SA Health is committed to supporting the conduct of high quality health and medical research across the South Australian public health system.

The ethical review of research is an important step in ensuring the quality of research and maintaining the welfare of research participants. It is a requirement that all research conducted at South Australian public health  organisations, or involving staff or clients of South Australian public health organisations, including regional health services, hospitals, community health services, public health clinics and associated programs, complies with the SA Health Research Ethics and Governance Policy (PDF 214KB).

Human Research Ethics Committees

Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) are established to protect the welfare of people involved in research. For further information on the four South Australian public health sector HRECs, please refer to the SA Health Human Research Ethics Committees page.

Streamlined ethical review

SA Health participates in the National Mutual Acceptance (NMA) scheme to support the single scientific and ethical review of research projects taking place across participating Australian jurisdictions.  Further information on the scheme can be found on the NMA page.

For research projects occurring at more than one South Australian public health organisation, the SA Health Single Ethical Review Model allows a single ethical and scientific review for all applicable projects. More information on the single ethical review model is available on the SA Health Single Ethical Review Model page.

What research requires ethical review?

In accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007, updated 2018), Human Research Ethics Committees are required to review human research that involves the following methodologies:

  • conducting surveys, interviews or focus groups
  • performing psychological, physiological or medical testing or treatment
  • observational studies.

Accessing personal documents or other materials of research participants

  • collecting and using body organs, tissues or fluids (for example skin, blood, urine, saliva, hair, bones, tumour and other biopsy specimens) or  exhaled breath
  • accessing personal information (in individually identifiable, re-identifiable or non-identifiable form) as part of an existing published or unpublished source or database.

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