Ethics and Integrity

Promoting responsible research practices

As the Aga Khan University carries out research to provide solutions to pressing problems of the developing world, it recognises the necessity of complying with national, regional and international standards of ethics.

The University’s ethical standards govern all aspects of research, protect the rights and welfare of research participants or subjects, be they human or animals, and provide benchmarks for solutions to the myriad complexities faced in research in the lab as well as the community.

However, the Aga Khan University has seen significant expansion geographically and in academic activities with new campuses and programmes now in at least six different countries with concomitant country-specific regulatory requirements. Moreover, the transition of AKU from a largely health sciences focused university to a broader focus on liberal arts, humanities and social science has necessitated different pathways to the review process to ensure that reviews are relevant. Hence, a new and restructured Ethics Review System was approved by the University Research Council and became effective on August 1, 2018. The new system is harmonised across AKU, has separate pathways for ethics clearance of applications from health sciences and those from the social sciences, humanities and the arts. A full description of the new system is provided in the Ethics Review Policy document below.

Ethics Review Policy

All research involving humans, whether as individuals or communities, including the use of foetal material, embryos and tissues from the recently dead require ethical clearance in line with AKU policy and guidelines.

Ethics Review Board

The Ethics Review Board (ERB) is an AKU wide body responsible for policy-making, governance, oversight of the ethics review process across AKU and for hearing of appeals. The ERB reports to the University Research Council (URC) and submits an annual report to the URC.

The ERB has devolved the power to approve ethics clearance to Ethics Review Committees (ERCs) created as sub-committees of the ERB. To ensure quality and due diligence in the review process, the ERB reserves the right to review a random selection of applications approved by the ERCs. All the ERCs report to the ERB through their respective chairs. (For details about the functioning of ERB please see the Ethics Review Policy)

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Ethics Review Committees & Guidelines for Applicants

Office of Monitoring Research Ethics

The University has an office for monitoring research ethics and integrity.

Senior Manager Monitoring Research Ethics and Integrity: Dr Misbah Mannan

​For concerns related to institutional ethics, integrity and compliance, contact:

Chair, University Research Council
Professor Anjum Halai