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Information on the Submission of a Research Ethics Proposal
to the Social Wellbeing Faculty Research Ethics Committee (SWB FREC)

The procedures on how ethical issues are reviewed in research are explained in the University of Malta Research Ethics Review Procedures found on the University Research Ethics Committee’s (UREC) website.  

Researchers (also referred to as applicants) are to follow the guidelines as outlined in the University of Malta Research Code of Practice also found on UREC’s website in the above-mentioned link.

Researchers carrying out research with disabled people are to follow the Ethical Guidelines for Carrying Out Research with Disabled People also found on UREC’s website in the Resources section or on the Department of Disability Studies’ website in the Notices section.

One is also advised to refer to the set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on UREC’s website.

As from 12 November 2018, the new online form needs to be filled in and submitted.  The previous downloadable forms have been discontinued.  The first step is to download the full replica of the new online form to familiarize oneself with its contents and requirements.  Once filling in the Online Form for Ethics and Data Protection Review, it needs to be completed or else data inputted will be lost.

The online form has four parts:

Part 1: Applicant and project details
Part 2: Self-assessment
Part 3: Detailed evaluation
Part 4: Submission

All researchers are to fill in Parts 1, 2 and 4.  Part 3 will show up if anything is marked in Part 2.  In cases where Part 3 is to be filled in, applicants are to elaborate only on the issues flagged in Part 2 and seek FREC’s permission before starting any data collection.  In cases where Part 3 does not show up, the form needs to be sent to FREC for filing and audit purposes, and data collection may start immediately.

In case of resubmissions, applicants are to write their previous reference number/unique ID in question 3 of Part 4.  Every time a new resubmission is submitted, a new unique ID is created.

A list of the attachments that need to accompany the online form is available in question 2 of Part 4.  The consent and assent forms are to be signed by the supervisor.  Consent forms should reflect the requirements indicated in Section 3.1.3 of the University of Malta Research Code of Practice.  All attachments are to be saved to a zipped folder.

Once the online form is submitted, the researcher will receive an email with the digital form and a unique ID.  The digital form needs to be sent together with the zipped folder of the attachments via email to the SWB FREC.  The zipped folder and the email should be titled with the unique ID and writing either “For FREC Review” or “For FREC Records”.  Students are to copy in their supervisor in the email.  For FREC to process the application, the Principal Supervisor needs to confirm via email that the form reflects the contents of the research proposal, which abides by the University of Malta Research Code of Practice.

Supervisors should be reminded that they are responsible for the documents they endorse, including ethics, data protection applications and any ancillary material.  Supervisors should ensure the applications and materials are up to standard before approving them.  This is particularly important when materials are for eventual public dissemination.

All forms are to be submitted on SWB FREC’s email address.  FREC forms submitted on other email addresses will NOT be processed.  If there are any queries regarding the FREC form/s, the researchers are invited to contact FREC on the above-mentioned email address.  Researchers will receive an automatic acknowledgement receipt.

The dates below are the next deadlines by when the Form/s should be submitted for FREC's consideration. Forms will be accepted till midnight (23:59) of the indicated dates.  The supervisor’s endorsement is to reach the SWB FREC by the given deadlines or else it will be considered as a late submission. Late submissions will be reviewed in subsequent FREC meetings.  

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Thursday 4 October 2018

Wednesday 31 October 2018

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Friday 4 January 2019

Wednesday 30 January 2019

Wednesday 27 February 2019

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Tuesday 30 April 2019

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Wednesday 26 June 2019

It is very important to note that:

  • When the digital form is marked as ‘For FREC Review’, applicants shall wait for ethical approval before starting the data collection; 
  • It is not correct for researchers to state that UREC has reviewed/approved their study.  UREC encourages the use of the following statement or something similar as this is general and covers all cases including those where no FREC review is necessary: “This research is in conformity with the University of Malta’s Research Code of Practice and Research Ethics Review Procedures.”
  • Infringements of regulations and/or policies concerning ethics and data protection are matter for disciplinary action.

The SWB FREC is made up of: 

Dr Trevor Calafato (Chairperson) – Department of Criminology
Dr Roberta Attard – Department of Counselling
Dr Claire Lucille Azzopardi Lane – Department of Disability Studies
Dr Christian Borg Xuereb – Department of Gerontology
Dr Andreana Dibben – Department of Social Policy & Social Work
Ms Ingrid M. Grech Lanfranco – Department of Family Studies
Dr Maria Pisani – Department of Youth & Community Studies
Dr Gordon Sammut – Department of Psychology
Last Updated: 19 November 2018

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