Researchers are required to comply with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. All necessary ethics and/or biosafety clearance(s) need to be finalised prior to the commencement of the project. It is essential that researchers do not commence work until the appropriate approvals are in place.
Types of Ethics/Clearances
Research projects involving human subjects, materials, samples or data require ethics approval.
If a research project is being undertaken at more than one site, or by more than one institution, and that project already has approval from another Australian Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), then it is possible to request 'expedited review' from the UTAS HREC on the basis of that approval from another institution. The UTAS ORS Research Integrity and Ethics Office can assist researchers with this process.
When ethics approval for a multi-site project is granted by the UTAS HREC, this approval covers work to be undertaken at all of the sites listed on the UTAS ethics application. Separate local approval may or may not be required at the other sites, in accordance with local policy at those sites. When local approval is required, ethical clearance is not complete for the project until all UTAS and local approvals are in place.
Where UTAS is not the lead institution and the project requires human ethics approval, such approval should first be obtained from the lead institution and then submitted to the UTAS HREC for 'expedited review' on the basis of that other approval. This is required even if the work or component to be undertaken at UTAS does not involve human subjects, materials, samples or data.
The ORS Research Integrity and Ethics Unit provides administrative support to, and assists in, co-ordinating the activities of the University's Animal Ethics Committee. Its key operational areas are documentation and record keeping, professional advice and monitoring, and compliance and education.
When UTAS is the lead institution for a project requiring animal ethics approval, approval must be sought in the first instance from UTAS. If a project is being undertaken at a site other than UTAS, approval by UTAS or ratification of an existing approval from that other site must be sought from the UTAS Animal Ethics Committee depending on the circumstances. Please contact the ORS Research Integrity and Ethics Unit if you are unsure as to the animal ethics requirements for a particular project.
Ethics for ARC and NHMRC projects
If an ARC or NHMRC project requires ethical or other clearances, these must be provided to UTAS ORS before the project can commence. An additional requirement applies to NHMRC grants as UTAS ORS must then notify the NHMRC of all clearances.
If it is the case that ethical and/or biosafety clearance(s) are required, but not in order to start the work of your ARC or NHMRC project, UTAS ORS will require a written statement to this effect, including the date by which the necessary clearances are expected to be in place during the project term. With respect to NHMRC funding, a strong justification must be made via a formal waiver process as all requests for ethics deferral are now reviewed by an appropriate medical or scientific expert in the NHMRC. Please contact the ORS Research Integrity and Ethics Unit for assistance with this process.
It is the responsibility of Chief Investigators to obtain appropriate biosafety approvals from the UTAS Institutional Biosafety Committee prior to commencement of the work, and to ensure that project staff and students are qualified, trained and appropriately supervised. Some material may be approved by OGTR but may also require permission through Biosecurity Tasmania. For further information please go to biosafety.