Department of Health Human Research Ethics Committee

All research involving humans, funded or conducted by the Department of Health, must be approved by a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). The Australian Government Department of Health Human Research Ethics Committee ('the Committee') is an approved HREC.

Page last updated: 19 May 2015

About the Department of Health Human Research Ethics Committee

The role of the Australian Government Department of Health Human Research Ethics Committee, an approved Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), is to provide ethical assessment of non-biomedical research proposals involving humans that:

  • are funded by the Department of Health; or
  • require access to, or linkage of, Departmental data collections; or
  • are initiated or conducted, either wholly or in part, by Departmental staff;

    and either

  • have not been considered by another HREC; or
  • have been referred to the Committee by a data custodian or by a senior executive of the Department.

The Committee's objectives include:

  • protection of the welfare and the rights, including privacy and confidentiality, of participants involved, either directly or indirectly, in the proposals referred to it;
  • promotion of ethical standards in human research and in information privacy, in research proposals referred to it, by providing guidance to the researcher/s; and
  • facilitation of ethical research, through efficient and effective review processes.

The Committee operates in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 (updated May 2015) as issued by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and reports annually to the Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC), a subcommittee of the NHMRC.


  • Completed research applications MUST be received by the Committee Secretariat at least 13 working days before the Committee meeting.
  • The ethics process can be lengthy if you do not submit ALL the information as requested in the Application Form. For applications that include all required information, please allow a minimum of 4 weeks for ethical approval.
  • The Committee will provide assistance to you in determining whether or not your project does need HREC approval. Please contact the Committee Secretariat with details of your research who will refer your enquiry to the Chair of the Committee.
  • The Committee maintains a record for all research projects of which it makes an assessment including the date of approval and the period for which approval is granted.
  • If requested, the Committee will review research applications that involve research ON departmental staff.
  • Data custodians may stipulate clearance by the Committee as a condition that must be met for the release of data, whether or not the research has received ethical approval from another HREC.
  • The Committee is not responsible for the release of Departmental data. Release of data must be provided by the appropriate data custodian. Release of Departmental data does not constitute evidence of a review by a HREC.

Terms of Reference

View the Terms of Reference for the Committee.
Submissions to the Department of Health Human Research Ethics Committee
Information on how to make a submission to the Department of Health Human Research Ethics Committee.

>> Making a submission

Contacting the DEC

>> Contact Us