Research Advantage

About Human Ethics

The University of Newcastle is committed to the highest standard of ethical practice in research involving or impacting on humans.

All human research projects conducted at the University or by staff and students of the University, require approval from the University's Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) before the research can commence.

The HREC has responsibility for reviewing the ethical acceptability of research and ensuring compliance with regulatory and legislative requirements as well as University policies relating to human research. The principal point of reference for the HREC is the NHMRC's 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.

Review Process

For human research requiring ethics approval, the University uses a risk assessment review model.  Applications are reviewed for ethics approval using one of three assessment levels based on the risk to participants posed by the research. Two of the levels provide for expedited review of applications. This has streamlined the process for researchers and resulted in a reduction in processing time for the majority of applications.

Research Ethics Advisors (REAs)are located in Faculties to assist researchers design ethically acceptable human research and assist them through the ethics approval process. REAs are the first 'port-of-call' for researchers requiring assistance or advice on human research ethics matter.

Research Information Management Systems (RIMS)

As of September 2012, applications for ethical clearance must now be submitted to the Committee via the Research Information Management Systems (RIMS). All staff (including Conjoint appointments) and RHD students can apply for access to RIMS in order to submit and manage their applications.

Undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students who require assistance in accessing RIMS should contact a Human Ethics Officer. Researchers without a University of Newcastle computer account can contact a Human Ethics Officer for alternate submission procedures.


General Links

NHMRC/ARC/Universities Australia


Clinical Trials

Ionizing Radiation and Human Research