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Research Ethics




Research, along with education and clinical care, are the three essential activities of  IWK Health. The Research Ethics Board (REB) serves to assist members of the research community to conduct ethically acceptable research involving humans.

All research that involves human subjects, their information or their tissue, requires review and approval by the REB before it may begin. Research proposals are assessed for ethical acceptability using regional, national and international guidelines. The IWK Health Research Ethics guidelines and operating procedures provide direction in regard to research involving IWK families and personnel. Since research ethics is a continually evolving subject, these guidelines may be modified from time to time. It is the responsibility of the reader to ensure that they are using the most recent version.

The REB Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) also provides important information on the Board's operations and requirements of investigators and research staff. The SOP’s should be read in conjunction with these guidelines.

Guidelines, SOP’s and Related Notices are regularly updated.

To facilitate the review of Full Board REB Submissions, Principal Investigators (or their designate) may be invited to attend the REB meeting. Investigators will be notified of the time and location of the REB meeting 10 days prior to the meeting date if their attendance is requested.

Investigators will be invited to make a short (10 minute) informal presentation of the research study and REB members may follow-up with a few clarifying questions. Additionally, investigators may volunteer to come to the REB to briefly present their REB submission. This can be particularly helpful with unique or complex projects. Simply contact the research ethics office 10 days prior to the meeting to be added to the agenda.

The REB review and Summary of REB Issues will follow in the usual manner. Investigators will not be in attendance during the review of their submission.

IWK Responsible Conduct of Research Policy

The Responsible Conduct of Research policy establishes expectations for the responsible conduct of research at the IWK and outlines processes for handling allegations of research misconduct.


IWK Research Ethics Board Membership (March 2023)

  • Christopher Blackmore, MD – Co-Chair – Clinical Researcher, Pediatric Surgery 
  • Megan Thomas, MD – Co-Chair – Clinical Researcher, Developmental Pediatrics 
  • Eleanor Fitzpatrick – Executive Chair – Clinical Researcher, Nursing 
  • Jill Hatchette, PhD – Consulting Scientist (Lead – Education and Ethics) 
  • Kellie Davis, MD – Clinical Researcher, Medical Genetics 
  • Carol Digout – Researcher, APPHON 
  • Bryan Fader – Lay Representative 
  • Zara Forbrigger – Research Assistant, Research/Hematology/Oncology 
  • Isabelle French – Legal Representative, Dalhousie University 
  • Jelisa Gallant – Clinical Dietician, Maritime Metabolic Genetics 
  • Daddy Mata-Mbemba, MD – Clinical Researcher, Diagnostic Imaging 
  • Francois Plourde – Genetic Counselor, Medical Genetics 
  • Isabel Smith, PhD – Clinical Researcher, Pediatrics  
  • François Tremblay, MD – Clinical Researcher, Pediatric Ophthalmology 






Submission Dates 2023: 

  • January 31, 2023 for the February REB meeting 
  • February 28, 2023 for the March REB meeting 
  • March 28, 2023 for the April REB meeting 
  • April 25, 2023 for the May REB meeting 
  • May 30, 2023 for the June REB meeting 
  • June 27, 2023 for the July REB meeting 
  • August - no REB meeting 
  • August 29, 2023 for the September REB meeting 
  • September 26, 2023 for the October REB meeting 
  • October 31, 2023 for the November REB meeting 
  • November 28, 2023 for the December REB meeting 

Meeting Dates 2023: 

  • January 17, 2023 – REB Retreat 
  • February 21, 2023 
  • March 21, 2023 
  • April 18, 2023 
  • May 16, 2023 
  • June 20, 2023 
  • July 18, 2023 
  • August – no meeting held in August 
  • September 19, 2023 
  • October 17, 2023 
  • November 21, 2023 
  • December 19, 2023 


REB Submissions Requiring Delegated Review (minimal risk):

  • May be submitted at any time.
  • REB review comments are normally provided to the investigator within 14 days of submission.
  • It is recommended investigators avoid the deadline dates noted above when submitting delegated (minimal risk) projects, as reviews may be delayed if received on the deadline date for full board submissions.
  • Please also note, delegated submissions may be delayed during holiday periods or when the REB is experiencing increased volume, for example Summer studentship applications. Get your submissions in early!





The ROMEO Research Portal

The IWK REB uses the online ROMEO Research Portal for the management of ethics applications and grant/award applications. The Research Portal provides researchers and study team members including co-investigators, research coordinators, and other study staff, the ability to see and manage the submission and approval process for their research studies. Through a single login, you may review all existing projects underway at the IWK and NSHA.


If you require an Investigator Profile to gain access to ROMEO, please take a few moments to fill out the form below. Note that we process the forms Monday to Friday (8am-4pm), please plan ahead.

New User - Registration Request

The IWK has several user guides to help with the management of your study:

ROMEO Training:

If you would like to schedule a training session on using the Research Portal, please email Joanne Street at joanne.street@iwk.nshealth.ca.


If you have any questions regarding ROMEO and the Research Portal, please contact Joanne Street, Ethics Coordinator, Research Services at 902.476.3523 or joanne.street@iwk.nshealth.ca.


Guidelines and Templates

New Applications


Ongoing Study Activities

SAE Reporting

REB Reviewers' Tools




Recommended Reading





Our Primary Purpose:

The IWK is committed to the health and well-being of women, children, youth and families. From a research perspective, the population we serve is an integral part of how we investigate, implement and evaluate how we deliver care. As important stakeholders, we are committed to our research participants by ensuring that research is carried out with their interests and safety at the forefront. The Research Review (formerly referred to as the Research Ethics Audit) is designed to ensure that as researchers we are engaging in due diligence and complying with the ethical standards laid out by the Tri-Council.

The Review process is intended to fulfill the commitment of Research Services to ensuring the safety and privacy of our research participants, but also to ensure that IWK Health (a.) consistently conducts research with high quality scientific and ethical standards, (b.) complies with the requirements that are laid out locally, nationally and internationally, and (c.) maintains internal systems that are comprehensive and sensitive enough to guarantee the highest quality of ethical standards in research. The Review should not be considered a penalty but rather a quality assurance process through which both Research Services and the Research Team can benefit.

If your project is selected for audit you will receive notification several weeks in advance of the scheduled date and time. Every effort will be made to accommodate your schedule. The Principal Investigator is invited to attend the Audit session but research assistants or coordinators are also encouraged to take part.

The document linked below provides further information about the IWK REB Audit Committee and process. Feel free to contact Research Services if you have any questions.

Email Address: researchethicsIWK@iwk.nshealth.ca

IWK Research Review Guidelines

Research Site Map


Contact Us

IWK Health Research Services
5850/5980 University Ave
PO Box 9700
Nova Scotia, B3K 6R8

If you have a general question about research, our services, facilities or programs please email us below.

If you are looking for a specific individual from one of our departments or facilities please select the button below to view the research services team (individual contact information is provided here).


Research E-Bulletin

If you would like to be added to our mailing list and receive our weekly E-Bulletin let us know. Our E-Bulletin is updated with upcoming educational opportunities and accomplishments. Be part of our research community.