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.

The Application Process

Complete all steps below to apply for HREC ethical review.

***Note New Processes***

1. Concurrent submission of ethics and governance applications is required effective June 2018 deadline

Ethics submissions to the July 2018 HREC meeting onwards require the submission of Site Specific research governance applications (point 18 below) at the same time for:

  • All studies where Melbourne Health is a participating site in the research (with the exception of commercially sponsored clinical trials*)

Ethics applications submitted without the accompanying research governance application for Melbourne Health research projects will be deemed incomplete and not accepted on ethics submission deadline day.

*For commercially sponsored clinical trials

Whilst concurrent submission of ethics and research governance applications in which Melbourne Health is involved is preferred for commercially sponsored clinical trials, the Office for Research will accept ethics applications with the governance application to follow as soon as possible thereafter.

2. Peer Review and Statistical Review required for all projects

Note changes to ethical review process effective of the 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.

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 via Australia Online Forms for Research website. Melbourne Health HREC does not accept the LNR Vic form.

For further details about the recent changes to ethics application forms download the HREA Bulletin or contact the Coordinating Office for Clinical Trial Research, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS):

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
EmailResearch@mh.org.au

For Melbourne Health site complaints

Complaints contact person

NameDirector Research Governance and Ethics
PositionComplaints Manager
Telephone (03) 9342 8530
EmailResearch@mh.org.au
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 CVsFolder@mh.org.au 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 1pm 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
PARKVILLE VIC 3050

17. Submit an electronic copy
  • Email an electronic copy of the whole application (all documents) by 1pm deadline day to HRECSubmissions@mh.org.au. 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.

Governance applications must be 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 – handling each project only once (or as few separate times as possible).

For commercially sponsored clinical trials only

Research governance applications can be submitted soon after ethics deadline, although concurrent submission with the ethics application is encouraged.

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 HrecCorrespondence@mh.org.au 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.