Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Human Research Ethics Committees and Processes

Levels of Risk and Ethics Committees

CSU has a two tiered system to review Human ethics applications. The Faculty of Science Low Risk Human Ethics Committee considers Ethics Applications that are of low risk (the only foreseeable risk is one of discomfort) [National Statement 2.1.6].

High risk - This is defined as any research that can cause severe harm to a participant psychologically, physically, socially, economically, cause legal harm or decrease a person's self worth (NS 2.1).

Low risk - This is defined as where the only foreseeable risk is one of discomfort (NS 2.1.6). Under the National Statement, Low risk applications may be considered by the Faculty of Science Human Ethics Committee.

STEP 1: Determining the level of your ethics application

To determine if your research is low or high risk, complete the Checklist for appropriate level of ethical review for research involving humans which is on the University Research Ethics Committee HREC. All questions are to be answered.

All undergraduate projects must be low risk.

If it is low risk follow the submission process (STEP 2).

Not a low risk application

If your ethics application is not low risk, you must submit it to the University Human Research Ethics Committee

Waiver of Consent

If requesting a Waiver of consent the application must be submitted to the University HREC.

Approved prior by another Institution's Ethics Committee

If your application has already received ethics approval from another fully constituted committee, fill in the appropriate form (Projects Already approved by Another HREC) on the University Research Ethics Committee HREC page and submit it to the University HREC.

STEP 2: Submission process for Faculty of Science (Low Risk) Human Ethics Committee

  • The Faculty of Science Human Ethics Committee meets once a month to review low risk applications
  • Applications for review must be submitted by 3pm on the agenda closing date which is 10 days prior to the meeting.
  • Please check the closing dates below. Please note there has been a recent change in the agenda closing dates. Please refer to the meeting dates section below.

Don't leave your ethics application to the last minute. You cannot start your research until you have ethics approval and are allocated a protocol number. Allow time for the committee to provide feedback which can be up to 14 days after the meeting.

Use the website to access all forms for either level of risk –low risk proposal or a higher risk proposal. You will need to change the contact details on the templates to that of the FOS Low Risk Committee.

As of April 2017, all new applications to the Faculty of Science Low Risk Human Ethics Committee must be submitted using the HREA form.  The HREA is available at the following link: 'How to' videos and guides are available on the HREA website.

Please note that a Project Description/Protocol is a mandatory attachment to a HREA application. Please tailor the suggested headings to meet the needs of your project, ensuring that you provide adequate context and justification for your proposal.

Please ensure you send your application to

NOTE: In progress applications are held by the NHMRC for one year only, and submitted applications are held for 90 days from the date of submission. Please ensure that you download a copy of your submission to your own computer at the time of submission.

Please note that the University Human Research Ethics Committee recommends that the minimum requirement for data storage is at least FIVE years after the last publication arising from the data. This is a MINIMUM requirement and you may keep the data for longer.


SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION - Submit all supporting documentation with the HREA

These may include:

Please send the HREA and checklist with all other documents combined in Adobe into one pdf.

For further information refer to the NHMRC for guidelines.

Please ensure the consent and information forms reflect the correct ethic committee's contact details for the Faculty of Science Human Ethics Committee (as opposed to the CSU HREC committee).


Postal Address:
Charles Sturt University,
C/- School of Exercise Sciences,
Bathurst Campus, Panorama Avenue,
Bathurst, NSW 2795.

The Committee is unable to review incomplete applications and they will be returned.

All documents should be sent through with your surname first in the file name – Smith ethics NEAF.pdf or Smith ethic Low Risk Checklist.doc

Do not submit an ethics application without proof reading and double checking that all relevant sections have been answered.

SIGNATURES: Students must make sure that their supervisor has reviewed and signed their ethics application before submitting the application.

ALL applications must be signed by the Head of School (HOS).

