Human research is with or about people, or their data or tissue, and involves people through:

  • surveys, interviews or focus groups;
  • psychological, physiological or medical testing or treatment;
  • observations by researchers;
  • researchers having access to their personal documents or other materials;
  • the collection and use of their body organs, tissues or fluids (e.g skin, blood, urine, saliva, hair, bones, tumour and other biopsy specimens) or their exhaled breath;
  • access to their information (in individually identifiable, re-identifiable or non-identifiable form) as part of an existing published or unpublished source or database.
Some of the 'participants' above may not even know they are the subjects of research, if consent is waived. Human research may also impact non-participants. These must be considered in the research design and ethical review.

Researcher's responsibilities

Researchers must:

  • design and conduct their research in accordance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research; and
  • ensure that their research is ethically reviewed, conducted and monitored in accordance with the National Statement.

Human research must be reviewed and approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee BEFORE the research may commence. Ethics approvals may not be granted retrospectively. Sub-committees assist with low risk applications.

It is your responsibility to ensure that this National Statement is used in your research proposals, application for ethics approval and ethics review

Commencing research without ethics approval is a breach of both the National Statement and Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (below).

Why is human ethics important?

Murdoch University researchers are expected to comply with the National Statement to:

  • protect and respect research participants;
  • protect researchers' rights to conduct legitimate investigation; and
  • protect Murdoch University's research reputation.

How do I apply for human ethics approval?

You will need to apply online via the Human Ethics module in IRMA.


Human ethics workshops are available online through

Click on the user menu and then on “Register" and complete the form – IMPORTANT – your token is restricted to the email or, which means that users can use the token only if they register with these email domains.

The token you should enter in the registration form is c8071961.

Once registration is complete, users can login.



Contact us

Human Research Ethics Officer