Institutional Review Board

The Institute of Tropical Medicine aims for the highest ethical standards for medical and non-medical research that involves human participants, human data and human biological samples.

We value ethics in research.

We consider a culture of research ethics, research integrity, and fairness in research collaboration as a primary condition for good science. To this end, ITM and all its researchers endorse the Declaration of Helsinki and the 2016 International ethical guidelines for health-related research involving humans of CIOMS. Furthermore, ITM's Institutional Review Board (IRB) is committed to ensuring that research activities are in compliance with relevant regulations, such as the EU GDPR and the Belgian Law on Human Body Materials.

The Institutional Review Board of ITM reviews all non-commercial research protocols in which ITM researchers are involved, in order to assure compliance with adequate ethics principles and requirements. As ITM is frequently involved in collaborative research projects with partner institutions in low- and middle-income countries, the IRB also verifies that ethical guidelines applicable in third countries are respected and that local regulatory and ethical approvals are secured. Moreover, the IRB reviews whether plans to engage with research communities are in place, to share the benefits of research and fairly collaborate with local researchers. They have developed a standardised template for reviewing research protocols.

Even though the IRB works according to operating procedures that are internally approved and regularly reviewed, it is not a legally accredited ethics committee, as laid down by the Belgian law (KB 4 April 2014).

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A multidisciplinary composition

The IRB is comprised of 11 members (and a secretary) with varying backgrounds and expertise. The following profiles are represented:

  • Two medical doctors

  • One epidemiologist

  • One pharmacist

  • One ethicist

  • One statistician

  • One biologist

  • One computational biologist

  • Two biomedical scientists

  • One anthropologist and theologist

Research themes


Research ethics

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