The Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University had established the ethics committee for reviewing the human research protocols since 1989. At the early period of operation, most of research works submitted for ethical review were from the clinical researchers who received external fundings from overseas countries. To avoid inconsistent standard for ethical reviewing, according to the international guidelines and to improve the quality of research conducting by the faculty members, the Board of Faculty of Medicine issued the first policy regarding the requirement on ethical review for research in March 30th, 1997.
This policy introduced numerous impacts on the researcher’s practice. The research projects that were not received an approval by the Faculty of Medicine Ethic Committee would neither be recognized as their achievement for academic promotion nor be used for their request for any supports from the Faculty of Medicine.
In 2000, the President of Khon Kaen University officially issued the establishment of the Khon Kaen University Ethics Committee for Human Research (KKUEC) by advancing the scopes and responsibilities of the former Faculty of Medicine Ethics Committee. Currently, Faculty of Medicine provides working space and two office staffs, where as the KKU provides another two office staffs and operational budget (approximately 20,000 USD/year and with annual increment). This budget has been spent for equipping the office tools and computer database system and for supporting educational programs for the board members and investigators. The KKUEC has received the first FWA from OHAP since 2003 and has renewed every three years.
KKU EC received recognition from SIDCER in 2008. The KKU EC currently has three panels reviewing over 2,000 protocols per year. Panel 1 reviews all research protocols from members of the Faculty of Medicine. Panel 2 reviews research protocols from paramedical faculties and Panel 3 is responsible for social research protocols from the rest of faculties. Five KKU EC members have undergone the International Fellow Programs at Western Institutional Review Board (WIRB, Washington, USA). They are currently alternate board members at WIRB. One KKU-EC member is currently training at WIRB in the USA. Two members are auditors for SIDCER. One of them is also certified by the Council for Certification of IRB Professionals (CIP). EC administrative staff have increased from 4 to 13 persons in 2008 to 2011. Budgets for KKUEC has also increased 1,494,538 Bath in 2008, 4,700,000 Bath in 2010 and 9,000,000 Bath in 2011. EC members have increased from 38 persons in 2008 to 142 persons in 2011. There are currently 36 principle committee members and 105 alternating committee members.