Ethics and Welfare Committee
The Ethics and Welfare Committee (EWC) is a committee of the Council of the Royal Veterinary College which oversees the governance of ethics of all research undertaken at the College and the welfare of animals involved in teaching and research at the College ensuring that best practice is followed, with three sub-committees dealing with project licences and ethical application reviews.
The three sub-committees deal with the ethical approval of research, depending on the type of research undertaken as follows:
AWERB – for projects involving the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) as amended 2013
CRERB – for clinical animal and human research not involving the A(SP)A
SSRERB – for research involving social science
AWERB - The Animal Welfare Ethical Review Body
The Animal Welfare Ethical Review Body (AWERB) undertakes the AWERB requirements set out by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 to ensure that College research within its remit satisfies the legal requirements of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and other associated and relevant legislation. This includes ensuring that any study within its remit involving experimental animal subjects or veterinary patients (studies undertaken under ASPA) is conducted ethically and with due regard to scientific validity, welfare, has an acceptable harm benefits analysis and, for veterinary patient studies ensuring there is no compulsion, maintaining both confidentiality and anonymity based on the concept of informed consent. In addition, AWERB ensures that the following are of high quality and fit for purpose: (i) the training and assessment of competence by the College of staff and students working under A(SP)A; (ii) the facilities and staff provided to care for experimental animals; (iii) the information made available to researchers on the 3Rs (Reduction, Refinement, Replacement) and advise the College Establishment Licence Holder of any deficiencies in these areas; (iv) framework for record keeping for all activities associated with A(SP)A.
CRERB - The Clinical Research Ethical Review Board
The Clinical Research Ethical Review Board (CRERB) oversees research undertaken under the Veterinary Surgeons Act (VSA), other research projects on animals that do not fall under A(SP)A and clinical research studies on human subjects, to ensure the projects are ethically sound, scientifically robust and legal. This includes prospective clinical trials involving animals, other prospective animal research that does not fall within A(SP)A remit (e.g. Structure and Motion), behavioural studies or observational studies involving animals or humans, and work on biological samples collected from animals or humans, including work conducted with stored samples (e.g. stored urine, DNA, blood, pathological samples etc.) from past cases or other animals.
SSRERB - The Social Science Ethical Review Board
The Social Science Ethical Review Board (SSRERB) undertakes the ethical review process for social science research projects to ensure that any study involving human subjects is conducted ethically and with due regard to ensuring there is no compulsion, maintain both confidentiality and anonymity based on the concept of informed consent. This includes projects involving human participation, questionnaires, interviews and educational interventions.