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Ethical Review: AHREC

Aboriginal Health Research and Ethics Committee

The Aboriginal Health Research Ethics Committee (AHREC) promotes and supports quality research that will benefit Aboriginal people.
The Committee was established in 1986 following concerns by the then Aboriginal Health Organisation of South Australia about the increasing volume of research being conducted in Aboriginal communities in South Australia.
AHREC’s objectives are to monitor and coordinate medical and health research in Aboriginal communities in South Australia, to offer advice to communities on the ethics, methodology and potential benefits of research and to review the research needs of Aboriginal communities in order to determine priorities for research.
Proposals to conduct health-related research involving Aboriginal people or communities in South Australia need to be submitted to AHREC – even if approval has been or will be obtained from the researcher’s institution or SA Health.
AHREC is guided by the principles set out in the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) ‘National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research’ 2007 (updated May 2015) (the National Statement).
All human research must comply with the:

AHREC also takes into account the following companion documents and guidelines during ethical review:

It is also recommended for researchers to review the following information:



AHREC Application Submission Process

All researchers are required to submit electronic versions AND paper-based copies of their ethics application as follows:

  1. Copy AMerged PDF that is signed and includes all associated attachments (Please consult with your IT Department regarding how to merge all files into a single PDF document before submission in the order you wish to present). This is the document that is kept for the application file for future reference. If the size of the document is over 20mb, you may submit it via a secure Dropbox link; and
  2. Copy B – MS Word format of the AHREC proposal application-only (it can be unsigned, this is for data processing purposes e.g. when researchers merge the PDF as a jpeg file);
  3. Paper Copies – An original paper-based application and standard attachments plus 14 copies (that is, 15 copies  in total). These are the sets that are forwarded to AHREC members as received, please ensure that all sets are identical and all attachments are presented in the order you wish for AHREC to review.

Instructions and Frequently Asked Questions

  • Forms: AHREC no longer accepts previous versions of its forms you may have utilised for your submission, modification or reports. Please check if you are submitting the latest version of the application, modification or annual/final reporting form by downloading the relevant document from the links below.
  • Word Count: Applications that do not follow the instructions may be denied review. You are required to follow the word limit of up to 300 words per question, this is no longer negotiable; the Committee requires applications to clearly design appropriate methods to answer study aims, and, articulate and address core ethical issues in a succinct manner. If an application is written or coordinated by a student, and, AHREC identifies significant issues, the Committee may refer the student to the supervisor, research office or the Head of School for further support and require a re-submission based on ethical issues identified in the initial response letter.
  • Intro Page: You may attach a one-page cover letter about the study addressing AHREC as the first page that will be reviewed before the application form.
  • Applications to AHREC must be submitted utilising AHREC’s application form. AHREC does not accept NEAF, HREA or other HRECs’ application forms.
  • You may submit your study protocol with the original signed hard copy for the file, however you are not required to attach the study protocol to meeting papers (only 1 hard copy of the protocol is sufficient). The Committee advises that researchers should include all details necessary for review on the application form and standard attachments. AHREC meetings run at capacity and the Committee will not cross-reference details included in the application form vs the study protocol.
  • The soft copies as specified above and the original signed application, plus 14 copies (15 hard copies in total) must reach the Executive Officer by 5pm on the due date at the address below if they are to be included on the Agenda for the subsequent AHREC meeting.
  • Up to 5 new proposals are included in the agenda in order of electronic submission, and, the rest are held until the subsequent AHREC meeting.
  • It is advised that researchers should allow at least 3 week days for delivery should they use Express Post. It is the researchers’ responsibility to make necessary arrangements for their application to meet the deadlines. Applications received after the deadlines will be held until the next round.
  • If you are based in Adelaide, you may drop your application off; the reception at AHCSA, 220 Franklin Street, Adelaide CBD collects the submissions.
  • Please clearly mark all correspondence with AHREC as ‘CONFIDENTIAL’.
  • We require the signature of only the principal researcher (this may be electronic), and only the contact details of other researchers involved.
  • CVs of researchers are not required.
  • Please do not hesitate to use environmentally friendly paper and print double-sided with black ink only.
  • The Committee receives each new proposal set including all associated documents bound with a single bulldog/fold back clip or single staple. Please refrain from using other forms of binding materials such as paper clips as your meeting papers become detached in-transit to the Executive Officer or AHREC members for review.
  • It is not necessary to put your individual application forms into separate paper or plastic envelopes.
  • It is not necessary to tag or colour tag each attachment.

Paper-based submission address

Dr Gokhan Ayturk
Senior Research and Ethics Officer, AHCSA
Executive Officer, AHREC
GPO Box 719, Adelaide SA 5001

Electronic version submission address

  • Modification Request Form – download the form here
    • If you are seeking approval for a modification to the research protocol or submitting a minor modification request within original parameters of approval, you are required to use the modification request form.
    • If you are seeking only an extension to the approval duration or providing a personnel update, this can be submitted via email for noting to the file. If, however, the modification request includes an extension request or personnel update AND a modification to the research protocol, then you are required to utilise the modification request form.

Submission address: Gokhan.Ayturk@ahcsa.org.au

Submission Deadlines

27 January
23 February
23 March
20 April*
18 May
15 June
20 July

25 September
19 October
16 November

AHREC Meeting Dates – 2017

9 February
9 March
6 April
4 May*
1 June
6 July
10 August

5 October
2 November
1 December

*(New proposals submitted for this deadline on April 20th will be reviewed at the subsequent meeting on June 1st. Please consider utilising the time until the next deadline -May 18th- for any requisite consultation)

*(On May 4th, only response letters and modifications will be reviewed due to the scheduled training)

Contacts for Information on a Project and Independent Complaints Procedure

The AHREC monitors all the research projects that it has approved. It important to the Committee that people participating in approved projects have an independent and confidential reporting mechanism which they can use if they have any worries or complaints about that research.
If you have questions or problems associated with the practical aspects of your participation in a research project, or wish to raise a concern or complaint, then you should consult the project coordinator whose details are on the project’s Information Sheet.
If you wish to discuss matters with an independent person, including making a complaint, raising concerns or your rights as a participant, contact the Senior Research and Ethics Officer at Gokhan.Ayturk@ahcsa.org.au
All complaints are considered in accordance with NHMRC Guidelines and may impact on the continued ethical acceptability of a study.

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