JCU Connect Ethics & Integrity

Ethics & Integrity

JCU Connect’s Ethics team is responsible for ensuring that research involving animals or humans at James Cook University (JCU) is conducted ethically.

The team provides training and support for researchers to assist them to conduct their studies in accordance with relevant legislation, codes and guidelines.

JCU recognises the significant role played by animals in the progression of human knowledge. JCU uses animals only when their use is justified and when no alternatives are available.

Activities involving animals must only be conducted in in line with university policy, compliance with relevant legislation and after approval by the University’s Animal Ethics Committee (AEC). Such approvals are only issued if the potential benefits of the work are likely to outweigh the effects on the animals concerned.

The University upholds the principles of reduction, refinement and replacement. Ethical use, appropriate care and respect for animals involved are central to the University’s policy and procedure framework.

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Human research is conducted with or about people, by collecting their data or the use of human tissue. Human participation in research includes the involvement of human beings through:

  • Surveys, interviews or focus groups.
  • Undergoing psychological, physiological or medical testing or treatment.
  • Being observed by researchers.
  • Researchers having access to personal documents or other materials.
  • The collection and use of body organs, tissues or fluids (skin, blood, urine, saliva, hair, bones, tumor and other biopsy specimens, etc.) or their exhaled breath.
  • Access to their information (identifiable, re-identifiable or non-identifiable form) as part of an existing or published or unpublished source or database.

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An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Ethics Application must be submitted if the research project:

  • Involves or will be conducted in an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
  • If the target participants of the study are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • If the recruitment population of the study is likely to include a significant number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, i.e. health population studies, certain school populations.

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A clinical trial is a form of human research designed to find out the effects of an intervention, treatment or diagnostic procedure. It can involve testing a drug, a surgical, therapeutic or preventive procedure or a diagnostic device.

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The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research guides institutions and researchers in responsible research practices. The code promotes integrity in research for researchers and shows how to:

  • Manage breaches of the Code and allegations of research misconduct
  • Manage research data and materials
  • Publish and disseminate research findings, including proper attribution of authorship
  • Conduct effective peer review
  • Manage conflicts of interest

It also explains the responsibilities and rights of researchers if they witness research misconduct.

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Biodiscovery involves collecting samples of native biological materials (e.g. plants, animals and other organisms) to test for compounds that may have commercial applications (e.g. pharmaceuticals and insecticides).

In Queensland, biodiscovery activities conducted on state land or waters are regulated under the Biodiscovery Act 2004 and are managed in a manner consistent with Australia's international obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

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The Australian Government has imposed export controls on defence, strategic goods and technologies in support of international efforts to stop the production of conventional, chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and the systems that deliver them.  The primary body managing these controls is the Defence Export Control Office (DECO).

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Visit the JCU Connect Ethics team on level 3 in The Science Place (Townsville) or in the Sir Robert Norman Building E2, Room 102C (Cairns).

Tina Langford
Manager, Research Grants, Ethics and Integrity
(07) 4781 4342
tina.langford@jcu.edu.au

Helen Griffiths
Human Ethics Officer
(07) 4781 6575
helen.griffiths@jcu.edu.au

Craig Godfrey
Manager, Human and Animal Ethics
(07) 4781 6506
craig.godfrey@jcu.edu.au

Nicole Little 
Animal Ethics Officer
(07) 4781 4484
nicole.little@jcu.edu.au