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), and
  • 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.

The University Research Human Ethics page has all the information for researchers on Human Research Ethics Training and how to register for the compulsory Ethics quiz. Once you successfully complete this Ethics quiz you will receive confirmation by email. This email must be attached to your first Ethics application upon submission.

The University Human Ethics website for Research Integrity is updated regularly to reflect changes in policy and procedure and is the primary reference for staff and students. In addition to training, it contains information about:

  • Australian guidelines and legislation,
  • Deakin Ethics Guidelines,
  • Forms and documents,
  • Human Research Ethics Committee and
  • Faculty Human Ethics Advisory Groups, Advisers and Faculty Administrators.

Low Risk Research applications

Submission of Low Risk Ethics applications

The Faculty Human Ethics Advisory Group (HEAG) reviews new low risk ethics applications and modification requests by circulation.

It is imperative that you download these forms for each new Ethics applications and do not re-use a previously saved form. These forms are regularly updated in response to the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research (NS), and if you use an out-dated form it will be returned and won't be further processed until you use the current form, in order to ensure compliance with Australian Research Integrity guidelines.

  • All submissions can be made at any time to the Ethics team from 1 February to 30 November in any year.
  • Low risk applications undergo a Chair's pre-review and assessment of risk followed by HEAG double blind review before approval.
  • Feedback is provided to applicants for response.
  • Researchers need to factor in at least four working weeks after submission for receipt of the final outcome.

The Low Risk application is designed with a checklist to help determine if the project is indeed low risk. Once you are confident the project is Low Risk you can access the Low Risk Form, PLS/Consent templates and examples of previously approved documentation from the University Human Ethics forms and guidelines website.

The application form must be signed by all parties and the Head of Department or Director of Research.  Forms without these signatures will not be proceed and will be returned to the researchers. Electronic signatures or scanned signed forms are acceptable. Faculty HEAG or DUHREC may need to audit a project for compliance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research guidelines.

Low Risk Ethics Application forms

The Research Integrity resource page, Human Ethics Information for staff, students and committee members | Students ( includes the latest forms and documents for high and low risk ethics applications. Please note the following guidelines:

  • The Low Risk Application form must be completed and fully signed before submission
  • The Plain Language Statement and Consent form must be attached to the Low Risk Form
  • The Organisational Consent Form Coversheet is for research involving recruitment of Deakin Students and Staff across academic units and Faculties
  • The Previously approved application form is for ongoing projects that have been approved at former institution or Australian Human Research Ethics Committee
  • The Request for Modification form is used when seeking ethics approval for a modified project-please include the amended documents
  • The Annual/Final report form is the report that researchers are obliged to provide annually or on final completion of the project. For HDR students, submission of an annual report (when prompted) and a final report (at the conclusion of data collection) is a University requirement for candidature.

Higher than Low Risk

Submission of Higher than Low Risk Ethics applications

After checking the Low Risk application checklist or seeking advice from an Ethics Advisor, if you consider your project is Higher than Low Risk then complete the online Human Research Ethics Application and supplementary documents, and submit directly to DUHREC in time for the next scheduled meeting.

Researchers will be notified by Research Integrity by email of the outcome of the full review. Researchers need to factor in at least four working weeks after submission for receipt of the final outcome, although is possible that in urgent cases executive approval can be sought between meetings.

DUHREC meetings and submission details are available at the Human Research Ethics website. Links to the Human Research Ethics Application, and Higher than Low Risk templates are also available via the Human Research 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.

Faculty Ethics contact

For Low Risk enquiries and submission of Low Risk forms, here are the Faculty HEAG contact details for Business & Law, Arts & Education, Health and Science, and Engineering & Built Environment.

Enquiries relating to higher-than-low-risk ethics applications should be directed to the DUHREC Human Ethics Office via the Research Integrity team.

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