​In Singapore, any research study involving human subjects has to obtain the approval of an independent ethics committee before being carried out.   This is to ensure the protection of the rights, safety and well-being of research volunteers.  

In the public healthcare sector, hospitals and institutions utilise either the Centralised Institutional Review Board (CIRB) under SingHealth, or the Domain Specific Review Board (DSRB) under NHG for research ethics reviews.  

Clinicians, scientists and researchers doing multi-centre studies in public hospitals or institutions have to undergo multiple ethics reviews ethics approvals from both CIRB and DSRB. 

But things are set to change, with the two clusters’ signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today to mutually recognise both of their ethics reviews.  

This is a milestone for medical research in Singapore, potentially saves time, effort and costs, ultimately benefitting research that leads to better patient care. 

“This mutual recognition of ethics review reduces the time and effort taken to initiate multi-centre studies, better facilitating medical research,” said Dr Aw Swee Eng, Chairman of SingHealth’s CIRB.

“More importantly, it promotes research collaborations across institutions, and such collaborations are important to advance medicine through research.”