Applying - Human Ethics - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

How to apply to the HEC

Any research or teaching activity in which persons are subjected to experimental procedures or observation or questioning or otherwise used as a source of information or data unless excluded by the scope and exemptions in the Human Ethics Committee Principles and Guidelines.

The Human Ethics Committee of the University of Canterbury (HEC), only accepts project applications for review from:

  • academic staff of the University of Canterbury
  • visiting academic staff
  • Research Associates of the University of Canterbury, as endorsed by an academic staff member
  • students who are enrolled in a course of study at the University of Canterbury and who will carry out research under the supervision of, or in collaboration with, an academic staff member of the university

Please note that it is not possible to grant “retrospective” ethics approval for projects.

Health Research Review

If your research involves any of the following, you may also require, by law, review by the Ministry of Health administered Health & Disability Ethics Committees (HDEC). 

  • human participants recruited in their capacity as:
    • consumers of health or disability support services, or
    • relatives or caregivers of such consumers, or
    • volunteers in clinical trials; or
  • human tissue; or
  • health information.

Does your study require HDEC review? (PDF, 96KB)
Check this flow chart for preliminary guidance on whether or not review by HDEC is required.

See the Health and Disability Ethics Committees (HDECs) website for more information.

Should you require HDEC review, the University of Canterbury requires a finalised copy of your application when it is submitted and when it is approved and reserves the right to ask for changes within the scope of HDEC’s approval.

Application Forms

In 2015 the Human Ethics Committee revised its application forms and processes. Applicants are now required to fill out a coversheet and the application form. Staff members and students fill out different coversheets. The coversheets contain all the contact details of applicants, and enable to request low risk (and thus expedited) review.

We hope you find the new forms easier to fill out than the old forms.

Please send the Chair an email jane.maidment@canterbury.ac.nz if you have suggestions as to how to improve their legibility or flow.

Further Information

  • TREAD (The Research Ethics Application Database) - for examples of ethics applications from around the world
  • Survey Policy - If you are surveying students or staff at the University of Canterbury,
  • The aspirational New Brunswick Declaration on Research Ethics (PDF) (promoting respect and equality for all in the regulation of research ethics).
  • Ethical Research Involving Children: A product of the ERIC (Ethical Research Involving Children) to help researchers consider the ethical complexities of research involving children. ERIC is a joint project between UNICEF’s Office of Research, Innocenti, the Childwatch International Research Network, the Centre for Children and Young People at Southern Cross University, Australia, and the Children’s Issues Centre at the University of Otago, New Zealand. 
  • Subjects Wanted: helping researchers connect with potential participants.

Application Process

The general procedure for all applications to the HEC (excepting that at the review stage, low risk applications are seen by a maximum of two committee members):

Application

  • Application forms are downloaded and filled in by the applicant. 
  • Student applications are reviewed, edited and signed by Supervisors.
  • Applications are submitted to the Ethics Secretary. For the review process to start, the Secretary must receive:
    • one hard copy with all signatures completed (Ethics Secretary, Level 5 South, Matariki) and
    • one e-copy of that fully signed application (human-ethics@canterbury.ac.nz)

Review

  • Applications are circulated to HEC members for their review and comment.
  • HEC responses to applicants will be via email within three weeks (low risk two weeks) where the application has all required documentation and signatures. 
  • HEC member responses are collated by the Chair and the Secretary and a response is sent to the applicant by email (it is very unusual that applications do not need some adjustments in response to HEC queries so applicants should expect some questions from the HEC).
  • Applicant reviews response from HEC and replies via email.
  • Committee reviews applicant’s response and either approves the applicant or asks further questions.

Approval

  • Final approval is by email and electronic approval letter from the Secretary.

The Committee meets several times a year to discuss general ethical issues and applications where necessary.
Please note that, in very special circumstances, expedited review is possible.  Please contact the Chair in the first instance.

Who should apply to the Human Ethics Committee

Any research or teaching activity in which persons are subjected to experimental procedures or observation or questioning or otherwise used as a source of information or data unless excluded by the scope and exemptions in the Human Ethics Committee Principles and Guidelines.

Please refer to the Policy, Guidelines and Principles linked from the top right of the page.