What are local committees?

Every research institution needs to form a local research ethics committee (local committee) of at least five members, of diverse professional backgrounds, to perform a complete and sufficient evaluation of all research projects conducted by the institution. The local committee members must have the adequate qualifications, expertise and understanding of the Saudi culture and tradition, to make decisions that are consistent with the cultural values and principles of the Islamic Sharia. They must also have the necessary experience to evaluate research, and ensure its consistency with the following: licensing regulations, the institution’s regulations, public law, professional conduct standards or any provisions of the Law of Ethics of Research on Living Things.

Once the NCBE was formed as instructed by the royal decree, it became mandatory for all organizations conducting research on living organisms in the Kingdom to comply with rules issued by the committee, all of which intend to uphold research ethics conforming to the Islamic Sharia, and protect the rights of living creatures from possible violations that could occur in the absence of an authority managing and monitoring research ethics, and helping victims of past violations.

The NCBE also seeks to limit the sending of genetic samples abroad as much as possible, creating a genetic data bank for the Saudi society, protecting at all times the privacy of these information- a national constituent that must be treated with care.