All research projects must be submitted for ethical and research governance review before a project can be given approval to commence.

Submit an ethics application for approval

The Melbourne Health Human Research Ethics Committee is constituted and operated in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007.

CPI, PI and Sponsor Guidance

The responsibilities of the Coordinating Principal Investigator (CPI), Principal Investigator (PI) and sponsor are summarised in the following documents.


Sign up for training to the new ethics application platform, Ethics Review Manager

You are no longer able to create a HREA/SSA via Online Forms.

From Monday 16 July, you will need to log onto a new platform, Ethics Review Manager (ERM), to create new ethics and governance applications. It is essential that everyone who needs to complete research ethics and governance applications learns how to do this.

Online Training

The Department of Health and Human Services has arranged online training sessions for research applicants using the new ERM system (which is replacing Online Forms from Monday 16 July 2018) details of which can be found on the Office for Research News page.

The sessions will cover:

  • Getting started in ERM
  • How to create and submit an ethics application
  • How to transfer and accept an SSA
  • Post approval
  • Use of the minimal dataset form (MDF)

***Peer Review and Statistical Review required for all projects***

Note changes to ethical review process effective of the next ethics submission deadline, 27 June 2018 (for the 11 July 2018 meeting)

  • All research protocols will require peer review before submission to the Melbourne Health Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), and evidence of this review must be submitted with the application. Please refer to the Peer Review Process document
  • All research protocols will require statistical review before submission to the Melbourne Health HREC, and evidence of this review must be submitted with the application. Please refer to the Statistical Review Process document.

Projects which have already had a rigorous independent review of the research protocol do not need to undergo additional peer or statistical review prior to submission. This applies to commercially sponsored research projects as well as a number of other exceptions – these are outlined in the Submission Process documents for each new process.

The Application Process

Complete all steps below to apply for HREC ethical review.

1. For Investigator-initiated, Melbourne Health–led research projects

For studies where Melbourne Health will formally act as sponsor of a research project, including:

  • MH sponsored clinical trials (CTN/CTX clinical trials within the scope of the Therapeutic Goods Act); and
  • All MH-led multi-site studies

At least six (6) weeks before the intended submission deadline date call the Office for Research on 9342 8530 to confirm whether an MH Sponsorship Review Meeting is required for your project.

This process must be completed before a trial/study application can be accepted for ethics and/or governance review.

2. Obtain an expert review for your project

Submit a completed Peer Review Proforma. This is the required format for documentation of the reviewer’s comments on the protocol and contains all the required elements for the review. Peer review of a project should be undertaken after the scientific protocol has been developed and must always occur before the application is submitted for HREC approval.

  • The investigators must allow sufficient time to find a reviewer, allow the reviewer to conduct the peer review, and to address the reviewer’s comments adequately, prior to submission to the HREC.

For more information about this new process please refer to the Peer Review Process document.

3. Obtain a statistical review for your project

Submit a completed Statistical Review Proforma. This is the required format for documentation of statistical review. Statistical review of a project should be undertaken prior to submission of your project to the HREC.

  • The investigators must allow sufficient time to find a reviewer, allow the reviewer/review body to conduct the statistical pre-review and to address any comments adequately, prior to submission to the HREC.

For more information about this new process please refer to the Statistical Review Process document.

4. Obtain a Local HREC Project Number

Contact the Office for Research to obtain a Local HREC Project Number (example - 2018.001).

The Local HREC Project Number must appear in the top right-hand corner of all hard copies of each component of your application.

5. Obtain a multisite HREC number (multisite projects only)

Clinical trials and health and medical research projects

Call the Central Allocation System (CAS) for your project to be allocated to a reviewing HREC.

Central Allocation System telephone: (03) 9096 7395
Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm EST.

This call will involve answering questions about your research and then you will be asked to provide relevant information. The call will take approximately 15 minutes.

CAS will provide you with a HREC reference number (example - HREC/11/MH/7).

Note that this number is different to a local HREC Project Number (example - 2015.001). Both these identifiers need to be documented on the submission.

6. Prepare HREC cover letter

Complete an HREC Cover Letter and and submit with your application.

7. Complete fee payment form

Download and complete the Application and Amendment Payment Form. Fees are payable up-front, at the time of initial submission of a research project.

Visit the Research Fees page for detailed information on all ethics and governance fees.

8. Complete Ethics Checklist

Complete the Ethics Checklist. This should be completed by the coordinating principal investigator (CPI).

The CPI is the person who will submit the research project to the HREC on behalf of other sites and coordinate the ethical submission.

9. Complete a Human Research Ethics Application (HREA)

Applicants must complete the HREA Form for all Research projects including Low Risk Research via Ethics Review Manager (ERM).

  • Melbourne Health HREC does not accept the LNR VIC form.
  • Applicants must upload all applications documents via ERM.

NOTE: The Online Forms has transitioned to ERM in Victoria and Queensland effective 16 July 2018. Online Forms is no longer in use for ethics and research governance applications in Victoria.

Help and support

Infonetica Helpdesk02 9037
DHHS Victoria03 9096
10. Complete the Victorian Specific Module

For all research projects with a site in Victoria, the Victorian Specific Module (VSM) is mandatory. Complete the Victorian Specific Module.

For projects with a site(s) in NSW, also complete the NSW Department of Health Privacy Form.

For projects with a site(s) in WA, also complete the Western Australian Specific Module (WASM).

