Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board

Researchers in the following faculties will submit their ethics applications to the Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board (CFREB):

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

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



(403) 220-8640 or (403) 220-6289



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Applications judged to be of minimal risk or no risk are typically reviewed in approximately 6 weeks, depending on the complexity of the application and the number of applications under review (the CFREB reviews approximately 500-600 new applications per year). When submitting your proposal, please provide a start date for data collection that is no sooner than six weeks from the date the application was submitted. Minimal risk/no risk applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the year by the Chair and the Research Ethics Analysts. The CFREB will only consider requests for expedited review under extraordinary conditions where unanticipated circumstances not under the researcher’s control precluded earlier submission.

Applications judged to be greater-than-minimal risk 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 and Board Members.

Guidance for minimal risk research that falls under the auspices or jurisdiction of multiple REBs or institutions: Single REB Review for Minimal Risk Research.

Course-based Research

As of May 1, 2020, the Faculty of Arts no longer reviews ethics applications for Course-based Research as they are now reviewed by the CFREB through IRISS.

If you are the instructor of a course in which students conduct research involving human participants, a course-based application must be submitted in IRISS prior to the commencement of the research. Please note that the CFREB is now placing a submission deadline 3 weeks prior to the start of the semester for Course-based Research applications. Please note that if an application is submitted after this deadline, there is no guarantee that your application will be approved in time for your students to conduct their Course-based research.

Instructors that do not yet have IRISS access should visit

For additional information, please review the CFREBs guidance document for course-based instructors or contact


The Research Ethics Boards and staff at the University of Calgary are service providers working hard to facilitate your research. Consistent with the University of Calgary's Code of Conduct, it is expected that all communications between principal investigators, research teams, research ethics unit staff and research ethics board members is professional and respectful. Abuse will not be tolerated.

Mandatory Ethics Training

As of September 1, 2018, human ethics training is mandatory for all Principal Investigators. Applications will be returned, and cannot be reviewed by the REB, until one of the following training certificates has been completed and uploaded into the PI's Researcher Profile in IRISS:

  • TCPS2 CORE Tutorial; or
  • CITI Human Subjects Research Course (Biomedical or Social Behavioural-Educational module, whichever is most relevant to your discipline). View the guidance document on how to access the CITI website.

Please see the user guide for assistance in uploading certificate into Researcher Profiles.

Principal Investigators are required to upload their training certificates into their Researcher Profile in IRISS. It is recommended that all other team member also upload their training certificate(s) to their profile in IRISS.


Transcription tools approved for studies involving human participants can be found in the Libraries & Cultural Resources page.

Q: When can my study be closed?

A: A study can only be closed when ALL data collection procedures have been completed. If there is a possibility that you will need to have any future interaction, further data collection or follow-up with participants you will need an active ethics application. You can close your study once you are sure that all interaction with participants has ended.

Grant Funded Studies: If a study is grant funded, a completion notice should not be submitted to the REB until there is no active grant that requires ethics approval.

Please note that a study closure should not be submitted to the CFREB until all participant related expenses in the project have been submitted.

  1. Q: How do I know if my project requires human ethics review?

    A: As per TCPS Article 2.1, the following requires ethics review and approval by an REB before the research commences:

    1) Research involving living human participants

    2) Research involving human biological materials, as well as human embryos, fetuses, fetal tissue, reproductive materials and stem cells. This applies to materials derived from living and deceased individuals.

    Where "research" is defined as an undertaking intended to extend knowledge through a disciplined inquiry or systematic investigation. This includes pilot studies (Article 6.11). The term “disciplined inquiry” refers to an inquiry that is conducted with the expectation that the method, results, and conclusions will be able to withstand the scrutiny of the relevant research community.

    What requires review depends on the exact context of your research. Distinguishing what requires review can sometimes appear difficult or confusing to researchers. When in doubt, please contact

  2. Q: Do I need Ethics Review for Creative Practice?

    A: REB review is not required if your creative practice activities:

    • Do not include interacting with participants to obtain responses that will later be analyzed to an answer a research question, or
    • Do not include collecting any materials created by or involving any participants that will be used as research data

    As per article 2.6 of the TCPS2, Creative Practice refers to a process through which an artist makes or interprets works of art and can include a study of the work of art generation process. Some common examples include and are not limited to public displays of art work, dance, plays, photography, etc.

    What requires review depends on the exact context of your research. Distinguishing what requires review can sometimes appear difficult or confusing to researchers. When in doubt, please contact

  1. Q: What are the deadlines for submissions to the CFREB?

    A: You may submit your application to the CFREB at any time via IRISS. All applications undergo an administrative check prior to going in the queue to be sent out for review. Once your file has been received, feedback regarding any ethical issues of your application will be logged and sent to you via IRISS.

