Other ethics review pathways

There are multiple review pathways for ethics applications at Western Sydney University. The Human Ethics Officers can assist you in determining the most appropriate pathway.

External approval recognition

If you have received ethics approval from an external NHMRC registered Human Research Ethics Committee, for example, another university or a Local Health District Ethics Committee, you can request recognition of that approval instead of submitting a new ethics application to Western Sydney.

To be eligible for Western Sydney University external ethics recognition:

  • The Western Sydney University staff/student must be listed on the approved ethics application, and/or named in the approval letter (or an approved amendment letter)
  • Where appropriate, Western Sydney University must be listed as a research site
  • The approving HREC must accept responsibility for the project at all sites, i.e. ongoing project monitoring including adverse event monitoring.

To request recognition, submit a completed External Ethics Recognition Cover Sheet (DOCX, 58.32 KB) (opens in a new window) and attach copies of:

  • the application to the other institution
  • the other institution's ethics approval letter; and
  • any other related correspondence.

Joint approval

If you have received ethics approval from an NHMRC registered Human Research Ethics Committee other than the Western Sydney University HREC but you also need ethics approval from the University, you can request review under the joint approval ethics review pathway.

To be eligible for this review pathway:

  • the project must already have at least one approval from an NHMRC accredited HREC or an international equivalent
  • the need for approval by more than one HREC must be evident
  • the Western Sydney University staff/student must be listed on the approved ethics application, and/or named in the approval letter (or an approved amendment letter).

If these criteria cannot be met the researcher should make an ethics application to the Western Sydney University HREC under a new application review pathway.

Projects which are granted joint approval will need to report annually to all approving HRECs and any amendments will need to be approved by all HRECs. The University will provide a Western Sydney University approval ID number which must be quoted on all correspondence with its ethics committee.

Joint approval applications may be reviewed by the Executive committee. Western Sydney will review the risk level and assign according to its requirements. If the committee decides that joint approval isn't appropriate for any reason, the researcher(s) will need to make a new application.

To apply for joint approval, complete the Joint Ethics Application Cover Sheet (DOCX, 60.71 KB) (opens in a new window) and send it with the documents noted on the form.

Transfer of approval

A transfer of approval may be granted when a researcher transfers to Western Sydney and has a project that received ethics clearance at their previous university. It is required when future ethics oversight for the project will only be provided by the Western Sydney HREC.

Researchers should discuss this with the original ethics approving HREC prior to discussing with the Western Sydney ethics team. The original HREC must agree to the transfer and the date of transfer must be established.

To be eligible for transfer of ethics approval to Western Sydney University:

  • The HREC which gave the original approval for the project must be an NHMRC registered Human Research Ethics Committee or a delegated Low and Negligible Risk committee of the institution.
  • The researcher requesting the transfer must be the CI of the project and must be a Western Sydney University staff/student at the time of the transfer request
  • The researcher must be listed on the approved ethics application, and/or named in the approval letter (or an approved amendment letter)
  • A letter/email of approval for transfer of the existing project data from the Head of School from which the project is being transferred must be attached
  • A letter/email from the Western Sydney University Head of School to which the researcher now belongs, stating acceptance of the transfer of the existing project data, must be attached.

These applications will be reviewed by the Executive committee. Western Sydney will review the risk level and assign according to its requirements. If the committee decides that a transfer approval isn't appropriate for any reason, the researcher(s) may need to make a new application.

To apply for transfer of approval, complete the Transfer of Ethics Approval Cover Sheet (DOCX, 60.06 KB) (opens in a new window) and send it with the documents noted on the form.

Exemption from human research ethics review

There are a limited number of scenarios in which human research ethics review and approval are not required. See Guidance on Ethics Review Exemption (PDF, 58.64 KB) (opens in a new window)

Researchers can choose to make an Application for Exemption (DOCX, 67.9 KB) (opens in a new window) but it is not mandatory.

In making a request for an exemption, the researcher must acknowledge that:

  • A statement of ethics exemption is not equivalent to ethics approval (the project will not be given an 'approval' ID)
  • Further or different use of the data may require ethics approval, alternately, further or different use may not be possible because the University does not grant retrospective ethics approval.

Quality Assurance and evaluation activities

QA activities and teaching and learning projects are not considered research as long as the use and dissemination of the results will remain internal to the University. Any projects intending external reporting should go through the usual ethics processes. A useful document to assist in determining if your activities are QA is Ethical Considerations in Quality Assurance and Evaluation Activities (opens in a new window)

Because ethics approval will not be given retrospectively, researchers are encouraged to consider activities as research rather than QA or evaluation and get ethics approval, and to seek at least extended consent from participants. This will allow the data to be used in ways that may not be at first apparent.

Students' collecting and using data about others

Undergraduate activities conducted only for the purposes of assessment and not resulting in any publication/dissemination do not require ethical review. Note that if the output has received funding or can be counted as part of ERA reporting then it is considered research and will require ethics approval.

Undergraduate Honours research DOES require ethical review unless it is exempt because it meets standard exemption criteria.