Human research ethics

Before commencing their research, researchers (including undergraduate and postgraduate students) who wish to undertake projects involving human participants must obtain approval from the Human Research Ethics Committee. No research can take place without ethics clearance.

USQ commitment

USQ is committed to promoting ethical conduct of research and require all staff and students to ensure:

  • experiments involving human subjects are worthwhile and likely to contribute to new knowledge
  • experiments are conducted and supervised appropriately
  • the rights of experimental subjects are protected.

Applications for human ethics approval are processed through the Office of Research.

Human Research Ethics Committee

The Human Research Ethics Committee is established and conducted in compliance with the NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007).  The primary purpose of the National Statement is the protection of the welfare and rights of participants in research.

The Human Research Ethics Committee is responsible for:

  • reviewing the ethical acceptability of human research
  • advising of any ethical considerations for these proposals
  • ensuring compliance with regulatory and legislative requirements relating to human research.

The general principles followed by the Human Research Ethics Committee in its deliberations are:

  • informed participant consent
  • voluntary participation and right of withdrawal without sanction
  • confidentiality of participants and records
  • secure storage of relevant data for a minimum period of five years after completion of a research project
  • clear, coherent expression of research proposals
  • regular monitoring of research outcomes.

Human Research Involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Whilst the NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007), and Chapter 4.7: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in particular, enables researchers to ‘meet’ rule-based requirements of ethical approval, it is also necessary that researchers engage fully with the implications of difference and values relevant to their research.

The NHRMC Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research are based on the importance of trust, recognition and values. Ethical research therefore, requires not only the limiting of inappropriate behaviour, but also that researchers develop an awareness of the settings that may lead unintentionally to imprudent or untrustworthy behaviours.

Researchers who propose to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should ensure that they have read and addressed the above guidelines, together with the Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies (GERAIS).

Note: If you are planning to undertake health and/or wellbeing research involving Aboriginal people in New South Wales, then you must also submit your proposal to the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) Ethics Committee for review prior to its commencement. Telephone (02) 9212 4777 or email:

Further information

For further information about the human ethics process, please email or telephone +61 7 4631 2690.