Behavioural Research Participant Safety

*October 18, 2023*

The UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board (BREB) continues its concern for the safety of research participants, but it no longer requires researchers to submit Safe Research Plans for in-person research, except in the following circumstances: 

  • Research with immunocompromised individuals  
  • Research taking place internationally 
  • Case by case high risk situations (researchers will be notified by the BREB) 

The BREB expects that all researchers, including students conducting course-based research projects, will follow UBC’s Communicable Disease Prevention Framework and take precautions against infectious diseases; this includes doing health checks for themselves and their participants before engaging in research. The BREB also expects that researchers will accommodate participant requests for increased infectious disease protections (see below, “Researcher Duty to Accommodate”). For more information, see UBC’s Framework:

The BREB asks researchers who are doing research within the community - where infectious disease protocols may not be in effect - to be clear within their ethics application about what measures they are taking to protect participants. Researchers may either complete a Safe Research Plan (See Forms and Resources) or simply include information within the application itself (in Box 5.6 Summary of Procedures).  

If you are removing an old Safe Research Plan from your BREB application, you will need to submit a Post Approval Activity (PAA) – Amendment in RISe. When doing so, include a statement in the PAA coversheet indicating that you will follow UBC’s Communicable Disease Prevention Framework and, therefore, are removing your Safe Research Plan. If your research is in-person involving immunocompromised populations or is in international locations, see below.


If you are conducting research internationally or with immunologically compromised populations, you are required to submit a Safe Research Plan using the most recent template, attached to page 9 of your ethics application. You will need to save the Safe Research Plan to your computer in order to fill out the fields. 


If you are a graduate student doing in-person international research OR research with an immunologically compromised population, in addition to submitting a Safe Research Plan, you will need to request a consultation before submitting your ethics application. Please email (Vancouver) (Okanagan) to arrange.

Consultations will cover: 

1. Vaccinations

2. Masking. Researchers should wear N95 or equivalent masks during research indoors unless the ventilation is highly efficient. 

3. Rapid Antigen Testing. Researchers are required to test themselves, even if asymptomatic, when:    

  • travelling for extended periods on public transportation
  • working with an isolated social unit or network
  • conducting research indoors with a group (focus group or workshop)
  • showing symptoms of respiratory illness

4. Health Check. Research participants should be advised to self-screen for symptoms before arriving at the research site.  


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