Research and trials in Australia must be conducted under strict guidelines and performed in an open and transparent manner.
We conduct research under the approval of accredited Ethics Committees and according to guidelines devised by the Australian Government and the National Health & Medical Research Council.
Why is ethics approval necessary?
Ethics approval helps:
- protect the welfare, rights, dignity and safety of research participants
- protect researchers’ rights to conduct legitimate investigation
- allows a “second pair of eyes” to look at the research to help researchers achieve their goals, and to discuss whether the proposed study fits within the realms of what the Australian community believes is reasonable
What studies need human ethics approval?
All research involving human participants need approval before they start.
Research involving humans may include:
- administering questionnaires/surveys
- conducting interviews or focus groups
- investigating or observing human behaviour
- use of data or human tissue
- routine testing of human participants
- administering drugs, ionising radiation, chemical agents or vaccines
- any other experimentation involving human beings
Who are the people who give research “approval”?
Human Research Ethics Committees (HREC’s) exist wherever research is undertaken (such as Universities and Hospitals), and others are set up separate from these institutions to review and support the efforts of investigators who work outside the University or Hospital environment. These committees are staffed in a way to best represent the Australian community and research community. Members will include hospital and university teachers, experienced researchers, community advocates, and often members of the clergy. Some members look at the proposed studies to see if they are likely to “work”, others look at the study to ensure that they meet the standards of the national guidelines and others look at how the study maintains the values of the community.