RCSI Bahrain Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Application guide

Do I need to submit my research proposal to the Bahrain REC?



Please read this algorithm in conjunction with the notes below:

Scope of RCSI Bahrain REC

RCSI Bahrain REC only deals with research proposals from RCSI staff and students.

• If you are an RCSI staff member or student involved in research that is organized partly or wholly within RCSI, or under the auspices of RCSI, then you must have RCSI REC approval.

• If you are not an RCSI staff member or student and wish to apply for REC approval for your research please speak to the REC Convener if you need advice where else to apply.


Human Projects & Ethical Approval?

All human interaction, including human research, has ethical dimensions. Responsibility for the ethical design, review and conduct of human research is exercised at many levels. While the processes of ethical review are important, individual researchers and the institutions within which they work hold primary responsibility for ensuring that their research is ethically acceptable.

Examples of activities that DO require ethics approval are research projects which include:

• Student research projects at both undergraduate and postgraduate level that involve humans.
• Staff research projects that involve humans.
• Research questionnaires.
• All research involving human subjects, including patients, staff, students or any others.
• All research involving any human tissues (including blood tests and imaging).
• Findings that will be reported or published externally.

Activities that do not require ethics approval include:

• Audits or end-of-course evaluations of teaching programs delivered in the RCSI (e.g. questionnaires to test current course content, or ask for comments regarding possible changes).*
• Non-research findings which will not be reported or published externally.
• Basic science (non-human and non-animal based) research.

For example, RCSI staff members do not need to obtain ethics approval if they are conducting a research audit for the purpose of reviewing current teaching programs, courses, services, policies, procedures, or for quality improvement purposes, provided the nature of the research is non-invasive and the findings will not be published or presented externally.

*Evaluation and feedback from RCSI students is part of the normal curriculum cycle and is considered as recommended ongoing quality assurance of routinely collected data from the College courses. Since the information collected within this type of evaluation is not obtained for research, rather it is the routinely collected educational data and information from RCSI students that makes up the educational assessment, this type of study does not require ethical approval. 

However all formal studies of this nature must be planned in a thorough and professional manner, should be proposed to and approved by the Head of School (undergraduate studies) and the equivalent relevant senior person in postgraduate settings, and follow the recommended policy for curriculum evaluation in the RCSI as follows:

• Data should not be reviewed by non-RCSI staff (this can only take place when a duty of confidentiality has been put in place).

• Any data collected should be anonymised wherever possible, removing identifying information such as name, student number, address, date of birth, etc. All data must be kept secure, ensuring that only relevant RCSI professionals are able to access this data. All electronic data must be stored on the RCSI server on password protected files.

• Data must only be collected for the stated purpose of audit and only that which you need to answer your audit objectives (keeping in mind the Data Protection Principle ‘Adequate, relevant and not excessive')

• The UK Data Protection Act 1998 is accepted by RCSI as the most relevant guideline and will meet Bahrain legal requirements. There are 8 principles that we are required to comply with to ensure that information is handled appropriately. Someone who determines the purposes and the way in which any personal data is processed, has to keep to these principles. These being that data is:


  1. Fairly and lawfully processed
  2. Processed for limited purposes
  3. Adequate, relevant and not excessive
  4. Accurate
  5. Not kept for longer than is necessary
  6. Processed in line with your rights
  7. Secure
  8. Not transferred to countries without adequate protection


However, please do not assume that you do not require ethical approval and please ensure that your project is not actually research. In cases where there is uncertainty about whether a project is audit or research please contact Abeer Abdel Aal aabdelaal@rcsi-mub.com  for advice.

Remember that research projects will always require ethical approval.

If in doubt then please seek our advice.