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 JBM  Vol.6 No.12 , December 2018
Meru University of Science and Technology Research Ethics Review System: A SWOT Analysis
Abstract: The objectives of this article are as follows: 1) to propose a university research ethics system framework, 2) to provide a brief anatomy of the Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST) Institutional Research Ethics Review Committee (MIRERC), 3) to perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis of MIRERC, and 4) to make recommendations for improving its performance. The 13-member multi-disciplinary MIRERC was established in April 2017 to provide effective ethical oversight of research undertaken by the University’s scholarly community. Strengths of the MUST research ethics review system include a functional MIRERC, a pertinent national law and ethical guidelines, an Innovation and Enterprise Centre that could house a dedicated MIRERC Secretariat, and a supportive University Management Board. The weaknesses include lack of graduate schools to assure scientific rigor of proposals before submission to the MIRERC, lack of research ethics training in most school’s curricula, absence of a dedicated MIRERC Secretariat, undergraduate research proposals being not ethically reviewed, dearth of faculty trained in research ethics, and lack of an operating budget for MIRERC work. The opportunities include existence of about 22 accredited Institutional Research Ethics Review Committees (IRERC) in Kenya, existence of international standards and operational guidance for ethics review, availability of guidelines and codes of best ethical practices in research, existence of a free automated platform called Research for Health Innovation Organizer (RHInnO) Ethics for managing the ethics review process, and availability of external resources for strengthening IRERCs. In order to improve the performance and sustainability of the MUST research ethics system, there is need to include research ethics training in all undergraduate and post-graduate curricula, create a dynamic database of potential research ethics reviewers, allocate a percentage of the annual MUST research budget for MIRERC operations, charge a graduated fee for proposal ethics review, require all students’ and faculties’ internal and external research proposals be cleared by the MIRERC, and use the RHInnO Ethics platform to manage the ethics review process.
Cite this paper: Kirigia, J. , Muthuri, R. and Gitonga, N. (2018) Meru University of Science and Technology Research Ethics Review System: A SWOT Analysis. Journal of Biosciences and Medicines, 6, 26-44. doi: 10.4236/jbm.2018.612003.
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