Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) do ethical reviews. When you apply for ethics approval, a HREC will assess your project using the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines.

You need to show that:

  • your research has scientific merit
  • the benefits outweigh any associated risks
  • you have qualified people working on your project
  • you'll treat participants with respect, especially vulnerable groups
  • you've considered the ethical issues in the methods you'll use.

Low risk projects, such as quality assurance activities, may not need a full ethics review.

We recommend you discuss your project with our research team before you apply. They can talk you through the application requirements and answer any questions you may have.

Contact us on 07 4184 1834 or email WBHHS-ResearchServices@health.qld.gov.au.

How to apply

Step 1. Get in touch with a HREC

We don't have our own HREC, but you can use a HREC at another Queensland hospital and health service.

There may be costs involved. You'll need to check with your HREC.

We can also help you pick the right HREC for your project. Call us on 07 4184 1834 or email WBHHS-ResearchServices@health.qld.gov.au

Step 2. Prepare your project protocol and supporting documents

We must review and sign your project protocol before you apply to your HREC.

Your project protocol must include:

  • the project background
  • project design and methods
  • goals and expected results
  • how you will use and manage data
  • your funding budget.

If you're doing a clinical trial, include information about the drugs or devices.

You may also need to give supporting documents, including:

  • research study checklist
  • the Human Research Ethics Application (HREA) form generated in ERM
  • CVs for your project team
  • a cover letter to your HREC
  • Participant Information and Consent Forms (PICFs)
  • advertisements and brochures
  • research agreements
  • indemnity and insurance forms.

Check with your HREC what documents you need.

Step 3. Submit your application

Apply through the Ethics Review Manager (ERM).

Learn more about how to use the ERM on the Queensland Health website.

After the HREC has reviewed your application, you'll get an email to let you know the outcome.

Multi-site research

Multi-site research involves multiple facilities. It may be across a single Queensland Health facility and one or more external sites. For example, private practices, universities or another state or territory's health services.

You can find a list of institutions with certified ethics review processes on the National Health and Medical Research Council website.

After you apply

After you've submitted your application for ethics approval, you can start on your research governance application.

Last updated: April 2024