External human research ethics approval

There are four types of research projects that have been previously approved (external to VU research projects) that require review by the Victoria University Human Research Ethics Committee (VUHREC):

  1. external research projects involving VU participants with VU staff and/or students as investigators
  2. external research projects involving VU staff (not VU students) as investigators
  3. external research projects involving VU participants with external investigators (non-VU staff)
  4. review of research projects for external organisations.

VU staff and/or students as investigators

In some cases, VU staff and/or students are listed as investigators on research projects that have been granted ethical approval from an external HREC. If these research projects wish to involve participants from VU (for example, a staff or student cohort), then the investigators must seek approval from the VUHREC. If the research has already received approval from an approved external HREC, it will normally not be required to undergo a full ethical review by the VUHREC.

For these research projects, a copy of the approved ethics application, all relevant documents and the letter of approval from the administering HREC must be submitted to the Ethics Secretary. These documents are reviewed and, as appropriate, approved by the Chair of the VUHREC out-of-session.

Investigators may only commence their research at VU once they have received an approval memo from the Ethics Secretary.

VU staff (not VU students) as investigators

VU staff and students listed as investigators on those external research projects which do not involve a cohort of VU participants and have been approved by another appropriately constituted ethics committee do not need to notify the VUHREC of their involvement.

However, it is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and National Research Statement requirement that all research projects involving human participants be approved by an appropriate HREC.

The Office for Research reminds all VU staff and students to ensure that they have ethics approval from an appropriate HREC (VUHREC or an external HREC) prior to commencing their research.

External investigators (non-VU staff) only

External investigators (non-VU staff) who wish to involve participants from VU (for example, a staff or student cohort) in their research project require approval from the Chair of the VUHREC. Such research projects must be 'sponsored' by a member of VU staff. The VU sponsor is required to take responsibility for all interactions with the University and the HREC in relation to ethical issues and their management. It is the external investigators' responsibility to organise a sponsor.

For these research projects, a copy of the approved ethics application and the letter of approval from the administering HREC must be submitted to the Ethics Secretary. The VU sponsor must also notify the Ethics Secretary in writing that they have accepted the role of sponsor for the research project. These documents are reviewed and, where appropriate, approved by the Chair of the VUHREC.

Investigators may only commence their research at VU once they have received an approval memo from the Ethics Secretary.

Review of research projects for external organisations

In the case of a formal agreement being in place, VUHREC may also consider research proposals on behalf of outside organisations which do not have their own properly-constituted HRECs, on conditions to be set by the VUHREC. Such applications require a VU 'sponsor'.

An administration fee may be charged for the ethical review of research proposals by external (non-VU) researchers. Please contact the Ethics Secretary for further information.

Contact us

Ms Elizabeth Hill, VUHREC Secretary
+61 3 9919 4781 | elizabeth.hill@vu.edu.au