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

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 15 steps to apply for HREC ethical review. 
  • Research that is considered low risk is where the risk of trial participants is not more serious than suffering discomfort. Find out more about low risk research projects. Steps 7, 10 and 11 are not required for Low Risk Reviews.
1. Obtain a Local HREC Project Number

Contact the Office for Research to obtain a Local HREC Project Number (example - 2015.001).

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

2. 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.

3. Prepare HREC cover letter

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

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Complete NEAF or LNR

Until further notice, the Online Forms website must be used for ethics and governance/SSA applications to a research office at a public health organisation in Victoria. 

  • The National Ethics Application Form (NEAF) must be used for ethics applications to Victorian HRECs at public health organisations, and for all National Mutual Acceptance (NMA) applications.
  • For low and negligible risk research taking place in Victoria only, a Victorian low and negligible risk application form (LNR VIC) can be used instead of the NEAF.

Later in 2017 the new Human Research Ethics Application (HREA) form, being developed by the NHMRC will replace the NEAF & LNR Vic. Detailed information and advice about the transition will be provided to researchers via this website, in advance of the changeover.

Please continue to use the NEAF /LNR Vic until further notice. The Melbourne Health HREC is currently unable to accept HREA applications.
Please see the further details in the DHHS Streamline E-bulletin  - Special Edition - NEAF and future transition to HREA, and/or contact the Coordinating Office for Clinical Trial Research, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) with any further questions.

The Coordinating Office for Clinical Trial Research have released an Online Forms Handbook. Download a copy of the Online Forms Handbook to assist you with creating, completing and submitting ethics and research governance applications. 

7. Complete the Victorian Specific Module

Complete the Victorian Specific Module.

Low risk research projects

This step is not applicable to low risk research projects.

8. 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.

9. 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.

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.

10. Submit the investigator's brochure

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

Low risk research projects

This step is not applicable to low risk research project.

11. Complete a Radiation Safety Officer report for research involving ionising radiation

Section 4 of the Victorian Specific Module must be submitted for all Victorian participating sites for which we are providing HREC review.

If exposure to ionising radiation is outside of standard care an RSO report must be submitted for each participating site for which we are providing HREC review.

For all sites outside of Victoria, submit either the RSO report (if radiation is outside of standard care) or the Notification to the Reviewing HREC for the use of Ionising Radiation in Research - Standard Care Form.

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

Low risk research projects

This step is not applicable to low risk research projects.

12. 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.

13. Submit hard copy documents

Submit the signed, original application (single sided). No copies are required.

The HREC application must be submitted by 1pm deadline day and will not be accepted after this time. 

Find our more about HREC submission dates and deadlines.

Make sure you submit:

  • All original documents
  • Collated
  • Single-sided
  • Complete with appropriate signatures

Submit the original application to:

Manager, Human Research Ethics Committee
Office for Research

14. Submit an electronic copy

Submit an electronic copy of the HREC application by 1pm deadline day to

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.

Standard formats

To ensure the electronic copies submitted are easily identifiable, the format outlined below must be used for all electronic files. Do not include version numbers or dates in file names.

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

NEAF YYYY.NNN (Example: If your project number is 2011.123, the file name should be NEAF 2011.123)

Participation and Information Consent Form (Word Format Only)
PICF YYYY.NNN (Example: PICF 2011.123)
PICF Master YYYY.NNN (Example: PICF Main 2011.123) - PICF for SERP studies
PICF Site Specific YYYY.NNN (Example: PICF Site Specific 2011.123) - PICF for SERP studies
PICF PG YYYY.NNN (Example: PICF PG 2011.123) - PICF for Pharmacogenetics studies
PICF PK YYYY.NNN (Example: PICF PK 2011.123) - PICF for Pharmacokinetic studies
PICF BM YYYY.NNN (Example: PICF BM 2011.123) - PICF for Bio Marker studies
PICF PR YYYY.NNN (Example: PICF PR 2011.123) - PICF for Person Responsible
PICF PPR YYYY.NNN (Example: PICF PPR 2011.123) - PICF for Person after Person Responsible
PICF PR consent to continue after PA YYYY.NNN (Example: PICF PR continuation after PA 2011.123) - PICF for Person Responsible consent to continue after Procedural Authorisation
PICF consent to continue after PA YYYY.NNN (Example: PICF consent to continue after PA 2011.123) - PICF consent to continue after Procedural Authorisation 

Protocol (Word or PDF Format)
Protocol YYYY.NNN (Example: Protocol 2011.123)

Victorian Specific Module (Word or PDF Format)
VSM YYYY.NNN (Example: VSM 2011.123)

Questionnaires (Word or PDF Format)
Questionnaire (Abbreviated Name) YYYY.NNN (Example: Questionnaire (QOL) 2011.123)

Advertisement (Word or PDF Format)
Advertisement YYYY.NNN  (Example: Advertisement 2011.123)

Investigators' Brochure (Word or PDF Format)
IB YYYY.NNN  (Example: IB 2011.123)

Cover Letter (Word or PDF Format)
Cover Letter YYYY.NNN  (Example: Cover Letter 2011.123)

HREC Checklist (Word or PDF Format)
HREC Checklist YYYY.NNN  (Example: HREC Checklist 2011.123)

Participant Card (Word or PDF Format)
Participant Card YYYY.NNN  (Example: Participant Card 2011.123)

Databank Registration Form (Word or PDF Format)
DBRG YYYY.NNN  (Example: DBRF 2011.123)

Tissue Bank Registration Form (Word or PDF Format)
TBRF YYYY.NNN  (Example: TBRF 2011.123)

Other Attachments
If you have any other attachments please clearly state what they are and then add the project number YYYY.NNN

15. Complete Research Governance application

Finally, you need to complete an application for Research Governance, if RMH is a participating site. 

Governance applications can be done at any time and do not have to be submitted on the HREC submission deadline day. However, early completion and submission of both HREC and Research Governance will ensure faster approval and earlier commencement of your project.

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.