Manual of Policies and Procedures

D/6.5 University Human Research Ethics Committee charter

Contact Officer

Director, Office of Research Ethics and Integrity

Approval Date

03/12/2018

Approval Authority

Vice-Chancellor and President

Date of Next Review

01/12/2020

6.5.1 Purpose
6.5.2 Accountability
6.5.3 Responsibilities
6.5.4 Membership
6.5.5 Attendance
6.5.6 Meeting frequency
6.5.7 Reporting and communication
6.5.8 Procedures
6.5.9 Secretariat
Related Documents
Modification History

6.5.1 Purpose

The primary responsibility of the University Human Research Ethics Committee (UHREC) is to review and monitor QUT human research to ensure that the research is conducted ethically, with respect, research merit and integrity, justice and beneficence in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (National Statement). The functions of the Committee support compliance with the QUT Code for responsible conduct of research (D/2.6).

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6.5.2 Accountability

University Human Research Ethics Committee is a management committee accountable to the Vice-Chancellor and President through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation).

University Human Research Ethics Committee is registered with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and responsible for reporting to the NHMRC annually for the purposes of meeting its registration requirements.

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6.5.3 Responsibilities

University Human Research Ethics Committee will undertake the following:

Compliance with legislation and standards

  • perform the functions of a Human Research Ethics Committee in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research as issued under the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992.

Policy, procedures and guidelines

  • contribute to the development of policy, procedures and guidance relating to human research ethics.

Review, approval and monitoring of research projects

  • review research projects involving human participants and/or their data or tissue
  • approve only those activities which it considers are ethically acceptable and conform to the requirements of the National Statement
  • monitor the conduct of approved research projects until their completion so as to ensure continued compliance with relevant requirements, and may withdraw approval
  • maintain a register of proposed and approved human research projects/activities
  • receive reports from non-Human Research Ethics Committee levels of ethical review.

Advice

  • advise QUT staff and students through the Office of Research Ethics and Integrity and Research Ethics Advisors on human research ethics matters
  • advise the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation) on issues arising in human research, including procedural matters.

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6.5.4 Membership

The membership of University Human Research Ethics Committee is constituted in accordance with the requirements of the National Statement being a minimum of:

  • a Chairperson, with suitable experience and senior academic standing nominated by the Vice-Chancellor and President. The Chair should be knowledgeable in University policy and procedure, standards and community issues
  • at least two lay people (with gender diversity), who have no affiliation with the institution and do not currently engage in medical, scientific, legal or academic work nominated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation)
  • at least two people with knowledge of and current experience in the professional care, counselling or treatment of people nominated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation)
  • at least one person who performs a pastoral care role in a community, for example a minister of religion nominated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation)
  • at least one person who identifies as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nominated by the Indigenous Education, Research and Employment Committee
  • at least one lawyer, where possible one who is not engaged to advise the institution nominated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation)
  • at least one person with current research experience for example in social media research, biomedical sciences or emerging areas that is relevant to research proposals to be considered, nominated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation)
  • six Faculty Research Ethics Advisors with current research experience that is relevant to research proposals to be considered, nominated by the executive deans of the relevant faculties.

No member may be appointed in more than one of the categories listed above.

To enable the University Human Research Ethics Committee to have available the skills and expertise necessary for the research under review, exact membership numbers have not been prescribed (in some categories). Exact membership numbers are determined by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation).

Alternate members may be appointed in each membership category. These alternate members will have full membership rights when:

  • the ordinary member is unable to attend a meeting, or
  • a project from the ordinary member is scheduled to be considered at a meeting.

As far as possible the composition of the committee should comprise:

  • a membership with a gender balance in accordance with section 6.16 of Council Procedure 1 (Committees), and
  • at least one third of the members should be external to the University.

One member shall be nominated as Deputy Chair of University Human Research Ethics Committee by the Committee. In addition to the usual duties of a deputy chair, the Deputy Chair acts as Chair in the Chair's absence or while applications or other matters involving the Chair are under consideration.

Terms of office are as detailed in section 6 of Council Procedure 1 (Committees).

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6.5.5 Attendance

Human Research Ethics Coordinator has rights of audience and debate only.

Alternate members when observing, attend with rights of audience and debate only.

University Human Research Ethics Committee may invite people with specific expertise from outside the Committee membership to provide advice, as required.

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6.5.6 Meeting frequency

University Human Research Ethics Committee normally meets monthly or as required.

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6.5.7 Reporting and communication

University Human Research Ethics Committee reports to:

  • QUT Council, Audit and Risk Management Committee, University Research and Innovation Committee and University Academic Board annually through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation). Reports to Council should address numbers and types of activities considered for approval and the outcomes, risk management, any administrative or other difficulties being experienced, and any actions that have supported the educational and training needs of Committee members and researchers.
  • External bodies such as the National Health and Medical Research Council.

