The following information is applicable to both research students and academic staff.
In line with government directives on social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, research activity that involves researchers being physically present for data collection with human participants (such as face-to-face field work, experimental and cohort studies, clinical trials etc) cannot currently commence and will need to be deferred and rescheduled. In exceptional circumstances, where such activities are part of priority research, including that directly related to the University’s COVID-19 response, approval to commence may be given by the relevant Dean and endorsed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research.
Desk-based elements of your research project can commence now, as can data collection that can be conducted online or via telephone, subject to necessary approvals or amendments to ethics applications.
Researchers will be advised by the University when other elements of planned and approved data collection can commence. Please consult the COVID-19 website for research guidance, FAQ and updates. https://staff.unimelb.edu.au/covid-19-response/research-activity
Overview of human research ethics
All research undertaken at the University of Melbourne is governed by:
- The University of Melbourne Research Integrity and Misconduct Policy (MPF1318)
- The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018; and
- The National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) – Updated 2018
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:
- 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).
2020 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.
2020 HESC submission and meeting dates
Initial submission date to Arts HEAG
|HESC submission date||HESC meeting date|
|1/2020||3 January||22 January||6 February|
|2/2020||22 January||19 February||5 March|
|3/2020||19 February||18 March||2 April|
|4/2020||25 March||22 April||7 May|
|5/2020||22 April||20 May||4 June|
|6/2020||20 May||17 June||2 July|
|7/2020||24 June||22 July||6 August|
|8/2020||22 July||19 August||3 September|
|9/2020||19 August||16 September||1 October|
|10/2020||23 September||21 October||5 November|
|11/2020||21 October||18 November||3 December|
Faculty of Arts HEAG Members (Semester 2, 2020)
|Dr Guy Morrow, HEAG Chair||School of Culture and Communication|
|Dr Megan McIntosh, Deputy Chair||Arts Teaching Innovation|
|Dr Anthony Spires||Asia Institute|
|Dr Jon Glade||Asia Institute|
|Dr Jennifer Beckett||School of Culture and Communication|
|Dr Kirsten Stevens||School of Culture and Communication|
|Dr Matthew Martin||School of Culture and Communication|
|Dr Sonja Molnar||School of Culture and Communication|
|Assoc. Professor Richard Pennell||School of Historical and Philosophical Studies|
|Dr James Bradley||School of Historical and Philosophical Studies|
|Dr Jonathan Kemp||School of Historical and Philosophical Studies|
|Assoc. Professor Heather Benbow||School of Languages and Linguistics|
|Dr Debbie Loakes||School of Languages and Linguistics|
|Dr Jason Fan||School of Languages and Linguistics|
|Dr Jonathon Lum||School of Languages and Linguistics|
|Dr Kellie Frost||School of Languages and Linguistics|
|Dr Malcolm Angelucci||School of Languages and Linguistics|
|Assoc. Professor Bina Fernandez||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Assoc. Professor Irma Mooi-Reci||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Assoc. Professor Jennifer Balint||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Assoc. Monica Minnegal||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Assoc. Sana Nakata||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Dr Clayton Chin||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Dr Geoffrey Mead||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Dr Lesley Pruitt||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Dr Michael Breen||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Dr Rebekah Plueckhahn||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Professor Alison Young||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Professor Belinda Hewitt||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Professor Jenny Lewis||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Professor Karen Farquharson||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Professor Keith McVilly||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Professor Lyn Craig||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Professor Sally Young||School of Social and Political Sciences|
|Laura Liao||Arts Research Team|
|Jacqui Randall||Arts 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.
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.
Students should first consult with their supervisor. Please send any further queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.