How the Latest Application Design Methodologies Helped Canada’s Federal Research Agencies

  • Organization: Panel on Research Ethics (PRE)
  • Project: TCPS 2 CORE Course Development
  • Dates: January 2011-present
  • URL:


In 2001, Canada’s three federal research agencies, CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC, jointly created the Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics (PRE or the Panel) as part of a collaborative effort to promote the ethical conduct of research involving human participants. To achieve its mission, PRE contracted DrDesign to develop an online tutorial consisting of eight modules, in both English and French. The tutorial, called CORE, would be made available to multiple institutions across Canada and would be a requirement for any researcher receiving federal funding. Several universities across Canada also have CORE as a requirement for graduation.


The end result incorporated the latest in application design methodologies.

  • Allow PRE staff to create their own tutorial content including video and podcasts. This made them self-sufficient in creating content and managing the website.
  • QCubed, a framework for providing Object Relational Mapping (ORM) functionality and stateful object-oriented HTML forms.
  • Zend Framework, a collection of high quality components for building scalable web applications
  • CSS-based layout and visual elements.
  • WCAG 2.1 AA compliant website conforming to the Government of Canada’s exacting accessibility standards.

DrDesign’s Role

DrDesign developed an easy to use Administrative interface for PRE administrators to manage course content, web site content, users, and institutions. Based on client requirements, DrDesign managed the whole development and deployment process including creating the functionality document, wireframing the application, data modeling, and development.