What is the Researcher Portal?

The Health Research Ethics Authority (HREA) has partnered with Memorial University (MUN) to create a Researcher Portal to facilitate the ethics review process for health research being conducted in the province.  The Researcher Portal will allow researchers to go online and submit applications to the Health Research Ethics Board (HREB) and MUN’s Interdisciplinary Committee on Ethics in Human Research (ICEHR), as an approved health research ethics review body. 
 
The Researcher Portal can electronically route researchers’ applications to various review committees for review and approval.  HREB members and Chairs can submit commentary on the application and have the ability to route it back to the researcher for revisions.  As the application progresses through its various stages, the Principal Investigator (PI) and research team are kept apprised of approvals and changes via email and within the Researcher Portal’s work-flow log.  Investigators will also have the ability to see all previously submitted active applications on which they were a PI or a project team member. 
 
Various post-approval activities, such as annual renewals and amendments, can also be entered into the Researcher Portal.  All post-approval activities are then electronically linked to the original application.
 
Who can use it?
Any researcher who is conducting health research in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador can access the Researcher Portal and launch an application.
 
What application do I fill out ?
To help researchers identify the most appropriate research ethics board (REB) to apply to for the ethics review process, an ‘Ethics Application Screening Tool’ has been developed.  The ‘Ethics Application Screening Tool’ is an interactive tool to help guide researchers to the appropriate application for ethics review for the various REBs in the province.  By responding to ‘Yes/No’ questions, researchers will determine whether or not their research requires REB review and will be navigated to the relevant application form for their study.  It is highly recommended that all researchers complete the ‘Ethics Application Screening Tool’ prior to accessing an application form in the Researcher Portal, as applications cannot be transferred between the different REBs if the incorrect application is selected.  In addition, through the creation of the Researcher Portal, the various REBs have updated their processes and forms and these changes may impact which application to complete.  For further information on the tool, please visit the Ethics Application Screening Tool tab under the Human Ethics drop down menu on the Researcher Portal website: https://rpresources.mun.ca/   
 
What information about my past studies will be in the Researcher Portal?
For researchers who have submitted to the Human Investigations Committee (HIC) prior to July 2011 or the Health Research Ethics Board post July 2011, the following files will be available in the Researcher Portal:
  • Partial records (HREB Reference #, PI, research team members, full approval letter and last ethics renewal) for all active studies approved during the period: January 1, 2013 to October 9, 2015
  • Complete records for all files submitted October 9, 2015 - onward (e.g. files with HREB Reference # 2015.239 - onward)
We encourage PI’s to log into the Researcher Portal and verify the files that are shown on their homepage. If there are inaccuracies, please contact the Ethics Office at info@hrea.ca Tel: 777-6974
 
What about studies that were approved prior to 2013?
The Ethics Office is continuing to transfer all approved active files into the Researcher Portal for access by the PI.  If you require access to a file that is not currently in the Portal (e.g. for continuing review, ethics approval renewal, etc.) please contact the Ethics Office at info@hrea.ca to request the transfer into the online Portal.  Please expect a one business day turnaround time for these requests.  Once the file is uploaded into the Portal the PI will be notified and any subsequent documents can be submitted for review by the HREB inside the Researcher Portal.   Please direct any questions regarding the status of past studies to Sandra Veenstra at ethicsdirector@hrea.ca
 
Important dates
Applications to the various REBs will be available on the Researcher Portal on November 30, 2015.  Starting January 1, 2016, all applications to the HREB will be submitted electronically through the Researcher Portal.
 
Starting November 20, 2015, researchers will be able to go online at https://rpresources.mun.ca/ to request portal accounts and to register for training sessions.
Training sessions for researchers, who intend to submit human research ethics applications, will begin the week of November 23, 2015. Researchers may select a date that works best for them.
 
Researcher Portal training
The specific dates, times, venues and how to book a training session will be announced in the coming weeks on Memorial’s Vice President (Research) website:  http://www.mun.ca/research/.
Instructional videos and material will also be available on this website for researchers who wish to navigate the Portal at their own convenience.
 
Contact information
For further information about the Researcher Portal, please contact:
Sandra Veenstra, Ethics Director, HREA, St. John’s, ethicsdirector@hrea.ca Tel: 777-8905