Human research ethics
Research with external ethics approval
Recognising an external approval
The National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research recommends that institutions adopt processes to eliminate the unnecessary duplication of ethical review.
Under the University’s Collaborative Research and Ethics Approval Guideline, an approval issued by an external human research ethics committee may be recognised by the University of Newcastle, thus removing the need to secure approval from the University as well. However, that HREC must be registered with the National Health & Medical Research Council.
Refer to the University’s Guideline to determine if an external approval meets the necessary criteria to be accepted by the University of Newcastle.
Research that may require external approval
In some cases, an external human research ethics committee (HREC) may need to provide ethical review, approval and oversight of research projects. Some examples include:
- Research that involves access to NSW Health patients, clients, staff, or records: seek approval from the relevant NSW Health HREC
- Research that focuses on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in NSW: seek approval from the NSW Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council Ethics Committee
- Research that involves Australian Defence Force personnel or veterans: seek approval from the Departments of Defence and Veteran’s Affairs HREC
A list of all registered HRECs in Australia is available on the National Health and Medical Research Council website
Registering an external approval in RIMS
Copies of all external ethics approvals must be registered with the University of Newcastle via the Research Information Management Systems (RIMS) prior to the commencement of the approved research activity. Refer to the RIMS User Guide for External Registrations to learn how to lodge an external approval. Please ensure you include all the required documentation:
- copy of the external human ethics application
- copy of the approval letter from the external Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC)
- copy of any documents listed on the external approval letter (e.g., information and consent forms, surveys, assessments)
- copy of any correspondence with the external HREC leading to the approval (e.g., response to change requests or clarification).
You will also need to register any variations or renewals that are subsequently approved by the external HREC.
Arrangements with Hunter New England and Central Coast Local Health Districts
The University of Newcastle has an agreement with the Hunter New England Local Health District (HNE Health) which notes that HREC approval from one institution may be accepted by the other, rather than requiring a second application process.
In some cases, it may still be necessary to obtain approval from both the University and the Local Health District, for example, where the research involves both staff, clients, patients, or records of the LHD or staff, students or records at the University.
The Central Coast Local Health District has a standing agreement with HNE Health that ‘more than low risk’ applications will be reviewed by the Hunter New England Health HREC. For ‘low risk’ and ‘negligible risk’ applications, the Central Coast LHD uses local review processes.
The table below describes which HREC is responsible for approving a project, depending on the research location and participants.
|Researchers are from||Research participants include||Research location||Approving HREC||Register approval with|
|University of Newcastle||Patients, staff, clients, records, or human tissues supplied by the Hunter New England LHD||Hunter New England Local Health District||Hunter New England Health HREC||University Human Research Ethics Committee prior to commencement of approved activity|
|University of Newcastle||N/A – Using Hunter New England Local Health District facilities or equipment only||Hunter New England Local Health District||University Human Research Ethics Committee||Hunter New England Health HREC prior to commencement of approved activity|
|Hunter New England Local Health District||Students, staff or records of the University of Newcastle||University of Newcastle||University Human Research Ethics Committee||Hunter New England Health HREC prior to commencement.|
When registering a human research ethics approval from the University to the Hunter New England Heath HREC, submit the following documentation to the HNE Health Manager of Research Ethics and Governance prior to commencement of an approved activity:
- copy of the University HREC approval letter
- copy of the full application submitted to the University of Newcastle HREC
- copy of any correspondence with the University of Newcastle HREC leading to the approval (e.g., response to change requests or clarifications)
The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.