Any research conducted in the Faculty of Commerce that makes use of data regarding human subjects (see below for information on research using only secondary data) requires approval, or formal exemption from approval, from the Faculty Ethics in Research Committee (EiRC), where such approval is typically granted for a (renewable) year.

University policies on research integrity are linked below. Any Faculty-specific advice, guidelines, or policy are subservient to University policy in cases of apparent contradiction or ambiguity.

Secondary Data

Research involving only the use of secondary data – as defined in the practice note linked below – does not require the completion of either the pre-screening questionnaire (PSQ) or the completion of an application for ethical clearance.

While neither the PSQ nor an application is required for research involving only analysis of secondary data, researchers are nevertheless encouraged to a) complete the PSQ for reassurance that there are no ethical complications in their research; and b) to complete an application for ethical clearance in order to receive certification and a reference number, in case funders, publishers, or any other legitimately interested party requires this.

Retrospective Clearance

The Commerce Ethics in Research Committee does not grant retrospective approvals for research where data collection has already been initiated. Any such projects will only be approved on the condition that data collected prior to approval are discarded.

Research within the Health Sector

The Commerce Ethics in Research Committee is not legally permitted to approve applications covered by the Health Act of South Africa, which includes any research that contributes to knowledge of:

(a) the biological, clinical, psychological or social processes in human beings;
(b) improved methods for the provision of health services;
(c) human pathology;
(d) causes of disease;
(e) the effects of the environment on the human body;
(f) the development or new application of pharmaceuticals, medicines and
(g) the development of new applications of health technology;

Any research that meets the criteria listed above will be rejected by the Commerce committee and must be submitted to the Health Sciences Human Research Ethics Committee

Using staff or students as research participants

Research involving staff or students as participants needs to be approved by both a UCT EiRC, as well as by Human Resources (for staff) and/or by Student Affairs (for students). Once you have approval from a UCT EiRC, that approval would accompany your application to access staff and students, as described on the Accessing UCT staff or students as a research population page. The Commerce EiRC has no involvement in the process of granting any such permissions.

External Researchers

Applications from researchers who are not part of the UCT community – including international researchers, NGOs or other organisations – will typically not be considered unless UCT staff or students are also involved in designing and/or conducting the research.

The Application Process in the Commerce Faculty

UCT policies related to research ethics are available under Policies on the Research Support Hub website and applicants are advised to read the policies relevant to their application before submission. Applications are made using the electronic research administration system (eRA) system, and pdf form-based and/or Submittable applications are no longer accepted. Researchers who have approved protocols lodged on Submittable are encouraged to download them for reference, or for future use in an eRA application. The replacement of Submittable by eRA has no consequences for existing approvals, which remain valid.

A full workflow of the application and approval process for eRA applications is provided in the process manual linked under “Policies and Resources” below. Most applicants will, however, find that the eRA system itself provides sufficient clarity on the steps to be followed.

Should you have any questions regarding applications for ethical clearance, please consult with your course convenor, supervisor, or department, as applicable.

UCT’s electronic research administration (eRA) system links:

  • eRA login (note: external researchers will need to obtain 3rd party access to log in, using the support links below)
  • For guidance and eRA system-related support, see here, or log a call.

Policies and Resources

The SuccessFactors learning platform offers a course on ethics in research (search for research integrity once logged in). Completion of the course is required for ethics reviewers and will also be useful to most researchers.

Should you have any questions regarding Ethics Applications, please speak in the first instance to the course convenor, your supervisor or your departmental representative:

Representative     Department    Email Address
Jean-Paul Van Belle     Dept. of Information Systems
Sean Gossel     Graduate School of Business (GSB)
Phillip De Jager   Dept. of Finance & Tax
Neryvia Pillay     School of Economics
Etienne Pienaar     Dept. of Statistical Sciences
Signe Rousseau   School of Management Studies
Elvina Moosa     Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance
Carlos de Jesus     College of Accounting
Navitha Sewpersadh  College of Accounting