ACU Research

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Research Ethics

Research is an important aspect of university activity worldwide. Advances in our understanding of the world, made possible by the endeavours of researchers, help to improve the lives of people both here in Australia and elsewhere. Research in universities is publically funded and researchers are accountable for the work they do, whether as staff or students. As public institutions, universities hold a special place in society and researchers are in a privileged position. We merit that trust through our commitment to ethical research conducted with integrity and respect for the rights and interests of participants and through adherence to the values outlined in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research.

These values are:

  • Research Merit and Integrity
  • Justice
  • Beneficence
  • Respect.

Ethical clearance must be obtained and notification of approval received prior to commencing any research project.

24/3/2017

21/06/2017 – Important message from the NHMRC regarding the National Ethics Application Form (NEAF):

The National Ethics Application Form (NEAF) has recently been replaced by the Human Research Ethics Application (HREA).  Information about HREA is available from the HREA website.

Users can access their NEAF accounts to copy or export any proposal data they wish to keep up until Friday 30 June 2017.  The NEAF website will be decommissioned on Friday 30 June 2017 and users will no longer have any access to NEAF.  NEAF proposal data will not be retained.

 



  • When is human research ethics approval required?

    You will need to obtain ethics approval from the ACU HREC where the research involves interactions with humans or their data. This applies to

    • funded and unfunded research;
    • research activities undertaken as a major requirement towards your degree.

     

    You should not commence your research until you have obtained ethics clearance from the ACU HREC. If you have approval from another (external) ethics committee, then you will need to have that approval ratified by the ACU HREC.

    Why do I need human research ethics approval?
    Ethics approval is an important part of research integrity, both individually and institutionally. The process of ethics review helps to balance the interests of research participants, researchers and the University.

    You will need to demonstrate that you have the necessary ethics approval in order to:

    • access your funding;
    • publish your results;
    • submit your thesis;
    • undertake a research project as a major part of your course requirements.

     

    When is human research ethics approval not required?
    You do not need to apply for ethics approval if:

    • You are conducting quality assurance (QA) activities, such as a satisfaction survey, and you do not intend to publish the results;
    • You are using research methods such as surveys or interviews on classmates as part of your class activity or assessment. Refer to Taught Unit Guidelines and some Frequently Asked Questions which include a short video.

     

    Note that the HREC cannot grant retrospective approval.

  • HREC Meeting dates

    The ACU HREC normally meets 11 times a year on the second Thursday of each month from February to December.

    HREC Meeting Dates and Submission Deadlines 2018 (PDF 242KB)

    HREC Meeting Dates and Submission Deadlines 2017 (PDF 117KB)

  • About the HREC
    • Our Vision

    To be recognised for engaging with applicants in a collaborative and respectful way, while ensuring that research activities at ACU are aligned with the principles and values of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research and the Mission of the University.

    • HREC Terms of Reference

    This document defines the ACU HREC role, responsibility and membership. HREC Terms of reference (TOR) (PDF, 500KB).

  • Codes on ethical research
  • Indigenous Research Ethics Advisory Panel (IREAP)

    Research involving and engaging with First Nation Australians will be referred to the Indigenous Research Ethics Advisory Panel (IREAP) for additional review and advice.

    Before submitting your application you must have read the IREAP guidelines and attached the supporting information using the IREAP Appendix B template (below).

    To allow sufficient time for IREAP review, your application will be due 4 weeks before the HREC meeting date – refer to the HREC Meeting dates section on this page.

    IREAP Membership

    • Convenor: Associate Professor Nerida Blair
    • Executive Support: Susanna Gorman (ACU Research Ethics Manager)
    • External members:
      • Jason de Santolo
      • Professor Wendy Brabham

     

    About the IREAP artwork

    IREAP commissioned Cassandra Gibbs and Danielle Dent to create an artwork expressing the work and aims of the ACU IREAP. Background on the artwork can be found in the following attachment: IREAP ARTWORK – Certification

  • Complaints and Adverse Events

    Complaints relating to the conduct of research 

    Complaints relating to the conduct of research by ACU students or staff will initially be investigated by the HREC Chair and the Research Ethics Manager, in line with University policies relating to responsible conduct of research.
    In the event of such a complaint being received, the researcher shall immediately be informed and a sub-committee established to investigate the complaint. If appropriate, the sub-committee will recommend that the relevant protocol(s) be suspended until the complaint has been resolved.