University Human Research Ethics Committee may refer matters to University Animal Ethics Committee, University Biosafety Committee, University Health, Safety and Environment Committee, faculty/institute/division health, safety and environment committees and the Director, Office of Research Ethics and Integrity as necessary.

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6.5.8 Procedures

University Human Research Ethics Committee is established in accordance with the National Statement and Council Procedure 1 (Committees).

To comply with the operational requirements of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (the National Statement), University Human Research Ethics Committee has approved Standard Operating Procedures (QUT staff and student access only).

University Human Research Ethics Committee is regulated by Council Procedure No 1 (Committees), with the exception of section 6.15 (the holding of multiple positions by a single member) and 7.7 (quorum) which are inconsistent with requirements of the National Statement.

For all matters relating to the approval of research applications the National Statement prescribes a minimum membership composition of the Committee (s5.1.29 and s5.1.30) but permits the committee to consider applications where there is less than full attendance of the minimum membership at a meeting, as long as the absent members have received a copy of the application(s) and the Chair is satisfied, before a decision is reached, that they have had adequate opportunity to comment upon them. The quorum for all other matters is as per section 7.7 of Council Procedure No 1 (Committees).

Consideration of non-QUT research

University Human Research Ethics Committee normally considers applications only from QUT staff and students. The Committee does not review projects where there is no QUT involvement. An Adjunct Professor or Adjunct Associate Professor (D/2.1) applying for QUT ethics review must do so in the capacity of a co-investigator or co-supervisor only. A QUT staff member must be nominated as the project Chief Investigator and accept ultimate responsibility for the conduct of the project. Consideration will be made in accordance with this charter and at the discretion of the Chair.

Complaints

Any complaints or concerns about the University Human Research Ethics Committee's review process or a decision should be directed in the first instance to the Chair of the Committee. The Committee's Standard Operating Procedures (QUT staff and student access only) provides further details regarding the process and investigation.

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6.5.9 Secretariat

A nominee of the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar is secretary, on recommendation of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation).

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Related Documents

MOPP B/8.1 QUT Staff Code of Conduct

MOPP D/2.6 QUT Code for responsible conduct of research

MOPP D/2.3 Research governance framework

MOPP D/2.4 Monitoring of approved research by a University Review Body

MOPP E/2.1 QUT Student Code of Conduct

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

Keeping research on track II

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research

University Human Research Ethics Committee Standard Operating Procedures (QUT staff and student access only)

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Modification History

Date Sections Source Details
03.12.18 All Vice-Chancellor and President Revised charter
02.02.18 D/6.5.4 Director, Office of Research Ethics and Integrity Membership category regarding members with research experience relevant to proposals clarified to include Faculty Research Ethics Advisors
08.01.18 All Vice Chancellor New committee charter and revised membership to reflect the membership requirements of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research
24.11.16 All Vice Chancellor Revised terms of reference and membership in accordance with committee self-assessment review and to align with legislation
02.12.14 All Vice-Chancellor Periodic review - terms of reference and membership revised
23.07.14 All Vice-Chancellor Revised terms of reference and membership
05.02.13 All Vice-Chancellor Periodic review - no change required

17.12.10

All

University Human Research Ethics Committee

Periodic review - no change required

13.09.10 All

Vice-Chancellor

Terms of reference revised to include reporting through Audit and Risk Management Committee to Council

27.05.08 All

Vice-Chancellor

Revised terms of reference and membership of University Human Research Ethics Committee (endorsed by University Academic Board 04.04.08 and University Research and Innovation Committee 07.03.08); renumbered to D/6.5 (formerly D/6.1.1)

29.06.04

All

Vice-Chancellor

Revised terms of reference and membership provisions, in accordance with recommendations of Vice-Chancellor's Panel of the 2003/2004 Committees Review

05.08.03

All

Acting Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Advancement)

Revised membership provisions to include Research Ethics Officer

27.06.03

All

Secretariat Manager

Added statement re conflict of interest in accordance with Internal Audit Report on Potential Conflict of Interests - Report No 2002/40 (April 2003)

20.02.02

All

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Advancement)

Revised membership provisions in accordance with World Health Organisation Operational Guidelines for Ethics Committees that Review Biomedical Research

07.06.00

All

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Advancement)

Revised membership provisions

25.10.99

All

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Advancement)

Committee reconstituted in accordance with new National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research involving Humans (effective 01.01.2000)

14.04.99

All

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Advancement)

Revised membership (endorsed by University Human Research Ethics Committee 6.4.99)

16.06.98

All

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Advancement)

Added category of lawyer to membership details

02.06.98

All

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Advancement)

Established new committee

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