11. Provide a project protocol

Submit a detailed project protocol and any other documentation, such as:

  • documents to be given to participants, such as letters of invitation, transcripts for telephone contact, questionnaires, patient diaries
  • assessment tools
  • advertising materials
  • data collection sheets

Researchers may elect to use project protocol template for investigator initiated studies.

12. Complete participant information and consent forms

Complete a Participant Information and Consent Form (PICF) if the study involves participants from whom you are obtaining consent.

Note that PICFs must be submitted electronically in MSWord format - not PDF.

Different templates are available on the Department of Health website. Use the template(s) that are appropriate for the type of research you are conducting.

Download a guide for writing PICFs.

Contact details for the PICFs:

Where Melbourne Health is the reviewing HREC

Reviewing HREC approving this research and HREC Executive Officer details

Reviewing HREC nameMelbourne Health HREC
HREC Executive OfficerManager HREC
Telephone(03) 9342 8530

For Melbourne Health site complaints

Complaints contact person

NameDirector Research Governance and Ethics
PositionComplaints Manager
Telephone (03) 9342 8530
13. Submit the investigator's brochure

If conducting a drug or device clinical trial, submit one copy of the investigator's brochure (IB).

14. Research involving ionising radiation

Where radiation is not additional to standard care

If radiation exposure in a research project is not additional to standard clinical management/care at the site, the site Principal Investigator must provide a confirmation letter. The letter should be based on the template - available on the Department of Health Clinical Trials and Research website - and must be included in the ethics application submitted to the reviewing HREC.

Where radiation is additional to standard care

If radiation exposure in a research project is additional to standard clinical management/care, an independent assessment report by a Medical Physicist must be included in the ethics application (one report for each applicable site).

Special consideration

Where the procedures in which exposure to ionising radiation are considered to be additional to standard care at some sites and standard care at other sites and/or the exposure dose is markedly different from site to site, the Coordinating Principal Investigator must investigate this difference with the respective site Principal Investigators and complete and submit the Ionising Radiation Variation Form Part A. The Coordinating Principal Investigator must provide the reason for the variation and his/her opinion as to whether the differences are reasonable and acceptable.

Where the Research Protocol allows the Principal Investigator at each site to choose the modality of the investigations e.g.: CT scan or MRI; Echocardiogram or MUGA, CT scan or plain X-ray, the Coordinating Principal Investigator must complete the Ionising Radiation Variation form Part B for all sites where the ionising radiation modality is the chosen procedure and provide the rationale for this decision and his/her opinion as to whether this is reasonable and acceptable.

Find out more about ethical review of research projects involving ionising radiation.

15. Prepare CVs

Complete an Investigator Curriculum Vitae Form for the Principal Investigators (if one has not been submitted in the previous 3 years) and email to by the deadline date.

Do not submit hard copy CVs with the ethics submission.

16. Submit hard copy documents

Submit the signed, original application by 1 pm deadline day. No extra copies are required. Find our more about HREC submission dates and deadlines.

  • submit the original documents complete with appropriate signatures
  • The HREA's digital signature function can be used and will be accepted

Submit the original application to:

Manager, Human Research Ethics Committee
Office for Research
Level 2 South West, 300 Grattan Street

17. Submit an electronic copy
  • Email an electronic copy of the whole application (all documents) by 1pm deadline day to Ensure that the PICF is submitted in MSWord format (not PDF).
  • Ensure the electronic copy includes scanned copies of the original wet ink signatures.
  • The Local HREC Project Number must be included in both the email subject field and in the individual file names. Standard formats for naming files are outlined below.

File name convention

To ensure the electronic copies submitted are easily identifiable, the format outlined below must be used for all electronic files. As shown in example below, include version numbers and dates in the file name.

Projects submitted that do not follow these formats will not be considered and will be returned via email to sender.

Convention: [Project Number] [Document Name] [Version Number] [Date]
e.g. 2017.999 Protocol Version 1 29082017

18. Complete and Submit the Research Governance application

Complete an application for Research Governance where Melbourne Health is a participating site.

It is strongly recommended that governance applications are submitted together with the ethics application on the HREC submission deadline day. This will ensure faster approval and earlier commencement of your project by allowing the Office for Research to review everyone’s project in the most efficient manner possible.

Concurrent submission of ethics and governance applications is strongly recommended where MH is providing ethical review and is also a participating site. ERM (effective 16 July 2018), the new online platform for ethics and governance applications, will allow ethics and governance applications to be generated and submitted concurrently. Governance applications for MH as a site where ethical review is undertaken by another HREC can be submitted at any time.

NOTE: For CTN Submissions

For externally sponsored CTN clinical trials (external sponsors may be commercial, a collaborative group or another hospital, etc)

Upon receipt of the HREC ethics approval from the reviewing HREC, external sponsors can lodge the CTN directly with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), online. Sponsors ares asked to provide the Melbourne Health Principal Investigator with a copy of the TGA's confirmation/acknowledgement of the CTN together with a PDF copy of the lodged CTN application to forward to as soon as this is available.

For Melbourne Health sponsored CTN clinical trials (ie investigator initiated trials where there is no external sponsor)

Upon receipt of governance approval letter from Melbourne Health, researchers must make an appointment with the Office for Research, Research Support Officer to lodge the CTN application online together. The fees associated with the CTN submission will be set against the applicable research cost centre.

Direct any questions about the CTN submission scheme to the Research Support Officer.