Why do I need ethics approval

Research ethics is an integral part of the research design process.  From the earliest stages in the development and design of a research project it is essential to consider the ethical issues involved. 

The University requires researchers to conform to the NHMRC’s Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007) (the Code), the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007)(National Statement) and to other relevant legislation and guidelines.

This requirement applies to all staff, visiting academics, undergraduate, postgraduate and higher degree research whether funded or not.  In turn, individual researchers must lodge an application for ethics approval of their research with the University’s Human Research Ethics Office (HREC).

All research involving human subjects (formal or informal interviews, questionnaires, surveys, etc.) must be ethically approved.

MGSM ethics committee

The MGSM Ethics Sub-Committee has been established to manage and approve all low-risk or negligible risk ethics applications at MGSM.  The vision is to have ethics inculcated into the fabric of research activities at MGSM, with every researcher understanding the need for ethics approval of human research activities, being conversant with the University’s ethics compliance requirements and guidelines.

Whilst HDR candidates are still required to use the standard application process (see “How do I apply?” below), there is a MGSM Ethics Application Procedure which all HDR candidates and their supervisors are encouraged to read.


  • Ethics training is compulsory.  All applicants are encouraged to attend a Human Ethics Information Session prior to submitting their ethics application.  HDR candidates will be required to do the online training program and will be required to submit their certificate of attendance to the MGSM Ethics Secretary.
  • Candidates will be required to consult on at least one occasion with their supervisor prior to the submission of their ethics application.
  • Information and consent forms must be supplied on a dual branded MGSM and Macquarie University letterhead.
  • The MGSM Ethics Secretary will do a first check of applications that have come to the MGSM Sub-Committee for review.  If significant parts of the application are missing, the Secretary (along with the Chair) will send the application back to the applicant.

How do I apply

Research candidates must apply to the University Ethics Committee for ethics clearance through their Principal Supervisor (who acts as the Chief Investigator).  All applications must be submitted in hard copy to the MQ Ethics Secretariat as per the standard application process.  Applications can be submitted by mail or in person to:

Ethics Secretariat
Research Office
Level 3, Building C5C
Macquarie University  NSW  2109

The Ethics Secretariat conducts an initial risk assessment and applications that are considered to be low risk are delegated to the MGSM Sub-Committee for assessment.  Applications that are considered to be greater than low risk are delegated to the University HREC Committee for assessment.  The HREC Committee meets 10 times a year. Meeting dates and submission cut-off dates.

The MGSM Guidelines for the Human Research Ethics Applications has been created to help MGSM higher degree research (HDR) candidates and MGSM952 students to satisfy ethics approval requirements by successfully completing the Human Research Ethics Application Form.

Online ethics training program

Ethics Training is compulsory for anyone at MGSM who is intending on applying for Human Research Ethics Approval.

With the busy schedules experienced by most of our HDR Candidates, the MGSM Research Office has now developed online training for Ethics.  The Online Training Program consist of three compulsory sections. The Sections are below and it is strongly recommended that you do each section in the order they appear.

  1. Video Presentation by the Macquarie University Ethics Secretariat, Dr Karolyn White
  2. Detailed PowerPoint Training Presentation
  3. MGSM Ethics Quiz
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