Cancer Council NSW is committed to best ethical practice in all aspects of research.

Ethics approvals are required by

  • Researchers funded by Cancer Council.  Researchers must hold all relevant ethics, site specific approvals, and other regulatory approvals before commencing research.
  • Research conducted by Cancer Council NSW researchers.  Research must be approved by Cancer Council’s Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007).
  • Researchers who wish to access data owned or held by Cancer Council NSW. Researchers must hold all relevant ethics approvals before access will be granted. Researchers may be required to enter into a Data Transfer Agreement. To find out how to access data please contact the Cancer Research Division at

How to apply for human research ethics approval

  1. Cancer Council accepts application forms from Human Research Ethics Application (HREA)
    or Australia Online Forms for Research.
  2. Provide evidence of research merit e.g. NHMRC or ARC grant ID OR submit Peer-Review-Guidelines-and-Report-Template
  3. Submit applications via email to: by the deadlines listed below.
  4. Applications are reviewed by the HREC on the dates listed below.
  5. Approvals – Cancer Council provides fair and timely review. The initial review notification will be received within 5 business days after the meeting date. Researchers may contact the Research Governance Officer via email or telephone, if they do not receive a response within this time frame.

Application deadlines and HREC meeting dates for 2020

(Close of Business)
Meeting Date
21 January 6 February
17 March 2 April
19 May 4 June
21 July 6 August
15 September 1 October
17 November 3 December


Key Information for applicants seeking ethics approval 

  1. Applicants must provide evidence of prior scientific review, for example, NHMRC Grant ID, or other evidence the planned research has undergone review of research merit and integrity.
  2. If using the HREA from the NSW Health mirror site, the submitted application must be locked.
  3. If the study involves recruitment of participants, a number of core attachments in addition to the form are needed to complete the application. Please provide:
      – Participant Information Sheet
      – Consent Form
      – Survey/Questionnaire or Interview Schedule.
    All these documents must be dated and have version numbers in the footer.
    Example of Participant Information Sheet and Consent Form.
  4. If the study involves the collection of data via a third party’s server (eg. SurveyMonkey etc) you must:
      – provide assurance that the third-party’s server meets appropriate international standards of security
      – provide assurance that the site provides sufficient protection to meet our obligations under Australian privacy principles
      – indicate that the third party’s server provides researchers the capability to extract and delete the data from the third party’s server.
  5. Applications must be signed final versions. If researchers are unable to obtain all relevant signatures by the application deadline, they should still submit the application on the understanding that signatures will be received by Cancer Council by the date of the meeting.
  6. Site Specific Assessment (SSA) – provide a one-page summary detailing the involvement of Cancer Council NSW personnel in the project.
  7. Submit application form and all related documents as PDFs.

First time users of HREA, note some key changes from the NEAF:

  • the new application must include a ‘Project Description’ which follows the provided template
  • researchers will need to download and store their submitted applications outside of the HREA website.

The NHMRC has released ‘how to’ videos to help you navigate HREA.

For technical assistance on the HREA system please contact HREA Help on:
Tel: 02 6217 9902


Amendments to research studies

Any changes to study protocol including research sites, research investigators or changes to study documentation such as addition or deletion of questions from participant questionnaires must be approved by the Committee.

Write a detailed cover letter of requested changes outlining why you propose to make these changes and include any affected study documentation, highlighting the changes.

Amended documents must be dated and include version number in the footer.

Adverse Events

In the case of an adverse event occurring following approval, contact the Research Governance Officer immediately and seek advice.

A report must be submitted to the full Committee detailing the event and what steps the investigators are taking to adapt the research or change their policies such that future events are minimised or avoided completely. Depending on the nature of the adverse event, the research may be allowed to continue with minor changes to protocol, be suspended, or have ethical approval withdrawn.


Research operating under a Cancer Council Human Research Ethics Committee approval must report annually on the anniversary of approval and at the completion of the study. Complete the following:

Research Ethics Annual Report Form



Tel: 02 9334 1993

About the Human Research Ethics Committee

The Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) is a committee of the Board of Cancer Council NSW. HREC reports annually to National Health and Medical Research Council (#EC000345).

Cancer Council NSW (CCNSW) HREC only considers applications where CCNSW personnel are part of the research team.

HREC comprises the mandatory members listed below and additional members with expertise relevant to Cancer Council research. Under the National Statement the minimum membership is eight, including:

  • a chair
  • at least two lay members, one man and one woman, who have no affiliation with the institution, are not currently involved in medical, scientific, academic or legal work, and who are preferably from the community in which the institution is located
  • at least two members with knowledge of, and current experience in, the areas of research that are regularly considered by the committee (for example, psychological, epidemiological)
  • at least one member with knowledge of, and current experience in, the professional care, counselling or treatment of people (for example, a medical practitioner, clinical psychologist, social worker, nurse)
  • at least one minister of religion or a person with a community pastoral role, such as an Aboriginal elder
  • at least one member who is a lawyer.

For more information on the HREC