Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) do ethical reviews. Once you apply for ethics approval, a HREC will assess your project against the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines (NHMRC).
You'll need to be able to show that:
- your research has scientific merit
- any benefits outweigh any associated risks
- the people who’ll work on your project are properly qualified
- you’ll treat the participants with respect, especially vulnerable groups
- you’ve considered the ethical issues associated with the methodology you'll use.
Low risk projects, such as clinical audits or quality assurance activities, may not need a full ethics review.
There may also be costs involved. You'll need to check with the HREC.
Applying for ethics approval
There are 4 steps you need to follow when you apply for ethics approval.
Step 1 – get in touch with a HREC
We don't have our own HREC at Central West Hospital and Health Service. However, you can get in touch with a HREC at another Queensland hospital and health service.
If your study is only in Central West Hospital and Health Service, get in touch with a HREC at another Queensland hospital and health service.
For some projects it's better to work with a targeted HREC. For example, research involving children must be reviewed by an HREC that's registered or certified to review children’s research.
Multi-centre research is any project that involves multiple facilities. It may be across a single Queensland Health facility and one or more external sites. For example, private practices, universities or another state or territory's health services.
You can find a list of institutions with certified ethics review processes on the National Health and Medical Research Council website.
Step 2 – prepare your supporting documents
Please contacted your selected HREC. The documents you need may differ depending on the committee.
Step 3 – if your research will involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
If your research involves Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, you’ll need to consult with the relevant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander bodies and communities.
You’ll also need to provide letters of support and evidence of community consultation with your application.
Read more about Ethical guidelines for research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the National Health and Medical Research Council website.
Step 4 – apply for ethics approval
To apply for ethics approval, you must use the Ethical Review Manager (ERM). It’s an online platform that lets you manage the forms and documents for your project. The HREC you work with will be able to tell you what documents they need from you.
When completing your application through the ERM, there are questions that will help identify if your project is multi-centre research. If it is, it'll be submitted to a HREC that's certified to do multi-centre ethical reviews.
Learn more about how to use the ERM.
After you submit
After you've submitted your application for ethics approval, you can start on your research governance application.
You can submit both applications at the same time - you don't have to wait for ethics approval before applying for research governance authorisation.