Please submit signed ethics applications and associated documentation to

STEP 3: Approval Process

The faculty committee is comprised of a member from each school in the faculty, a Chair, an external member and an executive officer. The members of the committee review each application at the meeting.

You will receive a written response from the committee within 14 days of the application being reviewed at the meeting.

There are four possible outcomes:

  1. Approved – you will be issued with a protocol number
  2. Approved pending clarification of minor points or grammatical corrections by committee members
  3. Resubmission - requiring it to be considered at a committee meeting once research/ethical issues are addressed or altered
  4. Not approved – the committee cannot approve it and it may be forwarded to the main HREC as it is considered not to be low risk.

Applicants approved pending clarification can make the required changes and send the amended application for review by members of the committee. In this case you will be advised which documents to change and send to the committee. This approval is only valid for 3 months (or 3 meetings). A response from the committee will take up to 14 days.

Applicants advised to re-submit an application must submit it to a future meeting with all documentation.

If you are unclear about anything the committee has asked you to do, please contact the Executive Officer via

Clarifying or resubmitting your submission

If you are asked to review or amend your submission - you should provide your responses in a table such as that below and highlight any changes that have been made within the NEAF [using Adobe Acrobat PRO or using a word table].

Tips for responding to a reviewed application
Committee CommentsResponse
Section 3.1.1 Please clarify the fundingYour response
Section 6.4.2 Will other researcher have access to the data?Your response
Information Letter – needs to state that return of anonymous survey is implied consentYour response

STEP 4: Managing Approved Projects

CSU ethics committees, grant approval for a 12 month period from the original date of approval.

The following are conditions of approval:

  • Report On Research Project
    It is a condition of approval that researchers complete a report annually to comply with monitoring requirements of the National Health and Medical Research Council.
  • Completion Report
    The University's Human Research Ethics Committee and all CSU Faculty Committees, grant approval for a 12 month period from the original date of approval. It is a condition of approval that researchers complete a report at the conclusion of their research to comply with monitoring requirements of the National Health and Medical Research Council.
  • A Variation to Research Project
    If after an ethics application that has been approved necessitates an alteration to the research project you must submit a Report on Research Project detailing the changes made and any supporting documentation to the appropriate ethics Committee.
  • An Extension to Research Project
    If a researcher requires approval to extend the period of research an extension is to be submitted with the appropriate documentation detailing the reason to the appropriate ethics Committee.

Please submit an extension or variation report with enough time to be reviewed at a meeting.

Meeting Dates and Contacts Details

For applications submitted to the Faculty of Science Faculty Human Ethics Committee for consideration, the projected time for the Committee's decision to be communicated is 14 working days after the meeting. Any application that the committee decides is not low risk will be sent directly to the CSU HREC committee (applicants will be informed).

FOS FHEC Application Closing DatesFOS FHEC Meeting Dates
Monday, 04 December 2017 at 3pmThursday, 14 December 2017
Monday, 29 January 2018 at 3pmThursday, 08 February 2018
Thursday, 26 February 2018 at 3pmThursday, 08 March 2018
Tuesday, 03 April 2018 at 3pm (Easter)Thursday, 12 April 2018
Monday, 30 April 2018 at 3pmThursday, 10 May 2018
Monday, 4 June 2018 at 3pmThursday, 14 June 2018
Monday, 02 July 2018 at 3pmThursday, 12 July 2018
Monday, 30 July 2018 at 3pmThursday, 09 August 2018
Monday, 03 September 2018 at 3pmThursday, 13 September 2018
Monday, 01 October 2018 at 3pmThursday, 11 October 2018
Monday, 29 October 2018 at 3pmThursday, 08 November 2018
Monday, 03 December 2018 at 3pmThursday, 13 December 2018


Postal Address:
Executive Officer
Faculty of Science Faculty of Human Ethics Committee
Charles Sturt University,
C/- School of Exercise Sciences,
Bathurst Campus, Panorama Avenue,
Bathurst, NSW 2795.