Latest information and updates about COVID-19 (coronavirus) from McMaster University
Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster Logo McMaster logo


The mission of the McMaster Research Ethics Board (MREB) is to ensure research involving human participants carried out under the auspices of McMaster University is of the highest quality, is conducted to protect the interests of human participants and of society and is in compliance with the Tri Council Policy Statement for Research Involving Human Subjects. The REB shall function as an autonomous entity.

Terms of Reference


The MREB shall consist of at least 10 members, including both women and men, appointed by the President, on the recommendation of the Vice President, Research and International Affairs, following consultation with the current MREB Chair, Faculty Deans, and program and department Chairs. The Chair shall be appointed by the President from among the appointed members and shall serve, normally, for a term of three years, once renewable. MREB Members shall serve, normally, for staggered three year terms, once renewable. Members shall represent a broad range of disciplines and faculties, especially those in which research with human participants takes place. The Board membership will consist of at least one member knowledgeable in ethics and two members with no affiliation with McMaster University and recruited from the community served by McMaster University. All REB members shall be competent to judge the ethical acceptability of proposals and shall be knowledgeable about the McMaster University Policy and about the specific procedures of the REB of which they are members. Fifty percent of the appointed members (of which one shall be a community member) shall constitute a quorum. MREB members shall be without conflict of interest in the review process and shall disclose actual, perceived or potential conflicts of interest at the outset of a review.


The mandate of the MREB is

1. to keep current on ethical issues related to research involving human participants, to educate the University community on these issues and to formulate policies on these matters;

2. to review (using a proportionate approach), approve, reject, propose modifications to, or terminate any proposed or ongoing non medical research involving human participants conducted at McMaster or by members of McMaster University, including anyone affiliated with the University conducting such research at or under the auspices of McMaster University;

3. to assess and limit the risks to participants in research involving humans; and where there is more than minimal risk is identified, the REB shall satisfy itself that the design of a research project is capable of addressing the questions being asked in the research;

4. to monitor ongoing projects and to determine guidelines for the review of ongoing research projects and guidelines for reviewing requests for changes in previously approved research;

5. to develop policies and procedures for assessing and approving undergraduate student research;

6. to act as the Appeal Board for appeals of decisions rendered regarding undergraduate student research;

7. to serve as a resource to the research community, communicating and advising researchers on guidelines, procedures and other matters relating to the conduct of research with humans;

8. to meet regularly to discharge their responsibilities, and to keep and maintain minutes of such meetings; with the documentation being accessible to researchers, as it pertains to their application, and to “authorized” representatives of the institution and funding agencies;

9. to liaise with REBs of affiliated institutions to optimize efficiencies, co-ordinate activities and to ensure consistency of decisions;

10. to keep the Vice-President, Research & International Affairs informed of substantive issues in terms of policy, process and compliance and to submit a written report annually on the activities of the MREB to the Vice President, Research and International Affairs; and.

11. to implement and monitor the final decision of the Appeal Panel on behalf of the Research Ethics Appeal Board.