Research Advantage

Forms and Guidelines

Application Forms for Human Ethics Clearance can be accessed via the Research Information Management System (RIMS). If you require assistance logging into RIMS, please contact a Human Ethics Officer for assistance.

Feedback on the eForms is encouraged and welcomed. Please forward your comments to


Notes for Researchers

Please refer to the Notes for Researchers document (DOC 160 KB) before you begin your application. They provide tips on avoiding common problems with applications, guidelines on key ethical considerations and other useful information to assist you in your application. Additional question-specific guidelines are provided in the application forms.

What the HREC looks for

The HREC Review Checklist (PDF 82 KB) shows you what the HREC looks for when reviewing applications for ethics approval.

Information Statements and Consent Forms for research participants

Information Statement for Research involving an anonymous survey/questionnaire

Recruitment Flyer Template

Application Forms

Initial Application Form

Initial application forms are used for seeking human ethics approval for a new project.

Applications must undergo a peer review prior to submission. The University of Newcastle HREC applies a hierarchical level of review to applications for ethics approval. This reflects the ethical issues and possible risks to research participants presented by the research protocol.

Risk is the potential for harm whether it is physical, psychological, social, economic, or legal - or the potential to cause people to think they have been treated disrespectfully. There are 3 levels - two of which are dealt with by expedited review.

LevelRiskReviewed by
Level 1 Negligible or no appreciable risks or ethical issues Chair or Deputy Chair
Level 2 Low risk and ethical issues addressed by research design HREC Panel
Level 3 Potential for significant or unavoidable risk; not eligible for L1 or L2 Full HREC

Response times vary depending on level of review. Please view the Submission Dates and Response Times page for further information.

Only low risk research can be considered by expedited review. The NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research identifies certain types of research that can only be reviewed by a full HREC.

Which form to use

RIMS has a defined set of initial application forms that are tailored for specific purposes. Each type of initial application will automatically determine the level of review applicable for your application.

The eForm will determine eligibility for expedited review and identify any additional forms you need to complete and submit.

  • Initial: New Project - Submission of a new ethics application, the form will automatically determine the level of review required.
  • Initial: Registration Ext HREC Approval - Registration of Hunter New England Human Research Ethics Committee approvals.
  • Initial: Course Related Ethics Approval - Submission of course related ethics application.
  • Initial: Registration of Test/Procedure - Registration of a new test or procedure.

Initial - HREA Pathway (formally NEAF)

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has streamlined ethics approval by developing the Human Research Ethics Application (HREA) as a replacement for the National Ethics Application Form (NEAF). The aim of the HREA is to be a concise application to facilitate efficient and effective ethics review for research involving humans. The HREA will assist researchers to consider the ethical principles of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) in relation to their research, rather than focus on requirements for approval.

From 31 March 2017, users will no longer be able to create new proposals using NEAF.  Users can access their NEAF accounts to copy or export any proposal data they wish to keep up until 30 June 2017.  The NEAF website will be decommissioned on 30 June 2017 and users will no longer have any access to NEAF.  NEAF proposal data will not be retained.

HREA applications can now be made at the HREA website.

Once you have completed your HREA and a Project Description, please include them as attachments with your initial eForm submission in RIMS.

The HREA website offers a range of information for researchers including guides and videos on getting started, how to create an account and how to navigate, copy or share an application.

For technical assistance on the HREA system please contact HREA Help on +61 (2) 6217 9902 or email Operating hours for HREA Help are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

If you continue to encounter problems please email the Human Research Ethics office.


The Variation application is used for requesting approval for proposed variations or amendments to research projects which have an existing human ethics approval.

You can complete a Variation application by logging into RIMS, opening an existing protocol and completing a Variation submission.

User guides and help material for RIMS can be accessed from the RIMS Support Pages.

RIMS Support

To access user guides and help material, please access the RIMS support site on the University website.