Human Research Ethics

All Deakin staff members and students who plan to carry out research involving human participants, require ethical clearance from the Deakin University Human Research Ethics Committee (DUHREC) or a Faculty Human Ethics Advisory Group (HEAG) before proceeding.

Research involving humans includes, but is not limited to:

  • surveys
  • interviews
  • exercises
  • experiments (both psychological and physical)
  • close observation
  • depiction (including photographs and videos)
  • use of identifiable personal records


All staff and students submitting a full ethics application for the first time at Deakin (either DUHREC or HEAG) need to complete human research ethics training. This may be done in person or online. Once training is completed, you must take the quiz on the Human Ethics CloudDeakin site to obtain your email confirming completion. This can then be submitted with your application.

To gain access to online training you will need to log into CloudDeakin, click on self-register and select the Office of Research Integrity. The site will then appear within the My Sites area of your CloudDeakin homepage. If you are already logged into CloudDeakin, you can go directly to self-register .

The University Human Ethics website is updated regularly to reflect changes in policy and procedure and should be the principal reference for staff and students. It includes the one-stop Human Research Ethics Manual .

In addition, Deakin Research Integrity (RI) provides ongoing training sessions regarding the ethics process and runs pre-submission clinics for staff and students new to ethics or for research supervisors wishing to refresh their knowledge of the guidelines and procedures. Enrolment for these events can be made by registering .

Low Risk Research applications

The Faculty HEAG will assess and review applications deemed Low Risk research throughout the year. If you are uncertain whether your project is Low Risk and suitable for review at Faculty level, you can check by answering a few simple questions via the Human Ethics Quick Start Tool.

Once you are confident the project is Low Risk, you can access the Low Risk research application form and Low Risk Plain Language Statement (PLS)/Consent templates for completion and submission to the Faculty HEAG. Please note that the Low Risk form replaces the online National Ethics Application Form (NEAF) and should only be used for Low Risk research projects being reviewed by the Faculty HEAG. The Low Risk form incorporates a two page checklist of questions at the front which will help determine risk and suitability for Faculty review. You can access the Low Risk application form, PLS/Consent templates and examples of previously approved Plain Language Statements (suitable for Low Risk surveys and interviews) via the RI Human Ethics forms website.

Low Risk forms and attachments should be submitted via the online submission tool. It is imperative that the application form is signed by all parties and the Head of School or Associate Head of School (Research). Electronic signatures or scanned signed forms will be accepted. It should be noted that the Faculty HEAG or DUHREC may need to audit a project as part of the requirements for monitoring set out in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research (2007).

Notification of Outcomes - Low Risk applications

The Faculty HEAG recommendations and details of the review will be emailed to the researcher/s normally within 15 working days after submission. Once any amendments (if applicable) have been made to the satisfaction of the Faculty reviewers, the researcher/s will receive a formal letter of approval. This letter will outline the conditions of approval and any further requirements to be completed before the project can commence.

Notification of referral to DUHREC

If your application is submitted for Faculty HEAG review but it assessed as not Low Risk, the researcher/s will be notified immediately and requested to submit a completed NEAF with supporting documentation to DUHREC for full review. Checking the Quick Start Tool and the two page checklist on the Low Risk form before making an application should help determine the level of risk and the correct form to use and where to submit.

Higher than Low Risk

After checking the Quick Start Tool and/or the Low Risk application checklist, if you consider your project is Higher than Low Risk you should prepare the online NEAF and supplementary documents and submit directly to DUHREC in time for the next scheduled meeting. The researcher/s will be notified by the RI by email of the outcome of the full review within 3 - 4 weeks of the meeting. It is possible that in urgent cases executive approval can be sought between meetings. DUHREC meetings and submission details are available at the RI Human Ethics website. Links to the NEAF and Higher than Low Risk templates are also available via the RI Human Ethics forms website.

Final Reports and Modifications

Information regarding final reports and modification requests of previously approved projects is available via the RI Human Ethics website.

December deadline

If you are intending to submit a Low Risk Ethics application to the Faculty HEAG for review in December please note that the latest date for submission is 14 business days before the University closes for the year, to be sent to Business Law Ethics (Katrina Fleming).

Any applications received after that will be held over for processing until the University re-opens in January the following year.

Faculty Ethics contact

If you have any questions regarding human research ethics, including Low Risk review, submission and reporting, please contact

Katrina Fleming
Ethics Secretariat
Faculty of Business and Law
+61 3 5227

Page custodian: Faculty of Business & Law
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