Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Ethics

Research Services Ethics & Integrity Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Ethics

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Ethics

Who needs to submit an application?

Anyone employed by James Cook University or studying at the University who intends to undertake a research or teaching project involving any form of human participation, observation of human activity, and access to databases must submit a human ethics application.

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.

The Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) reviews all applications in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s guidelines:

How to submit an application?

An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ethics application consists of:

You can also use the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Human Ethics Application Form for submission to the James Cook University HREC. It is recommended that this form be used if you are conducting any research that requires multi-institutional/multi-health service district approvals.

Please read the Guidelines to Complete an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ethics Application (PDF, 140 KB) before you attempt to draft your application. These guidelines can be found at Forms and Downloads. Once you have a draft ready and your Supervisor/s (if applicable) is satisfied with the document, you need to forward the application to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ethics Advisor for review. This review can take time, so please take note of the Closing Dates for Submission of Ethics Applications.

Once the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ethics Advisor has reviewed and signed the application ready for submission:

A signed original application (signed by Principal Investigator, Supervisor/s (if applicable), Dean of College/Delegate and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Ethics Advisor plus 1 photocopy and one electronic copy (application form and all attachments in one pdf document) must be submitted and emailed to:

Human Ethics
Research Office
Room 128, Faculty Science and Engineering Building 17
James Cook University QLD 4811

Email: ethics@jcu.edu.au

Please note: Any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ethics application received after the closing date for a meeting will be held over to the next meeting of the Human Research Ethics Committee.

Any incomplete applications or applications submitted without the appropriate signatures will not be submitted to the HREC for review.

Research Best Practice

If you are intending to conduct a research project with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples or communities, the design of your project must respect and take into account the values, and cultural protocols of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

When the views and cultural, values, beliefs and practices of researchers and participants differ there is potential for miscommunication, misunderstanding and breach of cultural protocols leading to disrespect, mistrust, inaccurate interpretation of data and negative research outcomes. For this reason it is strongly recommended that researchers include on their research team an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person to assist in the research process and ensure positive outcomes for all stakeholders.

You could include an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person as a:

  • Principal, Co or Associate Investigator;
  • Co or Associate Supervisor (if an honours or post graduate student);
  • Cultural broker;
  • Cultural mentor; or seek advice from a
  • Reference Group.

You should decide what guidance and support you need for your project in the planning stage of the study. When planning the study you must ensure that the roles and responsibilities of the members of the research team are defined, for example, ensure that:

  • clearly defined responsibilities and level of involvement of all parties is documented and signed off by all parties;
  • the Principal Investigator, Cultural Broker, Mentor or Reference group are consulted about relevant world views, cultural values and beliefs and protocols in the development of the research proposal and ethics application;
  • there is appropriate payment and/or workload recognition and acknowledgement in reports, presentations and publications of those involved in the project;
  • regular meetings are scheduled and kept, notes are documented by the researcher and clarified by the cultural broker/mentor/reference group.

Note: If the Cultural Broker or Mentor is playing a leadership role in the project then that person should be named as a Co-Investigator on the project. If you are assisted by people who, for example, recruit participants, negotiate and draft research agreements, analyse data, write reports for you, collect data on your behalf from participants in the study, i.e. conduct interviews, focus groups etc, and act as a language interpreters then these people should be employed on the project and paid as research assistants or project officers rather than listed as cultural brokers or mentors.

Closing Dates

Any ethics application received after the closing date to Human Ethics Advisors will be held over to the next meeting of the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC).

Meetings are held on the last Wednesday of each month, except for December. There is no January HREC meeting.

HREC decisions will be released 7-10 working days after the meeting date. Most applications are approved at the meeting submitted, but the HREC may request further details or amendments from applicants or a resubmission of an application to the next meeting of the HREC. In planning your research project, please allow a maximum of 2 months for passage of your application from submission to approval.

Low/Negligible risk ethics applications can be submitted at any time as they are reviewed on a continual basis and do not have a deadline for submission.

Closing Dates for Human Ethics Applications 2018

Meeting
(Last Wed of month)
Closing Date
Human Ethics Advisor
Closing Date
Submission Research Office
29 November 201725 October 20178 November 2017
13 December 20178 November 201722 November 2017
28 February 201824 January 20187 February 2018
28 March 201821 February 20187 March 2018
18 April 201821 March 20184 April 2018
30 May 201826 April 20189 May 2018
27 June 201823 May 20186 June 2018
25 July 201820 June 20184 July 2018
29 August 201825 July 20188 August 2018
26 September 201822 August 20185 September 2018
31 October 201826 September 201810 October 2018
28 November 201824 October 20187 November 2018
12 December 20187 November 201821 November 2018