The minimum standards required for any research conducted with or about humans — including their data, their information or their tissue — is provided by the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2023). It is the responsibility of all researchers and research offices to ensure that they are consulting the current version of this National Statement when developing research proposals, making submissions for ethics review and undertaking ethic reviews.

Researchers must examine the effect of their research on all participants — whether a person is a knowing participant or not — as well as any adverse effect the research may have on the lives of those who may be connected with, but not directly participating in, the research.

Expectations for Swinburne researchers conducting research involving humans:

  • Be familiar with relevant Swinburne policies and procedures that concern human research activity.
  • Be familiar with applicable sections and details in the National Statement and any applicable legislation or other guidelines.
  • Plan for their research activity by including realistic timeframes as well as methods and outcomes that are academically, professionally and ethically sound.
  • If applicable, use the appropriate form(s) and apply for prior ethical review from the designated ethical review body.
  • Only commence human research activity after ethics clearance has been expressly issued and only do so in full compliance with the terms of the clearance.
  • Apply for prior clearance for proposed amendments to current approved protocols.
  • If there’s an emergency that requires research protocols to be amended quickly, such as to ensure the safety of those involved, notify the Swinburne University Human Research Ethics Committee and/or other relevant people as soon as possible. 
  • At a minimum, report annually and at the conclusion (or cessation) of any approved human research activity.

Further information

Ethics advisers

If you’re a Swinburne researcher, your first point of contact for seeking advice on human research ethics should be the relevant adviser.

Research Ethics Advisors (REAs) are members of Swinburne’s Human Research Ethics Sub-committees and are available to advise on research ethics queries from staff and students.. The role of REAs is not to write your ethics application, but to provide support by:

  • advising on whether your research requires ethics review and what level of review is needed (ie. SUHREC or SHESC);
  • highlighting discipline-specific ethical issues in research activities;
  • assisting with the design of your research to ensure compliance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research;
  • conducting a pre-review of draft ethics applications prior to submission (note: this is different to peer-review);
  • assisting with response to committee feedback post-review;
  • providing general advice on ethics processes at Swinburne

Please be respectful of the Advisors’ other commitments by allowing sufficient time for them to consider and respond to your queries.

For student projects, assistance from a Research Ethics Advisor should be done in conjunction with your supervisor.

The following information provides contact details for REAs and a description of their research areas.

Swinburne Australia

Swinburne Sarawak

Research ethics adviser
Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Science
Professor Bee Theng Lau
Associate Professor Hwang Siaw San
Dr Jibril Adewale Bamgbade
Associate Professor Viknesh Andiappan
Dr Irine Runnie Henry Ginjom
Faculty of Business, Design and Arts
Dr Marc Arul Weissmann
School of Foundation Studies
Mr James Loi Chun Han

The Swinburne University Human Research Ethics Committee (SUHREC) reviews human research proposals to ensure that they accord with the National Statement and are ethically acceptable before giving approval for the project’s commencement. Each SUHREC meeting is constituted and operated in accordance with the provisions of the National Statement. 

SUHREC terms of reference

SUHREC terms of reference

‌Find out more about the committee’s terms of reference, composition and operating arrangements.

Current committee

Membership category
Professor Paula Swatman
Lay people

Ms Jen Lawrie-Smith

Mr Iain Messer 

Ms Lesley Milburn 

Mr Lindsay Stodden

Professional care/counselling

Ms Catherine Cross

Dr Charmaine Gittleson 

Dr Julie Stevens 

Dr Karen Wayne

Pastoral/spiritual care
Rev. Fionna Chia
Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton

Dr Mitchell Adams 

Mr Paul Natoli

Mr Dominic Brown


Dr César Albarrán-Torres 

Dr Sharon Grant 

Professor Maja Nedeljkovic

Professor Sonja Pedell

Dr Paul Scifleet

Dr Julian Vieceli

Dr Stella Koritsas

Dr Sean Carruthers

Dr Ravi Iyer

Assoc. Prof. Ant Sowards

Apply for committee membership

If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Swinburne University Human Research Ethics Committee (SUHREC), please download these two documents:

Information for SUHREC applicants [DOCX 46KB]

Application form for SUHREC membership [DOCX 40KB]

Apply for sub-committee membership

The SUHREC sub-committees are known as SHESC (Swinburne Human Ethics Sub-Committee). Consistent with the National Statement, the sub-committees review low-risk research involving people or their data or tissue.

If you’re a current Swinburne researcher and are interested in becoming a member of a SUHREC sub-committee, please contact

Swinburne researchers accessing, collecting, retaining, using or disclosing data pertaining to individuals will in some way be covered by various Commonwealth or Victorian legislation or guidelines on privacy of people or their information. The terms “personal information”, “health information” and “sensitive information” have particular definitions in the legislation and associated Principles. Clear language and meaning is required regarding “identifiable”, “re-identifiable”, "potentially identifiable", “non-identifiable” or “de-identified” information or data. For example: “de-identified” can mean temporary removal of names and substitution with codes that permit later rematching of data. Researchers should also take care with “anonymity” (literally no name) and “confidentiality” (the information collected or used may not use names but may still permit someone’s identity to be worked out). When planning their research, researchers should give due consideration both to the legal and ethical issues involved.

Some guidance is provided within Swinburne’s Privacy Guidelines and Standards. Further applicable legislation or standards depends on where the information is being collected or held — such as by a Commonwealth agency, a Victorian Public Sector Organisation, a Health Service Provider or a Private Sector body — and in what form. 

Australian privacy law:

Victorian privacy law:

For any research involving clinical trials or innovative therapy or intervention, see Chapter 3.1 of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct In Human Research 2023.

Also refer to the following:

Clinical trials registration (Australia or international)

Swinburne researchers are obliged to register all clinical trials with a recognised clinical trials registry. Registration needs to occur prior to commencement of a trial. The leading registry in Australia is the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR).

To undertake research in schools, researchers have to first establish what prior authority is required to approach or involve schools. In the case of Victorian Government schools, prior ‘in principle’ Departmental approval is required before principals can be approached to involve any staff or students. A similar arrangement of prior approval from the Director of the Catholic Education Office is required for Melbourne Catholic Diocesan schools.

Note: There are some exceptions to procedures for government and Catholic schools, such as when a student researcher is also a staff member of a particular school. However, the required proper procedure should be established early when planning to undertake research in schools. 

In the case of independent schools, researchers can usually seek approval in the first instance from the head of school.

Further information:

Proposals for research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be developed in respectful consultation with leaders and/or members of the communities concerned and in consultation with the applicable guidelines:

Please contact the Senior Research Ethics Coordinator on +61 3 9214 3845 or as soon as possible if you are considering or proposing research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (or other Indigenous Peoples) in case additional requirements have to be met. All proposals significantly involving Indigenous Australians require ethical review by SUHREC, with extra-committee confidential advice obtained as appropriate.

Proposals for research involving overseas Indigenous or First Nations Peoples should take note of applicable guidelines issued within the relevant jurisdiction.

Explore our other ethics and integrity topics

Contact us for more information

If you’re unsure about any aspects of human research or would like more information, please contact Research Ethics by emailing

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