MMED Research Process

All research undertaken is done under the auspices of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and before a protocol can be submitted to the UCT Ethics Committee for ethics approval, it first needs to go through the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health Research Committee for scientific review approval.

1.  Do you have a research project in mind? 
     Registrar Research Topics list

2.  Identify a Supervisor and obtain commitment.

3.  Are you registered with UCT?  If not, register with UCT Online.

4.  Develop research protocol -  Write a research proposal & synopsis

  • Write research proposal according to structure in Form FHS015 (consult FHS015hlp)
  • Write synopsis according to structure in Form FHS014

5.  Submission to the Department Research Committee (DRC) Office
  5.1   Submit the following application pack to DRC:

  • 1 x hard copy and electronic copy of cover letter addressed to the Departmental Research Committee  (DRC) Chair Assoc Prof Kirsty Donald.
  • 1 x hard copy and electronic copy of synopsis (write synopsis according to structure in Form FHS014
  • 1 x hard copy and electronic copy of proposal  (write research proposal according to structure in Form FHS015)
    (consult FHS015hlp).
  • 1 x hard copy and electronic copy of form FHS 013 (HREC new protocol application form)
  • If applicable, a hard copy of the budget should be included in the submission and if applicable, a contract should be submitted.
  • If funding is involved, the new electronic C1 (Clearance) process should be followed (see form FHS002). The electronic form is directly submitted to Faculty Finance.  For queries about the new electronic C1 form process, please contact Carlette Hlungwani or Yolande Harley.
  • The researcher should also please include 2 to 4 suggestions for reviewers in their submission (i.e. cover letter).  [NB: reviewers cannot be someone involved in the study. The DRC Chair allocates reviewers and may choose other people than those recommended by the PI.] Please note that anonymity between PI and reviewer should be maintained.
  • Our office will then send the proposal for departmental review (a reviewer is appointed by the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health DRC chair or deputy chair).     

Please note that the MINIMUM amount of time allocated for departmental review is 2 weeks and that the departmental review process may well take longer to finalise. Researchers are therefore encouraged to submit their proposals for departmental review well in advance of their selected FHS HREC submission date. (Please see FHS HREC  submission and meeting dates.)​​​​​​

  • Once the proposal is approved by the reviewer, the Ethics form is given to the DRC chair/deputy chair to sign off​.
  • Our office will then contact the researcher to advise that the proposal has received DRC approval and that they may now collect the DRC signed form from our office and submit to the FHS HREC for ethics approval.


Research Administrator:  Geanine Hopley
Department of Paediatrics and Child Health
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Cape Town
ph: 021 - 686 0086
fax: 021 - 689 1287
Room 3.16, 3rd Floor, ICH Building, Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital

6.  Submission to the Faculty of Health Sciences Human Research Ethics Committee (FHS HREC)

  • Following approval by DRC, submit the application pack (see checklist on FHS013 form for application pack details), including approval letter of DRC (hand-delivered or registered mail) to the HREC. Submit under appropriate category for ethics review (see checklist on FHS013 form).
  • The researcher should make certain that the FHS013 form has been signed by their HoD before submitting to the FHS HREC. Please note that principal investigator and HoD signature cannot be the same.
  • Deliver forms to the FHS HREC Office ( see FHS HREC website for physical address).
  • HREC sit monthly and approval usually takes between 4 – 8 weeks, depending on issues that arise (this excludes submissions for expedited review).
  • Contacts for Administrators:, or
  • For invoicing enquiries please contact
  • HREC issues a letter granting ethics approval with a unique reference number that must be quoted in future correspondence.
  • Note: An electronic copy of your new application should always be available on request from the administrators.

Animal Research Ethics Committee


NB: Protocols should be submitted as early as possible BEFORE the submission date. This is essential to facilitate assessment by the reviewers prior to the meeting. Any delay/late submission will require the protocol to be held over to a later meeting date.

7.  Submission to Hospital (RXH)

  • Research Requirements
  • Research Proposal Summary
  • The applicant should email the office of the Hospital Research Review Committee Chair, Dr Tamara Kerbelker, at G2 Management Suite via her assistant, Ellen Thomas ( OR 021-658 5383) advising that they would like to request hospital approval from RXH to undertake research.

  • Dr Kerbelker’s office will send the researcher a Research Requirements Form for completion which will need to be returned to that office.

  • Only after the approval from hospital management has been obtained can the research project or clinical trial be conducted at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

8.  Obtain approval of research proposal by Doctoral Degrees Board (DDB)
Following HREC approval, submit the following to Adri Winckler ( at the postgraduate office, for
     approval by the DDB Chair:

  • HREC approval letter
  • Form D1 + D3 (Approval of study proposal form)
  • HREC approved research protocol

    Submission must be made prior to commencement of research and not later than 6- months after registration.