Ethics Committee

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The Ethics Committee is a registered Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) that approves all high risk research projects. The committee:

  • reviews research proposals, ensuring the privacy, welfare and rights of those involved are upheld
  • offers independent advice to RACS via the Professional Development and Standards Board (PDSB) on ethical matters
  • aims to develop policies and position statements relevant to the protection of those taking part in research projects.

The committee reports to RACS through the Professional Development and Standards Board and submits an annual HREC report to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to declare its observance of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research.

If your research proposal has been approved by an external HREC it is not necessary to resubmit an Ethics Committee application.

The National Ethics Application Form (NEAF) has been replaced by the Human Research Ethics Application (HREA). Information about HREA is available from the HREA website.

From Friday 31 March 2017, users will no longer be able to create new proposals using NEAF. Users can access their NEAF accounts to copy or export any proposal data they wish to keep up until Friday 30 June 2017.

The NEAF website will be decommissioned on Friday 30 June 2017 and users will no longer have any access to NEAF. NEAF proposal data will not be retained.

Researchers who generate and submit applications to Australian public hospital Human Research Ethics Committees as part of the jurisdictional National Mutual Acceptance scheme, can continue to use Online Forms. A transition to the HREA for these public hospitals is anticipated to occur in mid to late 2017. More information about HREA is available from the HREA website.

All low risk non-HREC Ethics requests for ethical considerations in quality assurance and evaluation activities (ie. audits, registries, data collection etc) bypass the RACS Ethics Committee and are approved by a separate mechanism - via the Executive Director of Surgical Affairs (EDSA) who will provide ethics approval letters separate to the RACS Ethics Committee. Please refer to the NHMRC guidelines Ethical Considerations in Quality Assurance and Evaluation Activities (link to NHMRC).

Please send all low risk non-HREC Ethics requests via email directly to RACS Executive Director of Surgical Affairs.

All Ethics applications involving the conduct of surveys of RACS members bypass the RACS Ethics Committee and are approved by a separate mechanism - via the Executive Director of Surgical Affairs who will provide ethics approval letters separate to the RACS Ethics Committee. Please refer to the RACS policy Approval to Conduct Surveys.

Please send all Ethics application survey requests via email to the RACS Evaluation and Surveys Coordinator, Education and Development and Research Department within RACS.

Enquiries & Applications

The Ethics Committee will meet on the following dates. Applications are required by the closing date indicated:

6.00pm (AEST), Monday, 24 October 2016 - face-to-face meeting
(Closing date for applications: Monday, 29 August 2016)

6.00pm (AEDT), Monday, 27 February 2017 - by teleconference
(Closing date for applications: Monday, 2 January 2017)

6.00pm (AEST), Monday, 26 June 2017 - by teleconference
(Closing date for applications: Monday, 1 May 2017)

6.00pm (AEST), Monday, 23 October 2017 - face-to-face meeting
(Closing date for applications: Monday, 28 August 2017)

High risk application enquiries

Please forward your high risk HREC Ethics Committee application enquiries to the Secretariat.

Low risk application enquiries

Please forward your low risk non HREC Ethics application enquiries to the EDSA.

Research Survey enquiries

Please forward your Research Survey enquiries to the Evaluation and Surveys Coordinator.

Governance

Ethics Committee Terms of Reference

Committee Chair - Mr Neil Vallance FRACS

Executive Director of Surgical Affairs (EDSA) - Dr John Quinn

Evaluation and Surveys Coordinator - Mr Michael Rasmussen

Resources

Ethics Commmittee Application Report Form (PDF 485KB)
Request to change an original Ethics Committee Application Form (PDF 595KB)
National Statement for Ethical Standards in Research Involving Humans (Link to NHMRC)
Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (Link to NHMRC)
Ethical Considerations in Quality Assurance and Evaluation Activities (Link to NHMRC)

Contact

Ethics Committee Secretariat
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
College of Surgeons' Gardens
250-290 Spring Street
East Melbourne VIC 3002 Australia

Telephone: +61 3 9276 7446
Fax: +61 3 9276 7432
Email: ethics@surgeons.org