opinion for specific studies to assure ethical conduct and provide unbiased services. The committee has the right to approve, conditionally approve or disapprove a protocol. The conditional approval grants permission for study initiation, but the principal investigator (PI) has to submit the revised protocol for attaining full approval. While for disapproved protocols, completed revision and re-submission are recommended.
Members of the AEIRC Ethics Committee have a relevant background from research and professional disciplines, discerning public and legal expertise. The tenure of the internal committee members is three years, and external members are one year, which may be renewed for one term at the discretion of the Chair ERC based on the attendance and quality of input by the member. AEIRC Ethics Committee encompasses nine members (including chair and secretary).
Our Advisory Board involves specialized professionals’ or bioethics experts, approached based on necessity only. The advisory board members are expected to provide ethical advice concerning the projects where the Internal Ethics Committee disapproves the research and PI appeals against the committee decision. The advisory board also provides general advice to the International Review Committee for effective monitoring. The group only has an advisory role and holds no power to make any decision regarding any project. The board members will only be renewed upon the Chair ERC recommendations based on the availability for consultation and the member's quality of input.
The committee meets the last Saturdays of every month in coordination with the administration and academic division; therefore, the reviewing process proceeds. The outcome of the review is communicated to the researchers within two weeks after the ERC meeting. In cases where clarification is sought, ERC will notify the PI to respond within three months. If the PI fails to respond in the given time, ERC will close the file, and the PI will be required to start a new ERC application to attain approval for the same project (The Processing Fee is 40,000 PKR). The Board of Governors approved the Ethics Committee's Rules and Procedures (AEIRC, 2015), effective from October 3, 2015.