Research Ethics

All applications for research ethics approval must be reviewed and approved by the School's Human Ethics Advisory Group (HEAG) in the first instance. Depending on the nature of the research project and the type of application required for submission, some applications must also be considered by the University's Human Ethics Advisory Committee (HESC) before being granted final approval.

HEAG Membership

Contact the HEAG

Tel: +61 (03) 8344 6377
Email: ethics-psych@unimelb.edu.au

The Application Process

Minimal Risk and Project-within-Program applications (and subsequent amendments) are reviewed and approved in-house by the HEAG and then forwarded to the HESC for noting. These application types may be submitted at any time. Data collection may commence as soon as HEAG approval has been granted.

Non-minimal risk studies, namely Individual Project and Program applications (and subsequent amendments), must first be approved by the HEAG and then forwarded to the HESC for further consideration and approval at one of the scheduled monthly meetings. Data collection may only commence after HESC approval has been granted.

Researchers intending to submit an Individual Project or Program application should note the HEAG submission deadlines listed below to ensure the application reaches the HESC in time for the next available monthly meeting.
The HEAG will endeavour to achieve a two week turn around for the review and approval of all applications.

THEMIS

All applications must be submitted in Themis via the Human Ethics Workbench of the Research Self Service module. 'Psychological Sciences' should be selected as the responsible HEAG. Before accessing the Workbench for the first time, researchers must first create a Themis password via the Themis accounts screen.

University IT account management (link)

Themis login page (link)

One complete copy of the ethics application or amendment, including all documentation and the Themis application summary, must also be sent electronically as a single PDF file to ethics-psych@unimelb.edu.au for review.

Please do not send these documents to the email accounts of Piers Howe, Marianela Delgado-Henriquez or Marianne Lange as this may prevent them from being processed correctly. It is no longer necessary to cc Piers Howe on amendments.

HEAG submission deadlines

Most non-minimal risk applications will be need to also be reviewed by the Behavioural and Social Sciences HESC. The supervisor must therefore submit their ethics application sufficiently in advance of the submission deadline to ensure that the HEAG is afforded sufficient time to conduct its own review of the application.

2017 HEAG Submission Deadline

2017 HESC Submission Deadline

2017 HESC Meeting Date

9th February 23rd February 10th March
9th March 23rd March 7th April
13th April 27th April 12th May
11th May 25th May 9th June
6th July 20th July 4th August
3rd August 17th August 1st September
7th September 21st September 6th October
5th October 19th October 3rd November
2nd November 16th November 1st December

HESC Submission Deadlines (link)

The HEAG is not able to guarantee that applications submitted after these deadlines will be processed and reviewed in time to meet the monthly Behavioural and Social Sciences HESC committee schedule.

In the event that the review committee requests changes be made to a document, it is the responsibility of the supervisor to action these changes and submit the amended documents to the School in sufficient time for them to be processed before the submission deadline.

In the rare case that an application needs to be reviewed by a different HESC, it is the responsibility of the supervisor to inform the School of this requirement as part of the initial submission and submit it to us at least two weeks before that HESC's deadline.

Is your application really minimal risk?

The criteria for minimal risk applications have become more stringent. Before submitting a minimal risk application, please complete the Human Ethics Minimal Risk Checklist

Human Ethics Minimal Risk Checklist PDF, 148.77 KB

Current submission procedure

It is the supervisor's responsibility to ensure their students understand the ethics application procedure, including answering questions and providing any necessary training. It is also the responsibility of the supervisor to ensure that the application complies with the procedures outlined below. Applications that do not comply with these procedures will be returned without being assessed.

The School does not object to students writing applications or uploading them into Themis on behalf of the responsible researcher (i.e. the "supervisor"), but it must be the the supervisor who sends a copy of the ethics application PDF to the School. In addition, the School will only enter into correspondence about the status of an ethics application with the nominated supervisor. Should students have questions about their ethics application or the procedures below, they should contact their supervisor.

Ethics Submission Procedure PDF, 912.36 KB

Templates and commonly used forms

The most common errors in ethics applications are related to the content and format of the Plan Language Statement and the Consent Form. The School has therefore provided the following templates and requires all researches to adopt them unless there is a valid reason for using an alternative document template.

Plain Language Statement (PLS) DOCX, 45.12 KB

Consent Form  DOCX, 43.93 KB

Debriefing Statement DOCX, 43.7 KB

Research Experience Program (REP)

The School has implemented Sona Systems for the Research Experience Program. This means that participants can sign-up for projects on-line and researchers can organise their data collection session on-line as well.

Read more