Office of Research Ethics and Integrity

Process and timing

You should start thinking about ethics, and planning your submission, in the design phase of your research.

The process for ethical review at QUT differs depending on the purpose of the application, the level of risk involved, and whether the project has been previously reviewed by another human research ethics committee. If you haven't already done so, first determine what kind of application you need to make.

In all cases, please note that approval cannot be granted retrospectively. Data collection must not commence until after formal ethical approval has been obtained.

When to apply

Apply for ethics approval once you've confirmed your research design and methodology. Plan ahead to allow for any unforseen approval delays.

Peer review is critical to establish that a research activity has merit. Typically, the confirmation process is sufficient to establish research merit, but if a student needs to conduct research prior to confirmation (e.g. a pilot study), some other form of independent peer review is required (use the peer review template in the NLR application kit).

Negligible / Low Risk and Administrative Review applications

Negligible / Low Risk applications and Administrative Review applications can be submitted at any time and are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Negligible / Low Risk applications are reviewed by each Faculty, except in the case of Health. Health applications are reviewed by the Chair of the University Human Research Ethics Committee.

Committee applications

QUT's University Human Research Ethics Committee (UHREC) meets monthly to review committee applications. The meeting dates are given below. You should submit your application via the online cover sheet at least 30 working days prior to the Committee meeting date to maximise your chance of having your application reviewed at your preferred meeting. The period of 30 days assumes the following timeframes within your faculty to review and accept your application:

  • Supervisor: 5 working days
  • Research Ethics Advisor: 10 working days
  • Head of School: 5 working days

Moreover, the timeframe of 30 days assumes that any changes that you may need to make in response to faculty feedback are completed within a single day. In other words, the 30-day timeframe does not include time for any major changes.

It is your responsibility as a researcher to track the progress of your application after submission of your application documents through the online coversheet. In order to make a Committee date your application must be recieved by OREI no later than 10 working days prior to the UHREC date, as shown in the table below.

Plan ahead, and allow adequate time in your research project plan. Note that timeframes can vary - depending on the quality and complexity of applications, and other factors. Please contact the Research Ethics Advisory Team if you have any questions related to the timing of submissions.

Suggested submission date
(30 working days prior to the UHREC meeting date)
OREI must receive by UHREC meeting Date
22 Jan 2018 5 Feb 2018 20 Feb 2018
19 Feb 2018 5 Mar 2018 20 Mar 2018
19 Mar 2018 2 April 2018 (Easter Mon) 17 April 2018
16 Apr 2018 30 April 2018 15 May 2018
21 May 2018 4 June 2018 19 June 2018
18 June 2018 2 July 2018 17 July 2018
16 July 2018 30 July 2018 21 Aug 2018
20 Aug 2018 3 Sep 2018 18 Sep 2018
17 Sep 2018 1 Oct 2108 (Labour Day) 16 Oct 2018
22 Oct 2018 5 Nov 2018 20 Nov 2018
12 Nov 2018 26 Nov 2018 11 Dec 2018 (2nd Tues*)

Please note: The UHREC is able to consider a maximum of 10 applications at each meeting.

How long does it take to get approval?

To reduce approval times, plan ahead and ensure that your application is of high quality. As a guide:

  • Committee applications: you should receive the Committee's responses within 1 week of the UHREC meeting that reviews your application. This could be an approval or a request for further information. As shown in the list of dates above, note that you must submit your application at least a month in advance of the meeting date.
  • Negligible/Low Risk applications: you should receive feedback within 3 to 4 weeks of submitting via the online coversheet.
  • Administrative review: you should receive feedback within 1 to 2 weeks of submitting via the online coversheet.
  • Exemptions: you will receive immediate notification after you have submitted your application via the online coversheet.
  • Academic unit clearance: you should receive feedback within 3 to 4 weeks of submitting via the online coversheet.