Human research ethics

The following information is applicable to both research students and academic staff.

Overview of human research ethics

All research undertaken at The University of Melbourne is governed by:

They stipulate the obligations on all researchers to be aware of the ethical framework governing research at the University and to be compliant with regulatory requirements.

Will I need ethics clearance for my project?

Does your research involve gathering information on human subjects (and/or organisations) by:

  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires (in person or online)
  • Observation of human behaviour
  • Audio/video taping
  • Using archival data in which individuals are identifiable
  • Study or research in illegal activities

If you answered "Yes" to any of the above, you will be required to apply for ethics clearance prior to commencing your research or data collection.

What do I need to do before I lodge an ethics application?

Before you lodge an ethics application, please familiarise yourself with the Research Integrity and Misconduct Policy (MPF1318) and the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) - Updated 2018.

Student researchers should ensure that they have completed the necessary Research Integrity Online Training (RIOT) prior to lodging an application.

Please note: It is important that all students discuss and review their ethics application carefully with their supervisors PRIOR to submitting it to HEAG.

How do I set up a Themis account?

All applications must be submitted via the Human Ethics Workbench in the Research Self Service section of Themis. You will need to set up your account and you can do this using the University's Account Management. Please allow 24 hours for the account to be activated. Once activated, you can log in and start submitting your ethics application.

How do I lodge the application in Themis?

Research has this helpful Apply for ethics approval step-by-step guide. Please ensure that the Responsible Researcher has signed the declaration section of the application form prior to uploading it to Themis.

No paper copy of the application is required.

All applications will be reviewed by the Faculty of Arts Human Ethics Advisory Group (HEAG).

2019 Faculty of Arts Human Ethics Advisory Group (HEAG) submission and meeting dates

Please note: All applications, both Minimal Risk and Standard Project, must initially be submitted to HEAG.

Minimal Risk Projects require approval by HEAG only. For Minimal Risk applications, the assessment is on a rolling-on basis. The average turnaround time between initial submission and receiving HEAG feedback is two to three weeks.

Standard Projects will require approval by the Humanities and Applied Sciences Human Ethics Sub-Committee (HESC). This means that applications need to be submitted to HEAG initially, revised to incorporate HEAG feedback, and then resubmitted for referral to HESC by the HESC submission date (see table below). The average turnaround time between initial submission and approval for Standard Projects is two months. Please ensure that your application is submitted on time so it reaches HESC by the deadline.

2019 HESC submission and meeting dates

Meeting/Round
Initial submission date to Arts HEAG
HESC submission date HESC meeting date
1/2019   23 January 7 February
2/2019 23 January 20 February 7 March
3/2019 20 February 20 March 4 April
4/2019 20 March 17 April 2 May
5/2019 24 April 22 May 6 June
6/2019 22 May 19 June 4 July
7/2019 19 June 17 July 1 August
8/2019 24 July 21 August 5 September
9/2019 21 August 18 September 3 October
10/2019 25 September 23 October 7 November
11/2019 23 October 20 November 5 December

Faculty of Arts HEAG Members (Semester 2, 2019)

PeopleSchool/Team
Professor Adrian Hearn, HEAG Chair School of Languages and Linguistics
Dr Guy Morrow, Deputy Chair School of Culture and Communication
Dr Anthony Spires Asia Institute
Dr Jon Glade Asia Institute
Dr Muhammad Kamal Asia Institute
Dr Caitlin Vincent School of Culture and Communication
Dr Jennifer Beckett School of Culture and Communication
Dr Kirsten Stevens School of Culture and Communication
Dr Matthew MartinSchool of Culture and Communication
Dr Wonsun Shin School of Culture and Communication
Assoc. Professor Richard Pennell School of Historical and Philosophical Studies
Dr Andrew Inkpin School of Historical and Philosophical Studies
Dr James Bradley School of Historical and Philosophical Studies
Dr Jonathan KempSchool of Historical and Philosophical Studies
Dr Matthew Galway School of Historical and Philosophical Studies
Assoc. Professor Andrea Rizzi School of Languages and Linguistics
Dr Claudia Sandberg School of Languages and Linguistics
Dr Jonathon Lum School of Languages and Linguistics
Dr Kellie Frost School of Languages and Linguistics
Dr Leo Kretzenbacher School of Languages and Linguistics  
Assoc. Professor John FitzgeraldSchool of Social and Political Sciences
Assoc. Professor Juliet RogersSchool of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Aaron Martin School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Daniel McCarthy School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Elise Klein School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Julia Hurst School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Nadeem Malik School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Nikki Moodie School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Rennie Lee School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Roberto Foa School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Scott Brenton School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Terry MacDonald School of Social and Political Sciences
Professor Fiona Haines School of Social and Political Sciences
Professor Philomena MurraySchool of Social and Political Sciences
Professor Robyn Eckersley School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Megan McIntoshArts Teaching Innovation
Laura Liao Arts Research Team
Jacqui RandallArts Research Team
Nathan BondArts Research Team

After ethics approval

Research provides details of processes that follow approval on their Managing approved projects web page.

Variation to projects

If subsequent variations or modifications to the project are required once approval has been granted, a Request for Amendment form must be submitted for approval. If the HEAG considers that the proposed changes are significant, researchers may be required to submit a new application for approval of the revised project.

For more information please see the Research Amendments web page.

Annual reports

The Human Research Ethics committee requires all researchers to submit an annual report on each of their projects in February of the following year, or at the conclusion of the project if it continues for less than a year (see the Office for Research Ethics and Integrity Annual Reports web page). Failure to submit an annual report at the end of each year will mean approval for the project will lapse and a new application will need to be submitted.

Contact

Students should first consult with their supervisor. Please send any further queries to arts-heag@unimelb.edu.au or visit the Ethics Support/HEAG Administrator, Ground Floor, Room 167, Old Arts (Building 149).