Efforts to strengthen the capacity of research ethics committees in Africa to date have largely targeted their chairs and members, neglecting an explicit focus on research ethics committee administrators, who often manage the reviews and the review committees. The concept of an administrator as a key role player in research ethics review in Africa is only now emerging. No empirical studies have been conducted to describe their position, roles, and responsibilities or their potential to affect positively the quality and responsiveness of ethics review. This questionnaire-based study found that research ethics committee administrators vary greatly in expertise and responsibilities, identifies the administrators’ potential to improve research ethics review performance in Africa, and outlines specific requirements to realize this potential.

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