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About CIRB


The SingHealth Centralised Institutional Review Board (CIRB), an independent body constituted of medical, scientific, and non-scientific members, was established on 01 April 2009.

It is guided by ethical principles outlined in the Belmont Report and legal mandates outlined in the International Conference for Harmonisation Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice (ICH GCP), Human Biomedical Research Act (HBRA) and its regulations.

Its responsibility is to ensure the protection of the rights, safety and well-being of human subjects in research by approving and providing constant reviewing of research studies and amendments, and of the methods and materials used to obtain and document informed consent.

SingHealth CIRB is appointed by the Principal-In-Charge (PIC) of SingHealth. The CIRB provides an independent and timely review of research studies involving SingHealth patients, staff, facilities and/or being conducted in premises of institutions under the oversight of CIRB. Ethics review will also be provided to research institutions who have appointed the CIRB as the reviewing IRB.

Composition of the IRB

The CIRB is composed of six Boards, based on broad disease grouping or discipline. Each board is constituted in compliance with the International Conference for Harmonisation Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice (ICH GCP), Human Biomedical Research Act (HBRA) and its regulations. The varying background of the members ensures a complete and adequate review of the submitted research studies. Decisions made by the Board will be recognised by the other Boards in the CIRB.

The Board reviews research studies related to their disease groupings or disciplines. The specialties under each Board are as follows:

Board ​Specialty
​Board A​Ophthalmology, Psychiatry, Neurology/Neurosurgery (including sleep studies), Geriatric Medicine, Nursing, Health Service Research
​Board B​Oncology
​Board C​Cardiovascular Science, Pharmacology, Emergency Medicine, Endocrinology, Diagnostic Imaging, Respiratory Medicine
​Board D​Obs/Gynaecology, Anaesthesia (including acupuncture), Surgery, ENT, Dentistry
​Board E​Gastroenterology, Renal Medicine, Rheumatology/Immunology, Dermatology, Paediatric Medicine, Family Medicine
​Board F​Genetics, Palliative Medicine, Haematology (including haematological malignancies), Pathology, Sports & Rehab Medicine, Allied Health, Infectious Disease

Mutual Recognition of Research Ethics Review

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the two public healthcare clusters, SingHealth and the National Healthcare Group (NHG) on 22 May 2014. With effect from 1 October 2016, the research ethics review conducted by CIRB and the Domain Specific Review Board (DSRB) are mutually recognised. As such, multi-centre studies involving institutions governed by both review boards will require ethics approval from only either CIRB or DSRB. This would be dependent on who is the overall Principal Investigator (PI) of the study. Where the overall PI is from SingHealth sites, the IRB application will be submitted to CIRB for review and vice versa.

FAQ - Mutual Recognition of Ethics Review