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Human Ethics Review

Once you have a submitted a new HRE application, please allow up to 10 University business days for an initial review and risk assessment to be conducted.

The initial review involves ensuring all HRE application questions have been addressed, and all required documentation is attached. If an HRE application is missing any of the information, the Ethics Office is unable to conduct a risk assessment adequately and will return the application to the research team.

The Ethics Office conducts risk assessments to determine the appropriate review pathway.

Research exempted from review

Research may be exempted from review if:

  • is negligible risk research; and
  • involves the use of existing collections of data or records that contain only non-identifiable data about human beings. 

An HRE application is required to be submitted for an exemption to be formally applied. 

Expedited review

***Please note the USQ HREC Expedited review pathway will be shut from Monday 29 November 2021 until Tuesday 1 February 2022***

HRE applications that are deemed to be negligible or low risk may be eligible for expedited review. However; where a person's reactions exceed discomfort and become distress, the project is "more than low" risk. 

Expedited reviews are conducted by the Ethics Office in conjunction with members of the USQ HREC (usually USQ HREC Chair or deputy Chairs). 

The expedited review is an ongoing process that operates between February and November.  

More than low risk HRE applications

HRE applications that are deemed to be more than low risk are not eligible for expedited review and must be review by the full USQ HREC. 

The USQ HREC must review research that involves any of the following:

  • Women who are pregnant and/ or the human fetus
  • people highly dependent on medical care who may be unable to give consent
  • people with cognitive impairment, an intellectual disability, or a mental illness
  • people who may be involved in illegal activities
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • animal-to-human xenotransplantation
  • genomic research
  • forensic or involuntary patients
  • clinical trials
  • active concealment or planned deception
  • exposing illegal activity
  • participants on the DSM-5 scale
  • significant psychological risk
  • accessing sensitive health information or data
  • prisoners or people on parole
  • participants who would not ordinarily be considered vulnerable; however, are vulnerable due to the nature of the research
  • collection of biological materials, i.e. blood, saliva, etc
  • hospital patients
  • research being conducted by parents/ guardians with own children 
  • economic impact due to participation in the research, i.e. loss of income, loss of employment, etc
  • sensitive and/or contentious issues, i.e. suicide, eating disorders, etc. 
  • significant reputational risk, i.e. this could be to the participants, research team or the University

If your research involves any of the following, please contact the Ethics Office to discuss further; prior to commencing an application:

  • Animal-to-human xenotransplantation
  • genomic research
  • forensic or involuntary patients 
  • clinical trials 
  • research being conducted by parents/guardians with own children 

Refer to the USQ HREC meeting dates for information on submission timelines.