Projects with Prior Approval

Recognition of prior approval from another Human Research Ethics Committee

According to the National Statement, Chapter 5.3, institutions should wherever possible 'minimise unnecessary duplication of ethical review'.

As of 16 November 2020, the ANU Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) will recognise approval from other NHMRC-registered Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs). This means that if your research has already been approved by another NHMRC-registered HREC, you may not need to re-apply for ethics approval at ANU. If this applies to you:

  • you do not need to submit an application in ARIES
  • you do not need to notify the ANU Ethics Office when making amendments to your project
  • you do not need to add the ANU logo or ANU Ethics Office contact details to your participant information sheet

This means that ANU does not take responsibility for monitoring these research projects. This process only applies to research which is already being monitored by another institution. 

Can my prior approval be recognised by ANU HREC?

Your protocol must meet these conditions in order to qualify:

  1. The HREC that approved the research protocol must be registered with NHMRC.
  2. Your ethics protocol must be currently active – this means the approval has not yet expired, and you are still obligated under the National Statement to provide regular reports to that institution's HREC as per their standard processes.
  3. Your research must not be targeting recruitment of ANU staff and students as participants (e.g., interviewing ANU staff or students, recruiting ANU students through SONA).

This process also does not apply to new ANU researchers seeking to transfer human ethics approval from a previous institution to ANU. 

If you think your research project is eligible, you can notify us about your prior approval using the "Notification of Prior Approval Form". You will receive an email confirming your Notification of Prior Approval if you qualify.

Upon receiving this email confirmation, you are free to continue your research without applying for ethics approval at ANU. 


Expedited application process for other prior approvals

If your project has been reviewed by another HREC, but is not eligible for Notification of Prior Approval, then your project will be reviewed as an Expedited Level 1 (E1) application (no matter the original review or risk level of the research). On submission, the application will be reviewed out-of-session by the chair of your area Delegated Ethics Review Committee (DERC).

Please submit an application in ARIES as per normal, and make sure to upload a) your original application and b) evidence of the prior HREC approval as supporting documents.


Transferring an ethics approval to ANU

If you are a new ANU researcher seeking to transfer human ethics approval from a previous institution to ANU, please submit a new E1 application as above. When your ANU application has been approved, you can notify your old institution that the protocol has been transferred to ANU and they will then close their record of the protocol.

If you are continuing to work with your old institution to conduct this research project, then you don't have to transfer the approval to ANU. The ANU HREC will recognise your prior approval (as in the Notification of Prior Approval process above) while the original ethics protocol remains active. However, you should contact your old institution to request that someone remaining at that institution become the Primary Investigator (PI), and that you are then listed as an external co-investigator. The protocol will continue to be monitored by your old institution - ANU will not have oversight over this research.

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