Research Project Risk and Compliance

This guide has been designed to assist researchers at Western Sydney University to maintain compliance with policies and procedures and to conduct research with integrity.

All those involved in research should be aware of and abide by the principles of research integrity and the policies and procedures set out by the University, funders, regulators, professional associations, and the law. This (non-exhaustive) list seeks to encourage a broader dialogue between supervisors, researchers, and students about good research practice. It is intended to be a guide only.

Note: Copies of any required documentation should be kept on file with your research project paperwork.

Research Code of Practice

The Research Code of Practice sets out the principles and processes to support the responsible conduct of research in accordance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (ACRCR) 2018 (opens in a new window) and applies to all research activity carried out by, at or on behalf of the University, and to all individuals who carry out research at or on behalf of the University.

  • Read and understand the code, noting that all researchers are expected to undertake their research with integrity.

Research Data Management

All research project data should be managed and curated effectively throughout its lifecycle in accordance with the University’s Research Data Management Policy.

Researchers must create a shareable Research Data Management Plan (RDMP) which complies with the University’s Research Data Management Policy. This should be updated as and when data management practices change. A Research Data Management Plan must be developed at the beginning of every research project.

Funder expectations

Researchers should be aware of codes of conduct or guidelines developed by individual funders. Compliance with such codes is often a requirement of funding. Consideration should be given to the confidentiality requirements of the funding bodies (such as partner requirements around media releases and publishing embargoed information).

It is important that CIs are fully aware of the terms and conditions of an award and their obligations under the award. This information can usually be found in the body of the Funding Agreement or Conditions of Award. In some cases, invoicing and reporting milestones may be in the Schedule to an Agreement.

Risk Management

As per the University's Research Code of Practice and Risk Management Policy, in conducting research activities, researchers have responsibilities to assess and manage the risk of their research activities by identifying and familiarising themselves with risks associated with their projects.

Risk Assessments

The appropriate risk assessments (also known as risk registers) must be undertaken before research starts and reviewed regularly throughout the project.

ALL Research Projects must complete a Research Project General Risk Assessment (XLSX, 201.3 KB) (opens in a new window). This highlights the administrative, project management and financial risks you may incur across your project. Send a copy of this to your Supervisor for approval and save this with your project documentation. Note: This DOES NOT need to go to the WHS team.

If your project involves travel, please complete the relevant Travel Risk Assessment via the TEMS process. If your project involves international travel, please complete the relevant Travel Risk Assessment via the WesternNow Travel Procurement process when you are making travel arrangements.

If your research project involves any of the following safety related risks, you MUST complete a WHS Risk Assessment using the University approved WHS template (DOCX, 52.1 KB) (opens in a new window) in addition to a general risk assessment.

  • Fieldwork
  • Hazardous substances
  • Working with equipment
  • Clinical trials
  • Lab work
  • Working with animals, humans, biological organisms or substances derived from biological organisms
  • Defence related projects
  • Projects identified as creating ‘Critical Infrastructure’ to Australia’s National Defence
  • Any other environment, health or safety risk.

If you require any support or guidance in completing a WHS risk assessment, please contact the WHS team on Send a copy of your Risk Assessment to your Supervisor for approval and save this with your project documentation.

While ethics applications identify risk, they are not considered a full risk assessment. Please complete a full risk assessment to be compliant with the Risk Management Policy.

Using Digital Services

As per the Digital Services Implementation Policy, all acquisitions of digital services (free, purchased or downloaded) for research projects are required to complete a Risk and Compliance Determination (RCD) (login to IT portal required) form prior to its installation and access. This allows the IT team to evaluate IT risks and compliance issues associated with the software and develop recommendations on how any identified risks can be addressed.

See the IT Portal (login required) for more information or contact if you have any questions.

Ethics requirements

Research involving human participants, human data or tissue, the use of animals, microorganisms or agents (classified as Risk Group 2 and above), genetically modified organisms, biological toxins, Security Sensitive Biological Agents (SSBA), quarantine material, ionising radiation sources, radioactive materials and equipment, and lasers above class 2, will necessitate compliance with particular ethical and legal requirements.


Authorship provides credit for an individual’s contributions to a study and carries accountability.

It is important that researchers are aware of the authorship practices within their own disciplines and any guidelines set by the journals in which they hope to publish.

It is recommended that arrangements and responsibilities for the publication of results should be considered when planning a research project and reviewed at appropriate points during the lifecycle of the study.

  • Understand the University’s guidelines on authorship.
  • Discuss any discipline specific requirements and guidance for authorship and publication relevant to the area of research.

Conflict of Interest

Researchers should declare and manage any real or potential conflicts of interest (COI) on the COI Register as per the Conflict of Interest Policy.

Licences, permissions and agreements

Some projects will require licences, permissions, or agreements before they can commence. This might include, for example:

The Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 (DTCA) (opens in a new window) regulates the intangible supply, publication and brokering of goods and technology listed in the Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL) and strengthens existing regulations on tangible exports under the Customs Act 1901. Supplying, brokering or publishing items, technologies and information outside of Australia that are considered by government as 'controlled' may require a permit.

In December 2020, the Australian Government implemented the Foreign Arrangements Scheme; established under Australia’s Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Act 2020. If you are intending to enter into an arrangement with an international partner, whether it's an institution, government, corporate, or individual, please use the foreign arrangements form to let the Foreign Arrangements team know of your intent. Alternatively they can be contacted at or This submission form allows us to evaluate whether or not we need to notify the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade regarding a new partnership. Notifying the University means that we can follow appropriate policy and processes around developing partnerships and ensure that staff rights are protected from potential external threats.

Intellectual Property

It is important that researchers consider whether Intellectual Property may be generated by their project and that they are aware of the University policy on Intellectual Property Rights.

Training and professional development

Training is an important part of ensuring that researchers are able to understand and adopt best practice as quickly as possible. The University offers many training courses at the local and School/Institute level as well as centrally.

Mandatory Training allocated to you is accessible via Staff Online in the MyCareerOnline tab. It is important to complete all mandatory training allocated to you by the due date.

With a keen focus on our Values and Principles, Western Sydney University provides an array of career development opportunities ensuring our researchers are equipped to meet real global research challenges.

Subject-specific policies, procedures and guidelines

Individual University departments and faculties have subject-specific policies and guidelines that they expect their members to abide by.

Additionally, there are a wide range of codes and guidelines developed by professional or subject-specific groups that researchers should be aware of.

Become familiar with all relevant policies as required by your role.

For any feedback or enquiries relating to this page, please contact Research Services at