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).

2018 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.

2018 HESC submission and meeting dates

Meeting/Round
Initial submission date
to Arts HEAG
HESC submission date HESC meeting date
1/2018   2 January 17 January
2/2018   17 January 1 February
3/2018 17 January 14 February 1 March
4/2018 21 February 21 March 5 April
5/2018 21 march 18 April 3 May
6/2018 25 April 23 May 7 June
7/2018 23 May 20 June 5 July
8/2018 20 June 18 July 2 August
9/2018 25 July 22 August 6 September
10/2018 22 August 19 September 4 October
11/2018 19 September 17 October 1 November
12/2018 24 October 21 November 6 December

2018 Faculty of Arts HEAG members (semester 2)

PeopleSchool/Team
Assoc. Professor Adrian Hearn, HEAG Chair School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Joshua McNamara, Deputy Chair School of Culture and Communication
Dr Fengshi Wu Asia Institute
Dr Jay Song Asia Institute
Dr Muhammad Kamal Asia Institute
Assoc. Professor Robert Hassan School of Culture and Communication
Dr Beth Driscoll School of Culture and Communication
Dr Guy Morrow School of Culture and Communication
Dr Wonsun Shin School of Culture and Communication
Professor Ken Gelder 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 Katherine Ellinghaus School of Historical and Philosophical Studies
Professor Cordelia Fine School of Historical and Philosophical Studies
Dr Bertrand Bourgeois School of Languages and Linguistics
Dr ChloƩ Diskin School of Languages and Linguistics
Dr Janne Morton School of Languages and Linguistics
Dr John Mansfield School of Languages and Linguistics
Dr Malcolm Angelucci School of Languages and Linguistics
Assoc. Professor Belinda Hewitt School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Azad Singh Bali School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Carla Winston School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Fabio Mattioli School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Julia Hurst School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Liz Dean School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Michael Breen School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Michelle Carmody 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 Roberto Foa School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Tim Gravelle 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.

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).