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Research Ethics & Integrity

The University of Canberra research community has obligations associated with the responsible conduct of research. These pages include general matters relating to research integrity, as well as specific requirements for the conduct of research that involves animal experimentation, human participants, radiation, gene technology, and export controls.

COVID-19 UPDATE - Safe return to face to face research

All researchers looking to resume face-to-face research must develop a risk assessment and mitigation plan in accordance with current State and Federal restrictions with regard to COVID-19.

As a requirement, these must include implementation of all relevant COVID-19 related social distancing and hygiene practices. Researchers must ensure that these plans are flexible should restrictions tighten again as any changes in State and Federal restrictions will immediately override any approved protocols in place around face to face research.

Researchers should consider postponing research, delaying physical recruitment, travel or revising research procedures/data collection activities that involve person to person contact until the COVID-19 situation has improved. All new face-to-face research proposals must provide a strong justification as to why it is the preferred approach instead of other research methods which minimise person to person contact.

In addition to Government recommendations, researchers must comply with Faculty specific procedures and have approval from their respective Faculty Executive Dean. These may include but are not limited to risk assessment plans and field work forms. The HREC requires that all relevant signed documents be uploaded together with all new ethics applications and amendments that involve face to face research.

University of Canberra resources:

Further COVID-19 Resources:

NHMRC - COVID-19 impacts

NHMRC - COVID-19: Guidance on clinical trials for institutions, HRECs, researchers and sponsors (PDF, 139.78 KB)

ACT Government – COVID-19 advice

NSW Health Guidance Document COVID-19 and Clinical Trials 25 Mar 2020 (PDF, 210.69 KB)

Australian Government COVID-19 guidelines

The University of Canberra is committed to promoting and ensuring the responsible conduct of research. This includes fostering an environment characterised by the following principles:

  • Intellectual honesty in undertaking and reporting research;
  • Respect for all participants in and subjects of research, including humans, animals and the environment;
  • Accuracy in representing contributions to research;
  • Collegiality and fairness in interactions, including communications and sharing of resources with other researchers; and
  • Transparency in declaring conflicts of interest.

It is important that researchers and research students meet their obligations in maintaining high standards of responsible research and adhere to regulations and policies relating to the conduct of research.

Responsible Conduct of Research

The UC Responsible Conduct of Research Policy sets out the University of Canberra's guidelines on the responsible practice of research, and steps to be followed to deal with allegations which may constitute a breach. The policy applies to all members of the University community who are undertaking research. The policy is underpinned by the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research which provides guidance around:

Supporting Research Integrity

As part of its commitment to supporting high standards of research integrity, all members of the UC community are able to access discipline specific training modules that provide guidance on principles of robust research practices and advice on solving complex ethical and integrity issues that they may encounter. In addition, they are designed to ensure researchers fully understand their professional responsibilities.

The Research Integrity Modules are now available online to staff and students.


Research Integrity Advisers

Our Advisers on Integrity in Research are here to guide UC staff and students who may have concerns about research conduct issues. This could include providing assistance in the interpretation of misconduct in research as detailed in the UC Responsible Conduct of Research Policy as well as the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, providing confidential advice in instances where staff or students/trainees are considering reporting research misconduct, and explaining options available in the event that an allegation of misconduct is to be pursued. If you would like to speak to an advisor they are available through email below. All matters are confidential.

Professor Nick Brown

Dr Peter Copeman (Adjunct)

Professor Tariq Ezaz

Professor Dennis Foley

Assoc Prof Katja Mikhailovich (Adjunct)

Dr Barbara Walsh

All projects undertaken at the University of Canberra that involve the use of animals either for research, teaching or other experimental study in which animals are used must be approved by the Animal Ethics Committee (AEC).

An animal is defined as any vertebrate (other than a human being) and includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Adult decapod crustaceans and cephalopods also fall under the definition of animal for the intents and purposes of the legislation and code that protects the welfare of animals used for research.

The ACT Animal Welfare Act (1992) and the Code of Practice for the Care and use of Animals for Scientific Purposes stipulate that approval must be obtained from the institutional AEC before animals are used for research or teaching. This legislation was introduced to protect the welfare of animals, by ensuring that their use in research and teaching is always humane, considerate, responsible and justified.

All complaints in relation to projects using animals should be sent in writing to the Secretariat. For further information please see the Complaints Procedure.

The Terms of Reference outlines the purpose and the role of the Animal Ethics Committee.

Animal Ethics Documents

Students and Staff at the University of Canberra who intend to conduct research with human participants must apply to the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) for approval before commencing their projects. This could include research that involves conducting questionnaires, surveys and physically invasive procedures. Ethics approval ensures that research complies with established guidelines, notably the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. The Human Research Ethics Manual provides guidance on the framework in which the HREC operates, principles for responsible practice in research, the process for seeking ethics clearance, and the evaluation process.

Human Research Ethics Committee

The HREC is constituted in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. The HREC's primary responsibility is to ensure that the welfare and rights of participants in research are protected. The Committee Working Procedures provide details on meeting procedures, decision-making processes and handling of ethics applications.

Human Ethics Documents

The Institutional Biosafety and Radiation Committee (IBRC) for the University of Canberra was established to fulfil the role as required by the Gene Technology Regulations Act 2001 and to ensure ionising and non-ionising radiation safety across the University in accordance with the Radiation Protection Act 2006 and the Radiation Protection Regulation 2007.  

Before commencing any research project involving GMOs and/or ionising and non-ionising radiation, staff and students at the University are required to submit an application to the UC Biosafety and Radiation Committee and obtain written approval to ensure that all statutory requirements are met. For more information regarding the Committee, please refer to the Institutional Biosafety and Radiation Committee Terms of Reference.