Update on COVID-19

as of 31/03/2021

Commonwealth and Australian State as well as International Regulator Updates: click here.

For overarching UNSW Guidelines please visit https://www.covid-19.unsw.edu.au/.

Will the ethical review of new Human Research Ethics Submissions continue?

The UNSW HRECs and HREAPs will continue to review Human Ethics submissions via its regular schedule of meetings. Researchers should consider postponing research, delaying physical recruitment, travel or revising research procedures/data collection activities that involve person to person contact until the COVID-19 situation has improved. Possible suggestions for revisions to study procedures include:

  • Delivery of interviews, focus groups or online intervention training via Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Skype and/or via telephone.
  • Administration of interview questions via electronic data capture platforms such as REDCap or Qualtrics.

Before modifying research procedures, research teams should consider whether the revisions may result in participants experiencing difficulties using technologies, personal information such as names or email addresses being inadvertently disclosed via the platforms being used, or the protocols for responding to those that show signs of distress may not appropriately support those in need. For these reasons to justify the delivery of research using these methods research teams must provide appropriate strategies for minimising the risk of an event occurring. 

Are there specific review considerations for COVID-19 Human Research?

New research relating to COVID-19 where required can be reviewed by a HREC or HREAP via an extra ordinary meeting process. All current human ethics review procedures, guidelines and requirements still apply when submitting applications for review. Researchers should contact the office via humanethics@unsw.edu.au to seek access or review via this meeting process. 

How can I proceed with an approved Human Research Project?

Researchers should consider postponing research, delaying physical recruitment, travel or revising research procedures/data collection activities that involve person to person contact until the COVID-19 situation has improved. Any modifications to the human research protocols must be reviewed and approved by the approving HREC or HREAP before implementation. The HRECs and HREAPs will continue to review Human Ethics submissions via its regular schedule of meetings.

To protect yourself and others, research occurring within health services, aged care facilities or hospitals should consider postponing or delaying its conduct or follow the recommendations released by these services in response to the COVID-19 situation. 

How do I get advice or support from the Human Ethics Team?

The human ethics team continues to work remotely. If you are having difficulty reaching the team via phone you can email humanethics@unsw.edu.au  or send a chat message to one of the following via Microsoft Teams Chat:

  • Human Research Manager - Leonne Thompson T: 02 9385 6222
  • Human Ethics Officer (HREC A & B) - Melanie Mora T: 02 9385 7007
  • Human Ethics Officer (Negligible & Low Risk) - Natalie Bootes  02 9065 8305
  • Human Ethics Officer - Malory Plummer (Negligible & Low Risk) - Maternity Leave until 2021
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