Step 1: Completing the internal review process for the scientific content of the proposal
Download and complete the Scientific Review of Research Proposals Form (R1)
If an external scientific review was already conducted for the research study:
Contact the DRC Chair to clarify if the external review is sufficient
If the external review is sufficient, provide a cover letter to this effect and proceed to Step 2
If the external review is not sufficient, proceed to conduct an internal scientific review
Complete an internal scientific review for the research study:
Contact your Head of Division, Unit or Centre Director to assign an internal reviewer. Note: this reviewer should have expert knowledge of the research topic and proposed methodology. The reviewer cannot be a student but ideally a senior academic or researcher
Submit the completed R1 form and your completed proposal to the internal reviewer to be reviewed for the scientific content.
Provide a cover letter detailing the amendments, if any, to your research proposal following the internal review process.
FHS015-Guide to preparing a research proposal/protocol
Complete and sign the FHS013 form and provide supporting documents
Ethics review processes:
a) [Expedited ethics review required]: Submit the completed FHS013 form with the synopsis of your research, research protocol, motivation for expedited review, cover letter and any other supporting documents to the Departmental Research Committee Administrator, Email: email@example.com
b) [Full ethics review required]: Submit the completed FHS013 form with the synopsis of your research, research protocol, cover letter and any other supporting documents to the Departmental Research Committee Administrator, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please click on the link provided forHuman Research Ethics Application Submission dates.
You will receive email communication from the HREC regarding the status of your ethics application. On successful approval, your HREC number will be communicated to you (i.e. the principal investigator).
For further information on the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), please visit the site
Step 3: Continuation of your research
If your research is being conducted in South Africa, involving public sector staff/clients, you will need to get the relevant government department clearance (e.g. the provincial DoH)
If your research is being conducted outside of South Africa, you will need to check whether local ethical clearance is required
If either 1 or 2 applies, you may proceed with your study only after obtaining the requisite clearances in addition to your ethics clearance
If neither 1 nor 2 applies, then following ethics approval, you may proceed with your study—begin to collect data or to analyse your secondary data and complete your write up
If required, you may then submit your research proposal to the agency from whom you would like to seek funding
School of Public Health and Family Medicine
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Cape Town