Human research ethics

We consider ethics to be an integral part of good scientific practice.

For us, ethical conduct in human research begins with the values and principles set out by the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007).

First and foremost, we ensure our work complies with these standards. In addition, we understand that it is important to further consider ethical principles as we apply these standards. This consideration occurs through our Human Research Ethics Committee.

Human Research Ethics Committee

The committee comprises scientific, medical, pastoral, legal and lay representatives. All human research conducted at WEHI must be approved by the committee.

The role of the committee is to consider ethical implications of all proposed research projects and to determine whether the projects are acceptable on both scientific and ethical grounds.

The committee also monitors the progress of research projects, maintains a register of ongoing human research projects and regularly reports to the WEHI board and regulatory bodies, such as the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Download the Human Research Ethics Committee Charter

Ethical review process

Researchers and committee members can discuss any complex ethical issues that may arise. This conversation is conducted throughout the life of a research project: scientists continually reflect on ethical research as related to their project.

Although the ethical review process through the WEHI’s Human Research Ethics Committee is necessary, compliance is ultimately up to the individual researcher. Scientists must ensure that the research carried at the Institute meets accepted ethical standards.


If you have any concerns or queries about human research projects or procedures carried out at WEHI, please contact the Human Research Ethics Coordinator on +61 3 9345 2419.

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