Human Research Ethics Committee

Research involving human subjects must be approved by the Avondale Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), which functions to safeguard the ethical rights of subjects of human research. Prior to commencing data collection, ethical clearance must be gained by:
  • Avondale staff and students intending to conduct publishable research (this includes conference presentations and scholarly reports);
  • External parties conducting research where Avondale staff and students are participating as subjects; and
  • External parties conducting research with whom Avondale has a current Memorandum of Understanding.
Note: It is not necessary to submit an application to Avondale HREC if the research is undertaken for the fulfillment of a degree from another tertiary institution, and the research participants are not from Avondale (research approval would be granted by the ethics committee of that institution).

NHMRC guidelines

Avondale's HREC abides by the guidelines of the National Health & Medical Research Council's (NHMRC) National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research and the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

The National Statement guidelines state that the design, review and conduct of research must the values of research merit and integrity, justice, beneficence and respect.

The National Statement also offers the following definitions of research risk:
  • Negligible risk – research in which there is no foreseeable risk of harm or discomfort, and any foreseeable risk is no more than inconvenience.
  • Low risk – research in which the only foreseeable risk is one of discomfort.
  • More than low risk – research in which the risk for participants is more serious than discomfort.

The greater the risks to participants, the more certain the HREC must be that the risks will be managed as well as possible, and that the participants clearly understand the risks they are assuming.

The ethics approval process

Avondale Ethics Approval Process
HREC Reviewer Checklist


HREC Application Form
Applications should be submitted to [email protected] by the deadlines listed below.

HREC Amendment/Extension Request Form (online form)
This form must be submitted to obtain approval for changes to a current project.

HREC Ethical Review Exemption Form (online form)
This form should be submitted by researchers who wish to conduct research that is negligible risk and/or involves the use of existing collections of data or records that contain only non-identifiable data about human beings.

HREC Project Progress Report (online form)
A progress report must be submitted annually for each approved research project, with a final report submitted at the completion of the project.

Course Related Ethics Approval

This relates to courses containing a minor research project that may involve human participants (e.g. Master of Arts).

Course Convenor Application (online form)
This form should be completed by Avondale course convenors

Student Application (online form)
This form should be completed by Avondale postgraduate students at the direction of their research supervisor

External Ethics Approval

Avondale recognises the ethical review and approval process issued by Australian HRECs that are registered with the NHMRC.

HREC External Ethics Approval (online form)

Avondale HREC Terms of Reference

HREC Terms of Reference

2023 HREC meeting dates and application submission deadlines

Meeting datesSubmission deadlines
Thursday 9 FebruaryFriday 3 February
Thursday 6 AprilFriday 31 March
Thursday 15 JuneFriday 9 June
Thursday 17 AugustFriday 11 August
Thursday 12 OctoberFriday 6 October
Thursday 30 NovemberFriday 24 November