Human Research Ethics

Human research is conducted with or about people, or their data or tissue and involves human beings in:

  • taking part in surveys, interviews or focus groups;
  • undergoing psychological, physiological or medical testing or treatment;
  • being observed by researchers;
  • researchers having access to their personal documents or other materials;
  • the collection and use of their body organs, tissues or fluids (eg skin, blood, urine, saliva, hair, bones, tumour and other biopsy specimens) or their exhaled breath;
  • access to their information (in individually identifiable, re-identifiable or non-identifiable form) as part of an existing published or unpublished source or database.

Southern Cross University staff and students conducting human research must hold a current approval number.

Human Ethics Approval Processes

Southern Cross University has established two main processes of ethical review and the pathway depends on the level of risk your research carries to your participants.

 These are:

  1. Expedited Application or Minimisation Duplication of Ethical Review Processes: Expedited reviews apply to either low risk research or research that has been approved via an external Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) Review process at another Institution. 
  2. The HREC Review Process at a Full HREC meeting is required for Moderate to High Risk Research. Currently, applications are created via the NHMRC’s HREA Form Portal and then submitted via SCU's online research management system ('IRMA') for review at the next available Southern Cross University HREC meeting.

Researchers should be guided by the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 (updated 2018) specifically with the first two sections, to determine the level of risk involved in their research.