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 2022 deadlines for applications to be received are as per the below:

29 August 2022

24 October 2022

No applications to be reviewed across the December/January period. Resumes February 2023.

The 2023 deadlines for applications to be received are as per the below:

27 February 2023

24 April 2023

26 June 2023

28 August 2023

30 October 2023

Please note that turnaround of decisions depends on the risk level attached to each application.

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