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Animal Research Ethics Committee (AREC)

All research and teaching activities involving animals under the auspices of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg requires ethics clearance from the AREC.

How to Apply?


Biobanks Ethics Committee

Reviews all applications for the establishment of biobanks and to make recommendations to the HREC; and to review all research using tissue samples and / or associated data from approved biobanks and make recommendations to the HREC. 

How to apply?

For enquiries regarding progress or outcome of ethics application contact the Research Administrator – Ms Zanele Ndlovu,  Mr Rhulani Mkansi – 011 717 1252/2700/1234/2656


  • Coronavirus And Ethics Committee Work 2020
  • For collection, storage or transfer of biological samples and data at an approved Biobank. NB parallel submission to BEC2 and HREC (Medical) ethics application allowed.


Guidelines and Policies



Clinical Drug Trials

How to apply?

Application forms may be downloaded from by clicking on Ethics. In the latter case, a fee is payable.


Admin Supervisor
Jennifer Bryce-Borthwick
Tel: (011) 274-9278
E Mail:

Ethics Administrator
Augustina Hennessy
Tel: (011) 274-9279
E Mail:

Ethics Administrator
Eric Moso
Tel: (011) 274-9280
E Mail:

Human Research Ethics Committee (Medical)

All research activities under the auspices of the University of the Witwatersrand require ethics clearance for research involving human participants. The rule of thumb is that any staff or students from the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) must submit an application for ethics clearance to the HREC (Medical) if the research involves any human participants. If the proposed research is done at a medical facility (hospital or clinic, etc.) with/out medical professionals then an application for ethics clearance must be submitted to the HREC (Medical).

New full applications must be submitted online by following the link:

The following categories will remain paper-based: renewals, annual recertifications, progress reports, protocol violations, protocol amendments, case reports, ethics waivers, substudies, lab studies, urgent communicable diseases outbreaks, and reciprocal studies approved by other primary universities.

When submitting these paper-based applications, please send two hardcopies to the Research Office, Faculty of Health Sciences, Phillip Tobias Building, Offices 301-304, 3rd Floor, Corner York Road, and 29 Princess of Wales Terrace, Parktown, 2193.

For enquiries regarding the progress or outcome of ethics application contact the Ethics Administrators using this central email address:

Planned Meeting Dates

The closing dates for submission (both electronic and paper-based) and the dates for the subsequent ethics meetings are listed here.

How to apply?


Human Research Ethics Committee (Non-Medical)

All research activities under the auspices of the University of the Witwatersrand requires ethics clearance from the HREC (non-medical) if it involves humans participants; and if the research includes social, educational and/or psychological behaviour or perceptions, personal data required by an institution.

How to apply?

Please contact Shaun Schoeman, 011717 1408 or Mmatshepo Taunyane, - 011 717 1788  for queries.


Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

Biosafety is concerned with the containment methods required when managing parasites, infectious agents and infected or potentially infected animals, tissues or other materials. The purpose is to reduce exposure of laboratory workers, other persons and the outside environment, to potentially hazardous agents.

Four principles of biomedical ethics are generally recognised:

  • autonomy (respect for the person - a notion of human dignity
  • beneficence (benefit to the research participant)
  • non-maleficence (absence of harm to the participant)
  • justice (notably distributive justice - equal distribution of risks and benefits between communities

Worker and public safety is of paramount concern. Workers must be adequately trained and provided with a working environment in which the necessary facilities and equipment are available. If this is done and the guidelines below are observed, risk to the public will be minimised.

When considering research protocols, the Biosafety Committee is involved in various processes, including risk assessment, which would include, but not be limited to:

  • concentration and quantity of organisms
  • stability and viability of organism
  • potential for transmission, by contact or aerosol
  • nature of the work
  • specific risks associated with genetically-modified organisms (GMO s)
  • risk of harmful bi-products
  • risk of unknown contaminants


Research Integrity - Wits Policy

The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits, or the University), is a research intensive university that strives for excellence in research as part of the broader scope of scholarly endeavour. Research is understood to be the process of thorough investigation, systematic discovery and/or rigorous analysis that aims to uncover the truth, produce a deeper understanding and/or create new knowledge. 

Ethics in Health Research

Health research is vital for the advancement of health care services for the people of South Africa. Because of its excellent health care and research infrastructure, skills and expertise, South Africa provides a rich arena for health and health-related research.

Click here: Ethics in Health Research Principles, Processes and Structures