The Ethics@Melbourne Project aims to improve how Animal Ethics and Human Ethics are managed at the University of Melbourne
Robust ethics review is the cornerstone of high-quality research. Its role is to consider and manage the risks to people, animals and the environment that are inherent in research so that their rights are respected.
The University of Melbourne is committed to having the highest ethical standards. This requires appropriate time and resource allocation to ensure robust, high-quality ethical review.
The Ethics@Melbourne project aims to strengthen and improve the University's animal and human ethics review processes. As part of this project, the University's current ethics review processes have been reviewed and options for change have been described. These options seek to address the problems identified in balancing a ‘faster’ approval time with a ‘quality’ review process that does not compromise the ethical standards of research at the University.
To add your voice to the consultation
- Find out about the options for change by downloading the the Ethics@Melbourne consultation paper (or executive summary).
- Click on the link below to respond to the survey and indicate your preferred option.
The survey will be open from Thursday 17 May to Thursday 21 June 2018.
- In animal ethics options 2 and 3, do revised applications go back to the same AEC?
Yes. Although there are increased opportunities for new applications to be reviewed at an AEC meeting, all revisions must go back to the same AEC that reviewed the application initially. This means that although new applications may be reviewed more quickly, revisions are still subject to the monthly meeting cycle.
- If HEAGs were centralised, would discipline-specific expertise be lost?
No. The HEAGs would be organised as a hub and spoke model. A central 'hub' would exist, but the 'spokes' would carry the discipline-specific expertise and sit out within disciplines. The aim is to enable more consistency of resourcing and process across HEAGs without losing discipline-specific expertise.
- In human ethics options 2 and 3, who would pre-review the GTLR applications?
Departments and schools will likely have a pool of reviewers who would pre-review GTLR applications outside of the formal ethics review process. These people may or may not also be involved in the formal ethics review process as HEAG members. The idea is that HEAGs review only LNR applications and HESCs review only GTLR applications. Any application (LNR or GTLR) could be pre-reviewed by reviewers with discipline-specific expertise within the department or school before the application is submitted.
- If HEAGs were centralised, wouldn't that just create a duplicate HEAG structure for pre-review?
No. Pre-review would be organised at department/school level and would occur before a formal ethics review application was submitted. Yes, some researchers who may be involved in HEAGs (reviewing LNR) may also be asked by their department/school to pre-review GTLR applications, and so their overall time committment may not be decreased. However, the idea is that HEAGs review LNR and HESCs review GTLR (both administered centrally) whereas departments/schools would organise pre-review of any application according to their own needs, processes and resources.
- What will happen after the consultation survey closes?
After the consultation survey closes, the responses will be compiled and provided to the Research Ethics and Integrity Strategy Committee. They will review the responses and comments and make a recommendation to the DVC(R).
- Why don’t any of the options describe how they would be implemented?
The Ethics@Melbourne Project aims to improve our current ethics processes. Through the consultation survey, we want to hear from you about which aspects of the review process are most important. We understand that this may vary between disciplines and for different roles within the process. It will be impossible to implement processes that address all priorities equally. After we collate your responses, the Research Ethics and Integrity Strategy Committee will be better able to provide a recommendation to the DVC(R) and a decision will be made. After that time, and depending on the results of the consultation, appropriate processes will be put in place.
- Why is this consultation taking place?
The role of ethics review is to consider and manage the risks to research participants so that the rights and interests of research participants are respected. Guidelines and legislation have been enacted by state and federal governments, with the University directly responsible for their implementation. This includes that the University must regularly assess all ethics review processes to ensure they allow those guidelines and legislation to be met. This consultation is a regular part of that process. In addition, REI has received feedback from members of the University community who are concerned that the current ethics review processes are not meeting the requirements of the timely and high-quality review they were established to provide. As research areas and methods have changed over time, the processes supporting ethics review at the University have similarly changed. This has happened before - and it will happen again. This consultation is a continuation of the University's response to the changing needs of all those involved in its ethics review processes. To do that, we need to hear from everyone, including committee members, researchers, students and administrators.
- What if my concerns are not covered by the survey questions?
The survey questions were designed to obtain feedback on the options presented and the elements of the ethics review processes that should be considered. While some of the questions are quite specific, others are general in nature and provide space for your comments. Please use the comments sections to respond to any concerns that are not covered in the survey, we certainly do want to hear from you. If you would like to discuss a specific query with us, please come along to an information session or contact us directly.
- Friday 25 May, 1.00 pm - 2.00 pm
Theatre 1, 207 Bouverie St, Parkville Campus
- Tuesday 29 May, 1.00 pm - 2.00 pm
Forum Theatre, Arts West North Wing, Parkville Campus
- Monday 4 June, 1.15 pm - 2.15 pm
Malaysian Theatre, Melbourne School of Design, Parkville Campus
- Tuesday 12 June, 1.00 pm - 2.00 pm
Theatre 3, FBE 111 Barry St, Parkville Campus
- Thursday 14 June, 1.00 pm - 2.00 pm
Seminar rooms 1 & 2, Building 416, Werribee Campus
For further information contact: email@example.com