The Human Research Ethics Committee oversees the university’s responsibilities to protect all parties involved in human research including research participants, researchers and the Institution in accordance with the 'National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research'

Terms of reference

Applications, committee meetings and submission dates

What is an application for Human Research Ethics Approval?

Making an application

When is human research ethics review required?

All research activities involving human participants will require a human research ethics review and approval prior to their commencement.

Shared responsibilities
  • Researchers design the research project and complete all human research ethics application documents.
  • Chief Investigator / Research Supervisor signs the application document and takes responsibility for all aspects of the project.
  • ROAP will request endorsement from your Head of School (or equivalent) who will provide School support for submission of the ethics application.
  • Receipt of the ethics application is acknowledged; the Ethics and Compliance Office will conduct a preliminary quality check to ensure the application is ready for review.
  • the Ethics and Compliance Office assesses the risk of the application, coordinates the review and approval of the ethics application, which follows one of three ethics review and approval pathways.
How your ethics application will be reviewed

Based on the level of risk involved in human research, the human research ethics review system at UWA includes an exempt status and a 3-tier ethics review hierarchy:

  • Exempt – no risk - Activities that do not require formal ethics approval.
  • Level 1 – negligible risk - Ethics review by the Human Ethics office
  • Level 2 – low risk - Ethics review by a Regional Ethics Review Committee (RERC)
  • Level 3 – greater than low risk - Ethics review by Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC)

All applications for ethics approval must be endorsed by the Head of School (or recognised equivalent). The Ethics and Compliance Office assesses the ethical risk of the application based on guidance from the National Statement ethics and assigns the most appropriate ethics review.

Exempt, Level 1 and 2:

Many human research ethics applications do not need to be reviewed by the university's NHMRC-registered Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). These applications are reviewed via a low-risk pathway, following a process that does not usually require a physical meeting by reviewers. There is no deadline for review, applications are processed on a first in basis. Review timeframes vary depending on the complexity of the application, and the availability of reviewers.

Level 3

All applications that are assessed as greater than low risk are assigned to the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) for review. There are two HRECs, each meeting monthly. There is no deadline for applications to the HRECs. Agendas close two weeks prior to a meeting. Applications that have undergone a preliminary quality check are assigned to agendas on a first in basis, until the agenda is full. Applications missing inclusion on an agenda will be included in the agenda for the next HREC meeting (usually in 2 weeks).

Submission deadlines for ethics applications

The Human Ethics office endeavours to process all ethics applications as quickly as possible. Processing time is often longer for more complex applications. Processing time may also be increased where applications are incomplete or do not meet the required standard for ethics review. Therefore, all researchers have a key role to play in reducing processing time for ethics applications to a minimum.

From the time an ethics application is endorsed by the Head of School our aim is to process all applications through review according to the following schedule:

Risk level Processing time
Level 1 – negligible risk applications 1 week
Level 2 – low risk applications 2-3 weeks (depending on LRRP turnaround)
Level 3 – Greater than risk applications 4-6 weeks (depending on HREC turnaround)

Members of the UWA Human Research Ethics Committee

Name Position
Peter O'LearyProfessor - Chair of HREC
Neil McLeanLecturer, Psychology - Chair of HREC
Donella CasperszLecturer, UWA Business School
Karen LangLawyer
Lauren KolloscheLawyer
Matthew PayneMember
Susan YoungMember
Jade LindleyMember
Tracey DickensMember
Shane HughesLayperson Member
Simon CarrivickLayperson Member
Mandy DowningIndigenous
Elizabeth FeutrillLayperson member
Kerry OslingLayperson member
Justine BurgLayperson member
Rod MooreLayperson Member
Tonia NaylorPastoral Care
Graham MaburyPastoral Care

Committee meeting dates

The ethics review of ‘higher risk’ and/or more complex human research ethics proposals takes time. Therefore, applications need to be received 2 weeks prior to a scheduled HREC to be included in the agenda. After quality check, applications are submitted to the next available meeting for review.

Remember, that you should always submit your human research ethics application documents as soon as they are ready, because not all ethics applications need to be reviewed by the HREC, quality reviews can take time and there is a maximum number of applications that can be placed on an HREC agenda.

For application that will need to be reviewed by the HREC, the following is the meeting schedule for 2022.

The Human Ethics office recommends to submit applications using the online system (ROAP), using your pheme login.

Red Committee meeting date Yellow Committee meeting date
No Meeting JanuaryWed, 19 January 2022
Tue, 1 February 2022Wed, 16 February 2022
Tue, 1 March 2022Wed, 16 March 2022
Tue, 5 April 2022Wed, 20 April 2022
Tue, 3 May 2022 Wed, 18 May 2022
Tue, 7 June 2022Wed, 15 June 2022
Tue, 5 July 2022Wed, 20 July 2022
Tue, 2 August 2022Wed, 17 August 2022
Tue, 6 September 2022Wed, 14 September 2022
Tue, 4 October 2022Wed, 19 October 2022
Tue, 6 December 2022Wed, 16 November 2022
---No Meeting December