Before You Begin

Do I need ANU Human Ethics approval?

All Australian National University researchers (staff or students) who intend on conducting research involving the collection of data from human participants require ANU Human Ethics approval prior to beginning data collection. (See FAQ: Do I need ethics approval?)


When to Start Thinking About Ethics Clearance

Obtaining ethics clearance may be a time consuming process and allowance for this needs to be built into research plans. High risk applications are assessed monthly and depending on the amendments requested by the Committee, may take longer than 8 weeks for approval. Lower risk applications are assessed more frequently and have a shorter turnaround time. (See FAQ: How long does it take to get approval?)

PhD students should submit their ethics applications after they have completed their proposal seminar and been given permission to commence fieldwork.


How to Start Thinking About Ethics Clearance

Key Ethical Concerns

If you think your proposed research will need ethics clearance, you should start the process by reading The National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research (2018). Section 3 of the National Statement provides valuable guidance in the ethical considerations in the design, development, review and conduct of research. A summary of the key ethical concerns in the National Statement is available here: Key Ethical Concerns.

You may be researching in a specific area or with a particular group which has specific policies and guidelines that you need to follow. You can check this on our Policy and Guidelines for Specific Research Areas page.


The ANU Ethics Application Process

At the ANU, a three-level classification of ethical risk is used to simplify the preparation and ethical review of applications. The application process and timeline differ slightly, depending on the risk level classification. An overview of the entire application process for all three risk levels is available in the ANU Human Ethics Submission Process flowchart. The flowchart includes links to the submission deadlines for each risk level. For more information on the risk levels, see FAQ: What is the risk level of my research?

The application must be completed on-line using the application form in the Australian National University Research Enterprise System (ARIES).


Summary: What you need to do

Before applying for ethics approval you should:


What else do I need to know?

Submitting and Finalising the Application

Once your application is complete and you have submitted online in ARIES, you must send a signed PDF of your application (the PDF must also include all relevant documents) to the Research Ethics team ( It is only after this signed copy is received that the application is finalised, and will be assigned to the next Committee meeting.

You can “print” (to PDF) an application from ARIES from the Header tab in your application. The print button is located next to the Submit button.


After the Application is Reviewed

After your protocol is reviewed at the appropriate Ethics Committee meeting, you will receive a response from the Committee requesting clarification on certain details about your project or changes to ensure that the project is fully compliant with the National Statement. Your response to the feedback from the Committee is then reviewed out-of-session by the Chair of the Committee. There may be some back and forth until both parties are satisfied with the final protocol and documentation.


Additional Useful Links


I need help with my Ethics application

If you require assistance with your Ethics application:

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