All research undertaken in the Cook Islands must meet our research and ethical standards to protect those participating in the research.

As of May 2022, the Cook Islands Research Ethics Committee (CIREC) became operational and all research applications are required to seek ethics approval in the Cook Islands unless they fit under the exemptions listing. This can be found in the National Research Policy.
Guiding Principles for research conducted in the Cook Islands
The Cook Islands Research Ethics Guiding Principles for Research Involving Human Participants (and animals)

Applications to the CIREC are at no cost.  They must be submitted to the Cook Islands Research and Ethics Secretariat and must include the following documents:

Applications are categorised by their level of risk – low, medium and high, which is dependent on the nature of research to be conducted. This will determine the turnaround time on the applications.

The composition of the CIREC are members with key qualities inclusive of active researchers, familiarity in research ethics, experience in health research and local community knowledge.

Once reviewed by the CIREC, all applications are passed on to the Cook Islands National Research Committee who grant the final approval. All research permits come at a cost of NZD 80.

Applications for research in the Cook Islands are now open.  These will be received over two-month periods at a time. The 2024 CIREC sittings are listed below. It is requested to send all completed application materials to the secretariat up to one week before the below dates :

26 February 2024

22 April 2024

24 June 2024

26 August 2024

28 October 2024 (Confirmation dependent on Cook Islands games schedule)

No applications to be reviewed across the December/January period.

Resumes February 2025.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we navigate the new official processes for Cook Islands Research.

For any further questions, the Secretariat can be contacted on