Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Application and Approval Process

Preparation

Prior to applying for ethics approval you will need to develop a well considered research proposal/protocol.  You may need to:

  • consult with co-researchers/supervisors
  • read the National Statement
  • seek peer review 
  • obtain necessary institutional approvals, including sign off from your Supervisor
  • develop participant resources such as participant information sheet, consent form, questionnaires, interview guides and recruitment flyers
  • procure any necessary external approvals such as, letters of support, working with children checks and certifications
  • determine a timeline for the commencement of your research after approval. Refer to the meeting schedule.

Application Process

CSU requires all applications for approval to be made via the Human Research Ethics Application (HREA) form. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)  site hosts the HREA and has general information on how to complete and submit.  

Note that you are required to create a package of documents within the HREA site, then email this package to the HREC.  The package will include:

  • a project proposal/protocol
  • associated materials as appropriate
  • the completed HREA

The following is additional CSU specific information.  

When completing your project protocol template:

  • use this CSU specific template rather than the one on the NHMRC website
  • provide your information as concisely as possible and limit the protocol document to no more than 5 pages

When completing your HREA form:

  • the HREA is a context specific form that will adjust the question it asks based on your responses to earlier questions
  • take care that you understand questions 1.17, 1.18, you may need to consult with the National Statement and/or your Supervisor
  • for question 1.19 select groups of people who you will be targeting AND groups of people who could coincidentally be expected to be in your recruiting population
  • select "No" at question 1.9.11 for all researchers named on the application. It is a CSU requirement that all researchers named on the application must provide their signature. Student applicants must have signatures from their supervisors. 

It would be helpful if all documents are converted to pdf before uploading into the package.

Submission

Complete all mandatory sections of the HREA form and upload all the materials you will need to generate a HREA document.  As per the HREA instructions, ensure you have saved a copy of the application for your records and possible future reloading. Submit via email to ethics@csu.edu.au.

Applications with Multiple Organisations

Sometimes more than one institution needs to review a research proposal, for example, when it:

  • will be conducted at more than one institution, either by the same or different researchers; 
  • will be conducted jointly by researchers affiliated with different institutions; 
  • will be conducted at one institution by a researcher affiliated with another institution, for example, a university-based researcher conducting research at a hospital; 
  • has been approved at one institution and transferred to another, for example, when a researcher changes institutions
  • will be conducted with NSW Health

These situations are detailed in Chapter 5.3 of the National Statement, as are the guidelines for how CSU approaches research projects with multiple organisations. 

The ethical review process at CSU seeks to eliminates unnecessary duplication, and the decision of another institution's ethical review body will often be accepted. The CSU HREC should be informed of the review via the Projects already approved by another HREC form.

While this is a brief form the application to CSU should also include; 

  1. The original application
  2. The approval letter from the approving HREC
  3. Any documentation which will require revision for use at CSU. For example, plain language Information Sheets and Consent Forms providing CSU contacts and procedures.
  4. If the Review Board is not registered in Australia details of the review board, for example a website, should be included where possible. 

These various attachments are required as the CSU HREC needs to be assured that the review was undertaken in line with the requirements of the National Statement.

Applications with Research Conducted in Other Countries

If you propose to conduct research in another country, you still follow the same application process, however additional ethical considerations may arise. You should consider the beliefs, customs, cultural heritage, legal or regulatory requirements of participants. Sometimes these will be in tension with one or more of the ethical values of the National Statement. Please refer to Chapter 4.8 in the National Statement for advice on negotiating appropriate practice.  These considerations should be detailed in your application.