How does COVID-19 affect my research?
The University Research Continuity Working Group is assessing the impact of COVID-19 on ANU research. Please refer to the University COVID-19 ethics advice and check the COVID-19 news page regularly for updates.
With research activity increasing it is important to remember that if modifications need to be made to approved ethics protocols, you must submit a variation request. Careful consideration needs to be given to adjusting projects to adhere to restrictions around COVID-19, and to manage any additional risks to research participants (both physical and psychological). For some guidance on when variation requests are required and how to submit one, see this brief video (2.5 minutes).
The HREC will notify the primary investigator, and where applicable, supervisors, once approval has been granted. Where there are outstanding matters the HREC will include this in the approval notification. These outstanding matters need to be addressed and provided to the Ethics Office as soon as possible.
Changes to approved research projects
As a research project evolves, sometimes you need to deviate from the plan which the committee approved. If you think you will need to change something about your research protocol, you need to let the committee know beforehand. The HREC does not grant retrospective approval for changes to research projects.
Variation requests are reviewed out of session by the HREC Chair, usually within a few days. You can submit a variation request from the 'Variation' tab of your protocol in ARIES. See the video above for more information on how to do this.
Please note: any variation requests submitted by students at ANU must also be supported by the research supervisor.
Under the NHMRC ethical guidelines, the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2018), research projects that have received ethical clearance from The Australian National University HREC will need to provide a brief report on whether the research proceeded according to the plan outlined in the protocol and any ethical issues which may have arisen during the research. To minimise disruption to ongoing research activities, the Ethics Office will send a reminder email at regular intervals to submit the report using ARIES. The report consists of short questions that update the Ethics Office on the status of your project. Please consult the ARIES Monitoring Guide if you have any issues submitting your latest monitoring report.
When the data collection phase of the research project is completed you need to advise the Research Ethics team. You can advise the team of your completed data collection under the Monitoring tab in ARIES. It is possible to re-open a completed protocol if further data collection is needed. Please contact the Ethics Office in this instance.
The validity of approval for a protocol is five years' maximum from the date of approval. For longer projects you are required to seek advice on whether the protocol can be extended or a new submission is required. Researchers will be informed by the Ethics Office when their protocol is two months from expiry.