Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started

Do I need to submit an ethics application?
Ethics approval is required for research projects involving human research. 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. In Australia the National Statement is designed to clarify the responsibilities of institutions and researchers for the ethical design, conduct and dissemination of results of human research. The National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 (updated 2018) (National Statement), consists of a series of guidelines made in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Act 1992. The National Statement is developed jointly by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Australian Research Council (ARC) and Universities Australia. The purpose of the National Statement is to promote ethical human research. Fulfilment of this purpose requires that participants be accorded the respect and protection that is due to them. It also involves the fostering of research that is of benefit to the community.
How do I write an ethics application?
To draft an ethics application, plan and allow time. Consider the relevant guidelines including TUA policies, legislation such as the Privacy Act 1988 and the National Statement. Refer to the ‘Writing Tips: Ethics Application’ guidance document at Help - Templates.
What is the online platform for ethics applications ‘ERM’?
Torrens University Australia uses the online platform Ethics Review Manager (ERM) by Infonetica, to manage the ethical review of research projects that involve human participants. ERM is the platform for new ethics application submissions, as well as any life cycle management such as reporting, amendments and extensions.
What does the ethics application template look like?
The ethics application within ERM is based on the Human Research Ethics Application (HREA). The HREA, developed by the NHMRC, is designed to facilitate ethics review for research involving humans, considering the National Statement.
What are the standard attachments that the HREC expect to see with my ethics application?
As directed by the National Statement, the HREC can consider complete ethics applications. There are a number of documents that are required to complete your ethics application. Each document should be attached and clearly labelled according to the content. Such documents include (not limited to): 1. Project Description 2. Research Team CVs 3. TUA Management support (staff researchers) 4. Participant Information & Consent Form (PICF) 5. Recruitment documents, eg flyers, introductory letters, organisation permission 6. Data collection protocols, for example survey/interview/focus group questions
What is a PICF?
The ‘Participant Information Sheet and Consent Form’ (PICF) is the primary guidance document for participants as directed by the National Statement. This one document combines the ‘Participant Information Sheet’ and the ‘Consent Form’, and is in place to provide clear information regarding the research and risks, with a detailed overview of the commitment required as participants. Refer to the 'Template - PICF' document at Help - Templates.
How long will it take to receive an outcome regarding my ethics application?
The TUA HREC meet 6 times per year, bi-monthly. The schedule of dates and submission deadline dates can be accessed on the ERM splash page at It is good practice to plan your ethics application, allowing ample time for feedback from both the HRE Office and the HREC, as required. Refer to the Ethics Application Pathway guidance document at Help - Templates, for an overview of the the ethics application pathway from submission to outcome.
What is the purpose of the HRE office compliance review?
When you first submit an ethics application in ERM, the HRE Office will conduct a compliance review. This is to identify any gaps within the application and provide advice in line with the National Statement, to ensure the application is complete. The application will be reverted to the researcher within ERM to address the commentary raised by the HRE Office. This allows the HREC to consider your ethics application in entirety.
When can I start my research?
If your project involves human research and requires ethics approval, you must receive final approval in writing prior to beginning any research activities.
Can I use prior approval from another Ethics Committee?
As directed by the National Statement (Ch 5.3), the TUA HREC can consider ethics application approval based on a registered Australian HREC, in order to eliminate unnecessary duplication of ethical review. TUA HREC can provide reciprocal approval based on the registered HREC, however the approving HREC remains the primary committee. An ethics application should be entered into ERM and the documentation from the primary HREC provided in attachments.