The following Joint Statement was released on 22 November 2016 during the inaugural Research Integrity Conference co-organised by A*STAR, NTU and NUS.
We and the research community within our respective organisations are committed to the highest ethical standards in furtherance of our mission of teaching, research and public service. We recognize that we hold our institutions in trust for the people of Singapore. Our respective policies, procedures, codes of conduct and standards provide guidance for application of the ethical values stated below in our daily life and work as members of the research community, and each of our institutions is committed to abide by the Singapore Statement of Research Integrity1. In addition to our respective institutions’ existing policies, procedures, codes of conduct and standards, all members of our research community2 are expected to strictly adhere to the following research publication principles:
We are committed to adopting the highest standards of research and publication ethics and standards at all times. Any breach of these principles will be dealt with by the respective institutions’ disciplinary procedures.
1 The Singapore Statement on Research Integrity can be found here: http://www.singaporestatement.org/
2 Research personnel include staff, faculty, consultants, technicians, students and any personnel who are engaged in research.
3 Respective institutions may require records to be kept for a period longer than 10 years to fulfil other requirements at their discretion.
Download the Joint Statement here (PDF version)
All research conducted in BMRC research units is guided by the local regulations and guidelines issued on the subject.
In addition, all grant recipients are required to obtain ethics approval from the appropriate Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for their research. They must also conform to the highest standards and strict scientific and ethical guidelines governing biomedical sciences research issued by the Ministry of Health in Singapore and the Bioethics Advisory Committee
In August 2015, the Human Biomedical Research Act (HBRA) was enacted to regulate the conduct of Human Biomedical Research (HBR) and Human Tissue Banking activities in Singapore. The HBRA establishes a regulatory framework providing clear ethical guidelines for the conduct of HBR and the use of human tissues for research. All HBR will need to be reviewed and approved by an IRB before proceeding. Researchers conducting research under the “Restricted Research” category as defined under HBRA are also required to seek MOH approval. Researchers are prohibited from conducting research under the “Prohibited Research” category in Singapore.
The A*STAR HBR Office has been established as a centralised office to oversee, coordinate and monitor A*STAR Entities’ compliance with HBRA and the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA).
Since 1 April 2017, SingHealth CIRB has been appointed as the institutional review board (IRB) for all A*STAR research entities conducting research involving either human subjects or the use of human biological materials and identifiable health information. SingHealth CIRB will conduct an independent review and assessment of ethical aspects of the research proposals submitted by A*STAR researchers and whether the proposed research conforms to applicable laws and regulations. A*STAR researchers may also submit new application to A*STAR IRB from 1 July 2018 onwards.
The NACLAR Guidelines on the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes was released in Oct 2004. It describes the operational aspects pertaining to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), which is responsible for the oversight and evaluation of animal care and use programmes of an institution, and for ensuring that the care and use of animals for scientific purposes and all animal experimental procedures are in compliance with the Guidelines. Under the Guidelines, all institutions with research facilities are required to establish their own IACUC to assume this function.
BMRC has established an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and applications for the use of experimental animals at A*STAR’s Biological Resource Centre may be obtained by contacting the IACUC Secretariat.
The Genetic Modification Advisory Committee of Singapore (GMAC) has developed two sets of biosafety guidelines for research and commercial releases of GMOs. GMAC, together with the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR), the National Environment Agency (NEA), and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), encourage all researchers, traders and other stakeholders dealing with GMOs to comply with these guidelines.
BMRC research units have Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBCs) which are vital in the day-to-day enforcement and implementation of the GMAC Research Guidelines. The IBCs also play an important role in the monitoring and surveillance of ongoing genetic manipulation work within the host institutions, so as to ensure that their recommendations and that of GMAC are being adhered to by the researchers.
1The Singapore Statement on Research Integrity can be found here: http://www.singaporestatement.org/
2Research personnel include staff, faculty, consultants, technicians, students and any personnel who are engaged in research.
3Respective institutions may require records to be kept for a period longer than 10 years to fulfil other requirements at their discretion.
Bioethics Advisory Committee (BAC)
The Bioethics Advisory Committee (BAC) was appointed by the Cabinet in December 2000 to examine the legal, ethical and social issues arising from biomedical sciences research. Issues such as human genetics and stem cell research are examples of issues considered by the Committee. The BAC makes its recommendations to the Steering Committee on Life Sciences (SCLS), and has published the following reports:
Genetic Modification Advisory Committee (GMAC)
In 1999, the multi-agency Genetic Modification Advisory Committee (GMAC) was established under the purview of the Ministry of Trade and Industry to oversee and to provide scientifically-sound advice on the research and development, production, release, use and handling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Singapore.
The objective of GMAC is to ensure public safety while maintaining an environment that is conducive for commercial exploitations of GMOs and GMO-derived products. GMAC’s responsibilities include the following: to advise and recommend for approval, or otherwise, the research and development, production, use and handling of GMOs; to review, monitor and advise on matters related to the release of GMOs into the environment; inform the public, where deemed necessary, on planned releases of GMOs; to establish mechanisms for exchange of information with overseas agencies and to facilitate the harmonization of guidelines with regional and international authorities; and to facilitate public education and create awareness on GM issues.
GMAC has released two sets of guidelines covering the commercial release of agriculture-related GMOs and research on GMOs, namely:
National Advisory Committee on Laboratory Animal Research (NACLAR)View NACLAR Guidelines
The National Advisory Committee on Laboratory Animal Research (NACLAR) was established in 2003 to develop national guidelines for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes in Singapore. The Committee, which comprises representatives from academia, research organizations, AVA, as well as legal and ethical specialists.
The NACLAR Guidelines on the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes was released in October 2004. The scope of the Guidelines covers all aspects of the care and use of animals for scientific purposes including their use in teaching, field trials, environmental studies, research, diagnosis, product testing, and the production of biological products. The aim of the NACLAR Guidelines is to promote humane and responsible care and use of animals for scientific purposes in Singapore.
NACLAR has developed Guidelines which acknowledge the best practices of countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, The US, and organisations such as the Council for International Organisations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) and the European Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals Used for Experimental and Other Scientific Purposes (1986). These countries and organisations have laid down stringent Guidelines and procedures governing the use and care of animals in research.