- What human research requires approval
- Research exempt from ethics approval
- Who needs to apply for ethics approval
- How applications are reviewed
- Application procedures
- Closing date for applications
- Notification of decisions
- Further information and help
- Research conducted in another institution/organisation
- Conjoint Staff and honorary associates
Ethics approval must be sought for research involving human participants. A 'participant' is someone who:
- Actively provides research data, eg
- completes surveys;
- participates in interviews, discussions or observations;
- undergoes psychological, physiological or medical treatment or testing;
- tests software;
- grants access to personal collections of records, photographs etc;
- Is the person from whom tissue has been collected (including blood, urine, saliva, hair);
- Is identified in a record, eg employment record, medical record, education record, membership list, electoral roll; or
- Is identified or de-identified in databanks or unpublished human research data, eg an analysis of existing unpublished data collected by another researcher or collected for a different research project.
- Use of data, documents or records that are all publicly available, eg publicly accessible archives, or publications.
All staff and students of the University of Newcastle planning to conduct human research which requires ethics approval, or external researchers conducting human research at the University, must obtain ethics approval from the University's Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) before the research can commence. Special provisions apply for research to be conducted in Hunter New England Health, conjoint staff and honorary associates and collaborative research.
Applications to the HREC for student research projects are to be submitted under the supervisor's name with the student identified as the student researcher.
To streamline the review of applications for human ethics approval, from 1 February 2007 the University of Newcastle is implementing 3 levels of review, two of which are expedited review. Modelled on the human research ethics processes at Griffith University, the level of review is determined by the level of risk to participants posed by the research described in the application. Risk is the potential for harm, either physical, psychological, social, economic, or legal, or the potential to cause people to think they have been treated disrespectfully.
Negligible or no appreciable risks or ethical issues
Chair or Deputy Chair
Low risk and ethical issues addressed by research design
Potential for significant or unavoidable risk; not eligible for L1 or L2
Response times vary depending on level of review.
There are online application eForms for approval of new projects, renewal of approval for existing projects and variations to existing projects that can be accessed by logging into the Research Information Management System (RIMS) at https://rims.newcastle.edu.au/login.asp. To access user guides and help material, please access the RIMS support site on the University website (http://www.newcastle.edu.au/research/research-services/rims/).
Refer to the submission dates and estimated response times.
Applicants receive emailed notification of the decision on their application.
The principle point of reference for researchers and the HREC is the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. The primary purpose of the National Statement is the protection of the welfare and rights of participants in research. It is binding on all institutions and organisations that receive research funding from the Australian government as does the University of Newcastle.
The eForms for obtaining ethics approval provide guidance to completing questions. This site also provides access to policy documents issued by the Human Research Ethics Committee, links to related sites and Frequently Asked Questions.
Students should consult their supervisors for advice and assistance in the first instance.
Research Ethics Advisors: Research Ethics Advisors (REAs) at the School / Faculty level provide local support to researchers, both staff and students, to design ethically acceptable human research and assist them through the ethics approval process. Any enquiries you have should be directed to a REA in the first instance. Find a REA.
If you still have questions, further assistance can be obtained from the Human Research Ethics Staff.
If research involves patients, facilities or records of the Hunter New England Health an application for ethics approval must be made to the Hunter New England Health Research Ethics Committee (HNEHREC).
In most cases, if the research is to be conducted by staff or students of the University of Newcastle, provided approval is granted by the HNEHREC, it will not be necessary to make a full application to the University HREC. However, the HNEHREC approval must be Registered with the University HREC within 14 days. Researchers will not be covered by the University insurance provisions if the project is not registered. Refer to procedures for details.
Dr Nicole Gerrand
Tel: (02) 492 14950.
NSW Health HREC Contacts
Tel: (02) 4320 3070
In most cases, for research involving government pre-schools, schools or TAFE colleges an application must be made to the NSW Department of Education and Training (DET). Refer to the link for more information.
Tel: (02) 9561 8878 or (02) 9561 8822
Please Note: The study information/invitation for research participants that is submitted to the NSW DET as part of an application for approval to conduct the research in government schools, must be the same version as that submitted to and/or approved by the University's HREC. It will be necessary to draft a document that takes into account the guidelines of both the NSW DET and the University's HREC guidelines.
Conjoint staff and honorary associates of the University of Newcastle who are chief investigators on human research projects are required to submit an application to the University's HREC if any of the following apply:
- The research is to be conducted at the University of Newcastle involving staff or students as participants in the research, or records of the University; or
- A research grant or contract for the project is to be administered by the University of Newcastle and an application is not being submitted to the Hunter New England Health Human Research Ethics Committee; or
- It is intended to conduct the research in the name of the University of Newcastle or to use the logo or letterhead of the University of Newcastle in any documentation provided to study participants and an application is not being submitted to the Hunter New England Health human Research Ethics Committee;
- An investigator is a student of the University of Newcastle and the research is to be used towards meeting the requirements for their course of study and an application is not being submitted to the Hunter New England Health Human Research Ethics Committee. This would normally only be the case where the conjoint member of staff is the supervisor for the student's candidature.
Please Note: The University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Health have entered into an agreement regarding human ethics review of proposals that would normally require submission to the human research ethics committees of both institutions. If your proposal involves both institutions, whether by virtue of where the research will be conducted, or the affiliations of the researchers involved, please refer to the agreed Procedures