Office of Research Ethics and Integrity

Do I need approval?

Ethics approval is required for human research. If your project involves human research, you must apply for ethics approval, and must not begin your research activity until you have received approval.

What needs approval?

Human research is conducted with or about people, their data, and/or their tissue. The term ‘participants’ is used very broadly to include those who may not even know they are the subjects of research. If you are conducting human research you will require ethics approval, unless your project is subject to the exceptions listed in the following section. This diagram provides some examples of activities that count as human research.

Focus groups

Access to:
Personal information
Data sets
Social media

Collection and use of:
Bodily organs
Cell lines
Exhaled breath

What doesn't need approval?

The following activities do not require human research ethics approval:

If you are unsure about any of these, please contact the Office of Research Ethics and Integrity for advice.

Guidance about human research ethics

If you are unsure about your obligations, or about any of the requirements, concepts, or terms, please review our guidance about human research ethics.

Frequently asked questions about approvals

Click on a question to reveal the answer.

Can I start work before I receive ethics approval?

Do I need ethics approval to conduct a pilot study?

What if I already have ethics approval from another institution?

Can I contact organisations, individuals or communities before I receive ethics approval?

Can I test my survey or interview questions before getting ethics approval?

Do I need approval for human research that is part of coursework?