Gulu University Research Ethics Committee (GUREC)

Dr. Julaina A. Obika

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The inception of the Gulu University Research Ethics Committee (GUREC), originally designatedas the Gulu University Faculty of Medicine Research and Ethics Committee, can be traced backto the year 2007 under the visionary leadership of Prof. Emilio Ovuga, then Dean, Faculty of Medicine, who assumed the pivotal role of the inaugural Chairperson and held the position with distinction until 2017. Dr. Gerald Obai succeeded him, overseeing the committee from 2017 to2023, and presently, Dr. Julaina A. Obika occupies the position of Chairperson. GUREC has a fully equipped office located at the Faculty of Medicine.

Comprising 11 members drawn from diverse academic disciplines within and outside Gulu University, GUREC also includes two community representatives. The latter play a vital role in articulating the needs and concerns of the local communities, who constitute the predominant cohort of research participants.

The commendable efforts of GUREC were officially recognized with full accreditation bestowedby the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) in 2015. Furthermore, thecommittee has earned accreditation from the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) inthe United States, with the designation IRB No. IRB00010381. This accreditation from OHRP not only exemplifies adherence to ethical standards but also holds strategic significance, as it is imperative for grant applications submitted to the prestigious National Institute of Health (NIH) in the United States. It serves as a crucial reference point in the evaluation of grant proposals, thereby fortifying GUREC’s standing in the realm of research ethics.

The genesis of GUREC was rooted in the imperative of robustly supporting the fundamental pillars of Gulu University’s mission – education, scholarly inquiry, and community engagement. Crucially, its primary mandate is to propel the boundaries of ethical research on a national scale, with a particular emphasis on the distinctive challenges confronting Northern Uganda. This region, undergoing a gradual recovery from a protracted armed conflict spanning over two decades, presents a complex milieu marked by distinctive challenges.

The prevailing circumstances in Uganda encompass an intricate interplay of issues, including but not limited to the refugee crisis, land conflicts, elevated poverty levels, population surges, health exigencies, human-wildlife conflicts, cultural recalibrations, migratory patterns, and agricultural intricacies. This multi-faceted panorama significantly reverberates across health, environmental, social, and economic dimensions within the region and extends its impact beyond. Consequently, these nuanced challenges assume paramount importance in shaping the contemporary research landscape, thereby underscoring the vital role of GUREC in navigating the ethical dimensions of scholarly pursuits amidst the intricacies of Uganda’s dynamic and societal fabric.

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Welcome Message

Greetings and welcome to the Gulu University Research Ethics Committee (GUREC)! Established in 2015, we proudly received accreditation from the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST), securing our place among the nationally recognized Research Ethics Committees (RECs) in Uganda. Strategically positioned within Gulu University, which itself emerged in 2002 during the tumultuous armed conflict in Northern Uganda, GUREC plays a pivotal role in facilitating ethically sound
research. Recognizing the significance of research, especially within vulnerable communities, Northern Uganda has become a focal point for diverse studies spanning Medicine, Biological Sciences, Agriculture, Anthropology, Political Science, Education, Peace and Conflict Studies, Engineering and Technology, Environmental Studies, Gender Studies, Refugee Studies, and more. Research ethics holds a paramount position at Gulu University, and I extend my gratitude to the management and the broader university community for fostering an environment conducive to robust discussions on research ethics. Since its inception, GUREC has undergone both measured and substantial growth, expanding its footprint with a dynamic membership drawn from professionals across Gulu University and the wider community. Our strength lies in the diversity of our team, encompassing a rich blend of experience, expertise, gender, and disciplinary backgrounds.Read More

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Contact Details

Dr. Julaina A. Obika (Chairperson)
Walter Yagos Onen (Secretary)
Robert Kiduma (Administrator),