Ethics Review Board (ERB)​


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)

Promoting responsible ethics 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 flowchart.jpg

For concerns related to institutional ethics and compliance, contact:

Chair, University Research Council
Professor Anjum Halai

Ethics Review Committees

The Ethics Review Committees (ERCs) are responsible to provide rigorous, relevant and timely review of the applications received within the different country contexts. The ERCs are sub-committees of the Ethics Review Board (ERB) and shall report to the Board on a quarterly basis.  However, they will be entitled to make decisions on the ethical review applications and all related issues directly without prior ratification of the ERB. The ERB will reserve the right to review and audit the functioning of ERCs as appropriate. The ERB reports to the University Research Council (URC).

Provided below is the information about all the ERCs at AKU and the guidelines for applicants.  The guidelines are compliant with the AKU Ethics Review Policy approved by the URC and also take into account the country-specific requirements as appropriate.

Note: Ethics clearance for student’s research (Masters and below) will be carried by the ethics committee under the entity.​​


Guidelines for Ethics Review Committees, Pakistan:

ERC 1 - Chair: Dr Hammad Ather 
ERC 2 - Chair: Prof Jamsheer Talati
ERC 3 - Chair: Dr Rehana Siddiqui  
ERC 4 - Chair: Dr Fyezah Jehan 
Secretary: Sana Pirani and Saima Ejaz

Guidelines for Ethics Review Committee, Kenya

Applications are currently accepted by email.

Chair: Dr Wangari Waweru-Siika​
Secretary: Kamanda W. Nancy​​

Guidelines for Ethics Review Committee, Tanzania​

Applications are currently accepted by email.

Secretary: Rosemary Stephen

Guidelines for Ethics Review Committee - Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (Global)

Applications from IHD, GSMC, EAI, SoTL, IED (EA & P) and ISMC (UK) are currently submitted by email.

Secretary: Dr Misbah Mannan

Guidelines for Ethics Committee for Animal Care and Use, Pakistan 

Applications are currently accepted by email.

Secretary: Saima Ejaz