The inception of the Professor Joshua Ogunwole administration came with stronger than usual emphasis on the development of Research in Bowen University. This is because this Vice Chancellor unequivocally believes (and rightly so) that Research in an unalloyed synergy with our core values of Godliness, Excellence, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Social Responsibility is the only way by which Bowen University could move from being good to great. Consequently events in The University since the first day of August 2018 have geared towards the realisation. Principal amongst the events is the setting up of the Directorate of Research and Strategic Partnerships whose executive is directly responsible to the Vice Chancellor. This is the first time in the history of The University where such a prodigious premium has been placed on Research. The goal of the Bowen University Management is to create an environment that would make the researches that are conducted in Bowen University to be of world’s best.Research Integrity, Rigour and Reproducibility
Given the goal set by the Management with respect to the quality of our research, all researches conducted and/or funded in Bowen University must be to the highest standards of rigour and integrity all through the research process from initial planning to reporting and dissemination of results. Thus, various policies and resources are in place to foster and support these high standards and commit to having our internal processes and practices help to ensure that the researches carried out in Bowen University are not only rigorous but reproducible.
Research in Bowen University has been given a thematic approach and structure. This is to guarantee that research in The University is deep, focussed, wide and in line with global best practices as well as trends. Consequently the following four thematic areas are currently being pursued.
The Bowen University Research and Ethics Committee (BUREC) consists of nine members and reflects diversity of scientific and non-scientific backgrounds, professional specialties, cultural interests, both genders, and have one community member who is not affiliated with The University directly or through a family member.
Given the wide diversity of research being conducted in Bowen University, the composition of BUREC ensures that members collectively have sufficient expertise to scrupulously evaluate the quality of the scientific or other fields related content as well as the ethics. In particular, the Committee’s composition includes a physician and a lawyer to evaluate the medical and legal aspects respectively. A veterinary surgeon or an Animal Scientist is also included in the membership of the Committee. In addition, the Committee operates the use of an alternate member system where the alternate member may attend if the primary member is not available especially for the physician and the lawyer. Furthermore, BUREC may invite outside consultants/reviewers if necessary to provide insight into scientific or ethical issues that are beyond the expertise of the convened committee. While consultants/reviewers can assist in the review of a protocol, they cannot participate in the voting for approval of the research.
Every application is submitted to BUREC in writing and dated. Electronic submissions are also accepted as directed in calls for proposal(s) or as the case may apply. On the receipt of any research application for review by BUREC, an acknowledgement is issued therefore it is a requirement that every completed application must indicate a designated contact person for correspondence in respect of the application. The application is initially scrutinised to ensure that it satisfies its requirements and those prescribed by various laws and statutes governing research and that all documents that are germane to ethics review of the proposal are attached.
If all the requirements for submission have been met, BUREC informs the applicants of the commencement of the review and the anticipated timetable for the process. Applicants are also informed of the possibility that, if more documents and/or specific information are required, the timetable would need to be revised accordingly. Furthermore, applicants are informed in clear terms that if they are invited to discuss their proposal in person, they will not be allowed to take part in the assessment procedure.
BUREC members are asked to declare any conflicts of interests whenever they meet to review new proposals. Members are excluded from any discussion about the applications for which there exists any conflict of interests and are not allowed to take part in the assessment process.
Ethical review is aimed at protecting participants and are a valuable part of the research process and not merely a means of accessing data integrity. However, it also helps to protect the researcher. This is because obtaining ethical approval demonstrates that the researcher has adhered to the accepted ethical standards of a genuine research study which could increase recruitment potential.
BUREC has the responsibility of approving a research protocol, requiring modifications to the protocol in order to gain approval, disapproving the research, or suspend or terminate research that may have already received approval. In carrying out these duties, written procedures are followed for initial and various reviews and their frequency, prompt reporting of changes to the research, prompt and appropriate reporting of unexpected events, adverse reactions, and deviations from and/or non-compliance with the protocol.
In accordance with global trends and not to re-invent the wheel, The University Management has decided on using the robust widely used Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in the Care and Use of Nonhuman Animals in Research of the American Psychological Association. The Web address below gives access to the full document.
Animal Care Guidelines
Given that research into humans covers the area of health, Social Sciences, Law and Humanities, there are two different documents that are employed in the governing of human research ethics. The World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki: Ethical Principles for Medical Research and Guidelines for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences, Humanities, Law and Theology have in the same vein been adopted for use as appropriate. The Web addresses below give access to the full documents respectively.
Calls for application for University Research Grants are made periodically with detailed guidelines for submission. This must be accompanied by BRA1 Bowen Research Application Form.