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Ethics clearance

Research Ethics Requirements

ECU has a commitment to ensure the conduct of ethical research by staff and students. Ethics is important to ensure:

  • the humane care of animals used for scientific purposes, including teaching; and
  • protection of the welfare and the rights of human participants.

The following steps are required are seek ethical clearance for research, and where to submit applications.

In all instances researchers must not embark on their projects until written approval from the appropriate committee has been received.

Unit Licences

The Unit Licence is designed to manage data collection to fulfil the requirement of a unit. Unit Licences are available for undergraduate (and some postgraduate) coursework units where students are collecting data. Refer to Unit License FAQs for further information.

The unit licence is not ethics approval. It is a licence issued to a specified Unit Coordinator, who undertakes to ensure that the data collection is conducted in an ethical manner.

An application consists of the following:

  • Completed unit licence application form;
  • Unit plan (an if applicable, a course outline as handed out to students);
  • Completed ethical risk checklist;
  • Information letter;
  • Consent form (if applicable); and
  • Copy of data collection instruments.

Completed applications for Ethics Unit Licenses are sent to the Coordinator Research Support at The Coordinator Research Support will coordinate approval with the School Ethics Sub-Committee.

Staff Ethics Declarations

Staff ethics declarations are completed via STREAM. Declarations are only appropriate for research projects that do not involve the use of human participants, animals and/or previously collected confidential data.

Once the application has been submitted it will be managed by the Research Ethics team and approved by the Associate Dean (Research).

Ethics Applications

The University Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) is responsible for the review of ethics applications for projects involving the use of animals for scientific purposes (which includes teaching) from all staff an students.

The University Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) is responsible for the review of human research ethics applications from:

  • Master by Research students;
  • PhD students;
  • Doctorate students; and
  • Staff.

The School Ethics Sub-Committee has delegated authority to review low risk human research ethics applications for students studying at the following levels:

  • Honours;
  • Masters by Coursework;
  • Postgraduate Diploma; and
  • Undergraduate.

All research proposals considered by the School Ethics Sub-Committee must be low risk. If an application is considered to be greater than low risk, it must be referred on to the Human Research Ethics Committee. Some types of research (involving groups of participants or types of procedures) must be reviewed by the Human Research Ethics Committee.

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