IMTD believes that sound ethical standards are a pre-requisite for excellent research. Ethical research practices are based on fundamental principles of research integrity. This policy is adopted to promote a culture within the institute whereby the faculty researchers meticulously reflect on the ethical implications of their research. All research must follow appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards. This policy document covers the scope, procedures and guidelines for receiving ethical approvals for research proposals involving human participants.
IMTD research ethics policy states that all research proposals involving human participants shall be reviewed and approved by the Research Committee of the institute. It is the ethical responsibility of the researcher conducting the research to protect the human participants from any kind of risk due to their participation in the research project. IMTD has the absolute authority to suspend or terminate those research activities which are not conducted in accordance with the research ethics policy of the institute. Researchers who fail to comply with the ethical policies for the current research may not obtain compliance clearance for future research proposals.
- The Principal Investigator (PI) of the research is the authorized person to submit the research proposal for review to the research committee.The following documents should be submitted along with the research proposal:
- A signed and dated application form
- Names of the PI and Co investigators with designations
- An Undertaking statement to comply with the ethical research policy stipulated at IMTD.
- All research activities undertaken under the auspices of IMTD which involve human participants must be reviewed and approved by the research committee of the institute.
- If the proposal complies with all aspects of the ethical guidelines, the research work can be initiated once the PI receives the written approval from the research committee.
- If the reviewers recommend changes, the researchers must make the appropriate changes and then proceed with research work after the verification from research committee.
- The decision of the research committee shall be conveyed to the principal investigator in writing within two weeks after submission of the proposal and other documents.
- In the case of collaborative research projects involving partners, all the participating institutions have the responsibility to protect the rights and welfare of human participants involved in research. Appropriate authorities must review and approve research proposals at each institute involved in the collaborative research program.
- If the proposal requires major changes which involves a complete reassessment of the entire protocol for research, then the proposal may be rejected.
- All research studies which involve human subjects must obtain an informed consent signed by the participant after the review of the terms of the agreement.
- Participants must be provided with appropriate information sheets which ensures informed consent and confidentiality in the storage and use of data.
- The principle investigator on behalf of all researchers must sign an undertaking to follow accepted ethical practice and appropriate professional guidelines for protecting the dignity, rights, safety and well-being of participants.
- The Research committee review all applications and issue approval letters to researchers who satisfy the research ethical criteria of the institute.
- The institute acknowledges the ethical principles and guidelines as stipulated in the federal laws of the UAE.
- Researchers should be open and honest about the purpose and potential applications of the research. Any conflicts of interest, funding source and the way the results are used must be declared.
- Researchers must ensure that all relevant safety procedures are in place to assess and minimize risks to participants, research team and other stakeholders.
- Researchers are expected to ensure confidentiality of the participant’s identity and personal identifiable data throughout the entire period of conduct and reporting of research.
- Research activity must not pose significant risks in terms of physical, psychological, social and financial aspects to the participants.
- If the research topic is sensitive in nature, clear protocols must be included in the application that outline how participants’ risk is minimized.
- The information sheet which is provided to participants must clearly explain the objectives of the project and the nature of involvement of participants. Participants should be clearly informed of their rights and any risks associated with participation.
- Participation in the research ought to be completely voluntary.
- Participants have the right to withdraw at any time without prejudice or negative consequences.
- If any member of the research committee has a conflicting interest of being the researcher, he/she will not evaluate the application of the researcher.
- Research misconduct such as fabrication, falsification, plagiarism and failure to meet ethical, legal and professional obligations will result in the revoking of the ethical approval for the research and remedial actions will be initiated consistent with the degree of misconduct.
- Minutes of the meeting conducted by research committee for research approval; copy of all correspondence documents and proposal related documents must be recorded and archived for a period of five years.
- The research committee should ensure that all risks (physical, psychological, social and financial) have been identified by researchers and initiatives have been taken to minimize the risks.
- The research committee can make recommendations to the director of the institute for suspension or termination of the approval for research in the event of violation of the ethical guidelines stipulated.
- The final decision is taken by the director of institute with respect to disapproval, deferral, suspension or termination of research studies which has the potential to cause harm to human participants.
- While evaluating research proposals, the research committee should examine the purposes of research and environmental settings in which the research will be conducted.
The research committee should evaluate the proposals prudently if the human participants of the research involve vulnerable sections of population such as children, prisoners, pregnant women, mentally disabled, or economically or educationally disadvantaged people.