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Research governance

Research governance refers to the processes used to ensure accountability for the scientific quality, ethical acceptability and safety of research conducted at South West Healthcare.

These processes determine compliance to established ethical principles, code for responsible research conduct, institutional policies, state and national guidelines, relevant legislation and regulations.

Elements of research governance:

  • Ethics approval to protect rights, dignity, safety and well-being of research participants
  • Site consideration of the investigator’s skills, training and experience
  • Site availability and suitability of facilities and resources for the proposed research
  • Compliance with legislation, regulations, guidelines and codes of practice
  • Legal and insurance (e.g.) consent, contracts, insurance and indemnity arrangements
  • Policies and procedures for responsible conduct and managing misconduct
  • Funding for the research project, budgets, and financial management
  • Reporting and monitoring
  • Responsible communication of research outcomes.

Research Governance Practices

Research governance consists of two distinct processes relating to ethical review and institutional authorisation of research.

  • 1: Ethical Review and Approval

    All research must be ethically reviewed and approved by a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) in accordance with values and principles set out in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (the National Statement 2023) and any revisions made to it. Depending on the risk type and sites involved, ethical approval can be obtained in either of the following ways:

    1. Single-site study – from SWH HREC
    2. Multi-site study in Victoria – from a ‘Certified HREC’
    3. Multi-site study, nationwide– from a ‘Certified HREC’ under the National Mutual Acceptance Scheme.

    Applicants are advised to discuss their project with the Research team ( prior to submission of application. For the detailed procedure refer to Application Submission Guide.

  • 2: Site Specific Assessment

    Site specific assessment (SSA) is conducted for all multi-site and single-site research projects. The SSA form available on Ethical review manager addresses the site-involvement, resources, funding, site-specific requirements based on local policies, indemnity, insurance and declarations from departments, etc.

    It is the Principal Investigator’s responsibility to complete the application and obtain necessary signatures from Head of Department or supporting department. All research projects submitted to South West Healthcare HREC for ethics review will go through simultaneous governance review. For the detailed SSA information refer to SWH site specific assessment procedure in Application Submission Guide.

    A project can only commence once you have received approval from following:

    For studies to be conducted at SWH

    • Human Research Ethics Committee approval; AND
    • Site Specific Authorisation by the SWH CEO.

    For studies to be conducted at other regional Health services

    • Human Research Ethics Committee approval; AND
    • Site Specific Authorisation by the specific Health Service CEO.

Page last updated: 15 April 2024

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