Research Ethics Risk Definitions

This page provides definitions for Human Research Ethics risk levels.  The Committee Review Group which reviews each risk level is also provided.

'Exempt' research

If you believe your research may fall within the 'Exempt' Risk Category, you should still create an ethics application in the online system.

The system will automatically assess the risk level of your research based on your responses to the 'Project Scope' questions at the beginning of the form.

If your application is assessed as 'Exempt', the form will be automatically shortened.

When you submit, you will be notified via email that your application has been assessed as 'Exempt' and further ethics review is not required.

You are allowed to commence your data collection upon receipt of this email.

Your research project is considered Exempt because:

EITHER

  • negligible risk (i.e., no foreseeable risk of harm or discomfort, and any foreseeable risk is no more than inconvenience); and
  • involves the use of existing collections of data or records that contain only non-identifiable data about human beings.

OR

  • conducted solely for the purpose of internal quality assurance and will not be published or presented externally; or
  • conducted solely for the purpose of internal quality assurance, and may be published externally only if the following criteria are met:
    • the data was gathered online or in writing
    • the responses were provided voluntarily
    • the respondents were advised of the possibility that the data could be used for such purposes; and
    • the anonymity of the respondents is maintained

E1 – Negligible risk research

Research projects in which there is no foreseeable risk of harm or discomfort, and any foreseeable risk is no more than inconvenience (and which are not exempt).

E2 – Low risk research

Research projects in which the only foreseeable risk is one of discomfort

E3 – All other research projects

All other research projects, i.e., more than low risk

Committee Review Group

Risk level

Committee Review Group

Exempt

None

E1

The Chair or Deputy Chair of HREC (E1 Review Group)

E2

A panel comprising the Chair or Deputy Chair of HREC and the Applicant's Research Ethics Advisor (E2 Review Group)

E3

The full Human Research Ethics Committee (E3 Review Group)