Human ethics

Human ethics

COVID-19 Updates

Updated: 01 February 2022

Researchers and research students are strongly encouraged to monitor the latest COVID-19 news from the NSW Government.

Find out more about COVID-19 and potential impacts to Macquarie University students and staff at MQ COVID-19 Latest Information.

How do I get advice or support from the Human Research Ethics team?

Below are the contact details:


Phone:  +61 2 9850 4459 (Administration)

+61 2 9850 7850 (HREC: Humanities and Social Sciences)

+61 2 9850 4194 (HREC: Medical Sciences)

This HREC advice represents current thinking and best practice at the government level. It reflects the shared views of all state and territory Departments of Health, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Clinical Trials Project Reference Group (CTPRG).

Human Research Ethics

Macquarie University is renowned for its research expertise. The Human Research Ethics team is responsible for ensuring that processes, resources and guidance embed ethics across all research practices. Contact Research Ethics and Integrity here.

Macquarie University staff and students conducting research with or about people, their data, or tissue, must apply for ethics approval. According to the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) (the National Statement), human research is understood broadly to include the involvement of human beings through:

  • taking part in surveys, interviews or focus groups;
  • undergoing psychological, physiological or medical testing or treatment;
  • being observed by researchers;
  • researchers having access to their personal documents or other materials;
  • the collection and use of their body organs, tissues or fluids (eg skin, blood, urine, saliva, hair, bones, tumour and other biopsy specimens) or their exhaled breath;
  • access to their information (in individually identifiable, re-identifiable or nonidentifiable form) as part of an existing published or unpublished source or database.

Approval is required before there is any interaction with participants or their data. If your research includes any of the above, you must apply for ethics approval before you commence your research.

Two centralised Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs), and several low risk ethics subcommittees review the conduct of research involving humans.  These HRECs are constituted and operate in accordance with National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) updated 2018 (National Statement).

The following documents provide more information about the HRECs:

If your research has biosafety or biohazards issues, including the use of recombinant DNA, potential pathogens, radioactive isotopes or other hazardous substances, the project may need clearance from the Institutional Biosafety Committee. Visit Biosafety, biosecurity and gene technology for more information.

All staff and students who will be conducting research or demonstration teaching projects that involve the use of live vertebrate animals must apply to Macquarie University's Animal Ethics Committee for ethics review.

Online Human Research Ethics Management

All research conducted at Macquarie University or Macquarie University Hospital, or by staff, students or visitors to Macquarie University or Macquarie University Hospital, or which is carried out using University equipment, facilities or premises owned by the University or otherwise under control of the University must obtain ethics approval from a Macquarie University Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) before it can commence.

Human Research Ethics applications are managed via an online system Forms for Research Applications (FoRA). Applications, amendments and reporting must be submitted via this system. For more information about this system, and supporting resources relating to new submissions and the management of existing applications, please refer to the Human Research Ethics Management support page.

What online survey platform is acceptable for my data?

Researchers must choose appropriate data platforms for the sensitivity of their research data. This includes the survey platform to be used.

Refer to the information on Data Platforms and the additional considerations about Human Ethics and online survey platforms, with specific guidance and advice if you want to use Qualtrics.

Important dates

Meeting dates

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