    Complaints relating to the decisions of the HREC

    Complaints about any decisions of the HREC that cannot be resolved by the Chair and Research Ethics Manager will be referred to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) for further consideration. However, every attempt should be made to resolve such complaints and to address concerns before making such a referral.

    What to do if you have a complaint or concern relating to research conducted by ACU staff or students

    If you have any complaints or concerns relating to research conducted by a researcher from ACU, you should if possible resolve your concerns directly with the researcher in the first instance.  If for any reason you do not feel comfortable in talking with the researcher, or if you are not satisfied with their response, please contact the Research Ethics Manager immediately.  The Research Ethics Manager can be contacted either by email (ResEthics.Manager@acu.edu.au) or by telephone (02 9739 2519).

    Accidents, Incidents or Adverse Events

    It is a requirement of ethics approval that researchers inform the Ethics Committee of any accidents, incidents or adverse events that arise during the course of research as soon as possible.

    Such an incident might include an injury or accident resulting from the research, either to a person (who could be a participant, a member of the research team or a member of the public), a complaint, or involve some other harm such as inadvertent release of personal data.

    Please refer to the Guidelines for Incidents/accidents (Docx 66KB) for more information.

  • Forms and templates

    Ethics applications are made through the online Orion system.

    There are three different online application forms:

    1. New ACU Project
    2. Non-Identifiable Data
    3. Registration of External Approval

    All forms can be accessed from the Ethics menu in Orion and selecting, Applications.

    Normally applicants should choose Create New Application then select the New ACU Project form unless:

    • Your research is limited to the use of previously collected Non-Identifiable data. 
Login to Orion and follow the path: Ethics/Applications/Create New Application/Non-Identifiable data.
    • Your research has already been approved by an accredited HREC and you wish to either transfer the protocol to ACU jurisdiction or register the external approval with ACU. 
Login to Orion and follow the path: Ethics/Applications/Create New Application/Registration of external approval.

     


    Templates

    Information Letter Template (MS WORD 41KB)
    Consent Form Template (DOC 32KB)


    For subsequent reports, amendments and extensions please download the appropriate form from the links below and email the complete form (including attachments) to Res.Ethics@acu.edu.au

    Progress/Final Report/Request for Extension

    The National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research requires researchers to provide regular reports to the HREC.

    You will be sent reminders at regular intervals to complete and return the required report(s) using the template below:

    Progress / Final Report / Request for Extension for Research Project Template (MS WORD 55KB)

    Progress / Final Report / Request for Extension for Research Project Template (PDF 239KB) – Recommended for MAC users

     

     


    Changes to Protocol

    You should not alter your protocol without prior approval from the HREC.

    If you wish to alter your protocol please download and complete the following template:

    Modification Form for Research Project (MS WORD 33KB)

    Modification Form for Research Project (PDF 258KB) – Recommended for Mac users


    Note: Forms emailed by the Principal Investigator/Supervisor do not require a signature.

     

  • Policies and guidelines
  • Help on Ethics online (Orion)

    If you require help or advice in how to interpret the application form questions or guidelines, please contact Res.Ethics@acu.edu.au or phone (02) 9739 2646 (extension 2646).

    If you require further assistance regarding managing your data please contact eresearch@acu.edu.au.

    ACU Research Data Management Toolkit– for assistance in completing the Data Management component of your application.

    If your query relates to technical issues with the online form or Orion, please contact Res.Systems@acu.edu.au or phone (03) 9953 3674 (extension 3674).

    Other help and resources: