COVID-19 Updates (Human Ethics)

Updated January 2022

The ANU Human Research Ethics Committee (and delegated committees) are working hard with the Research Ethics Team to keep to our usual application review cycles, based on the usual submission deadlines.

Please keep in mind that:

  • Not all Committees are running at full capacity. We request that applicants are polite and patient during the submission and review process - Committee members are your fellow colleagues.
  • Due to the ever-changing nature of the current situation and the increased risk environment for research participants, the review of applications is taking longer and there may be delays in the review of your application. Every effort will be made to communicate delays directly with applicants.
  • We strongly urge researchers to put participant well-being at the forefront and defer face-to-face data collection until the Omicron surge has peaked and cases are declining.

Please continue to follow all hygiene and social distancing guidelines, and always keep the changing situation and your participants' wellbeing in mind as you plan your research.

 

Fieldwork

The HREC strongly urge researchers to put participant well-being at the forefront and defer face-to-face data collection until the Omicron surge has peaked and cases are declining.

The re-commencement of fieldwork in all Australian states or territories will be approved, provided that:

  • Required ANU protocols are met.
  • A COVID-19 Fieldwork Plan has been approved by your supervisor.
  • A travel form and all supporting documentation have been approved in the ANU Travel System.

Information about travelling overseas and within Australia is available on the COVID Pathway to 2022 page.

 

Re-introduction of Face-to-face Research

As part of restarting face-to-face research, it is a requirement that all relevant COVID-19 related social distancing and hygiene practices are implemented.


With research activity increasing on campus, regulatory requirements must still be met in regards to ethics protocols, and any changes in government restrictions will immediately override any protocols in place around resumed research. Any new work proposed would need to provide a strong argument as to why face-to-face methods are integral to the research as opposed to other approaches, which would minimise in-person interactions.


All researchers looking to resume face-to-face research must develop contingency plans should restrictions tighten again. Careful consideration and planning is required to avoid placing participants at risk for little or no benefit - if the situation changes and data collection methods have to be modified partway through a project, this could potentially render early collection with differing methods unusable. Contingency plans should also allow for immunocompromised individuals to participate, and/or those potential participants who would be uncomfortable with face-to-face methods but would like to be involved

 

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