  2. Q: How long does it take for an application to be reviewed and receive approval?

    A: The level of review (delegated or full board) depends on the context of the study and the risk of the proposed research. Quality can make a difference. An application that is complete, accurate and concise may take less time, because there will be less back and forth between the Board and the researcher. Please contact for assistance with your application.

Q: Does self-study or autoethnography research require Research Ethics Board (REB) review?

A: Self-study done for the purpose of research, as defined in the TCPS 2, and involving human participants falls within the scope of TCPS 2, and requires REB review (Application of Article 2.1). Self-study typically involves a scholarly reflection on one’s own experiences in a particular context. Self-study may involve narratives, reflections and/or analyses of experiences based on the researcher’s observations of, interactions with, or information about other individuals or communities. In self-study, at least the researcher is a research participant. 

  1. SoTL and Research

    Research, quality assurance (QA), and quality improvement (QI) are all systematic investigations that involve data, use scientific methods, and can be broadly considered science. Examples of research can include, but are not limited to, projects funded through the SoTL teaching and learning grants stream or other research streams, and graduate and undergraduate theses. Examples of quality assurance and quality improvement projects include curriculum review, and program and course innovation. Depending on the intentions, scope, data collected, and plans for dissemination, many projects could fall into one or more of these categories. 

    Unsure where your project stands? Please see the following assessment tool:

Reportable events

Please follow the Reportable Events User Guide when reporting an event for an approved study.

Local SAEs are adverse events experienced by research participants at the site(s) under the jurisdiction of the REB. A local SAE is reportable if the Principal Investigator (PI) believes it is an unanticipated problem related to the research, and places research participants or others at a greater risk of harm.

  • Complete the Local SAE Report when the local SAE meets the definition of an unanticipated problem.
  • Local SAEs that are fatal or life-threatening must be reported within 7 calendar days of the PI becoming aware of them. All other local SAEs must be reported to the CFREB within 15 calendar days of the PI becoming aware of them.
  • Receipt by the CFREB will be acknowledged
  • PI will be contacted if more information/action is required

Protocol Violation/Deviations are departures from the procedures set forth in the CFREB approved application.  These include departures that:

Compromise the scientific integrity of the study, and/or Constitute or may constitute a potential safety risk to participants enrolled in the protocol or others affected by the research, and/or Are non-compliant with applicable regulations governing human research, and/or Are non-compliant with the requirements or determinations of the CFREB, or an allegation of such non-compliance, and/or Consist of any unauthorized collection, use, or disclosure of participant personal information* Complete the Protocol Violation/Deviation Report when the protocol violation/deviation meets one or more of the above criteria. PI will be contacted if more information/action is required Receipt by the CFREB will be acknowledged Changes to eliminate immediate safety risks to the study participants  should be reported within 7 calendar days, all other violations should be reported within 15 calendar days of the PI becoming aware of the deviation/violation

*The University of Calgary also has specific procedures for responding to a privacy breach: for responding to a privacy breach. This states that researchers are directed to report the breach to the Access and Privacy Coordinator. 

Follow-up reports are requested by the CFREB if/when more information becomes available, and/or if the issue remained unresolved in the initial report.

Follow up reports may be required after the initial submission of an SAE, Protocol Deviation/Violation, Audit, Suspension or Participant Complaint Upload a new copy of the relevant form (i.e. SAE, Protocol Deviation/Violation, Audit, Suspension or Participant Complaint) containing the follow-up information Receipt by the CFREB will be acknowledged PI will be contacted if more information/action is required.

Audit, inspection, or inquiry by a university, provincial or federal agency.  Only reports with information relevant to the CFREB should be submitted.

Upload a copy of the audit; there is no CFREB form to complete Audits should be submitted within 15 calendar days of the PI receiving the audit or inspection report Receipt by the CFREB will be acknowledged The PI will be contacted if more information/action is required

Suspension of active and ongoing research by the sponsor, PI, REB or institution. This report is to capture suspended studies that have been approved by the CFREB.

Complete the Suspension Report Receipt by the CFREB will be acknowledged PI will be contacted if more information/action is required

Complaints made by participants or others affected by the research concerning their well-being (psychological or physical) and/or respectful and fair treatment from the researchers. Participant complaints should be submitted for review as soon as possible.

  • Complete the Participant Complaint Report
  • Receipt by the CFREB will be acknowledged
  • PI will be contacted if more information/action is required