Research ethics

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Human research ethics

If you want to undertake research with or about people, or their data or tissue, you must give serious thought about how best to conduct your research so that it espouses the principles of research merit and integrity, justice, beneficence and respect.

In Australia, researchers must gain approval from an accredited Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) before they can undertake human research, and Bond University’s Human Research Ethics Committee (BUHREC) is here to help you translate the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (National Statement) principles above into pragmatic and workable strategies for ethically sound research.

Bond University is a leading independent university producing world class scholarship. BUHREC nurtures this vision by ensuring that research at the University meets the ideals and guidelines set out in the National Statement, Australia’s primary reference for ethical review.

BUHREC is committed to protecting the welfare and rights of human participants in research conducted by members of the Bond University community. It promotes ethically, socially, scientifically and legally responsible research activity by all members of our community.

BUHREC operates a research application and review process to provide ethics approval for research projects ranging from online surveys to clinical trials. Although primarily aimed at providing a service for researchers and students at Bond University, for a small fee BUHREC is happy to review ethics applications from external researchers (see How to apply).

Minor variations to current projects are normally reviewed by the Chair (see Minor variations to current projects).

View the submission deadlines and meeting dates for BUHREC.

NEW: Register for our first Research Integrity Workshop for Early Career Researchers and students studying for a Higher Degree by Research. 10 October 2017, 2:00 - 3:30 (BLDG 6_3_12)

Researchers and research organisations are entrusted by the community with the responsibility to undertake research for the benefit of us all. Research Integrity is a vital part of maintaining that trust.

As part of Bond’s commitment to integrity all research at the University must meet the guidelines set out in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (Australian Code).

The Code sets out the guidelines determined by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Universities Australia for responsible research in this country.

The Code has broad relevance across all research disciplines, guiding institutions and researchers in responsible research practices. It explains how institutions and researchers should:

  • Manage breaches of the Code and allegations of research misconduct (including the responsibilities and rights of researchers if they witness research misconduct)
  • Maintain research data and materials
  • Publish and disseminate research findings, including proper attribution of authorship
  • Undertake fair conduct and effective peer review
  • Maintain transparency and manage conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest
  • Display intellectual honesty in proposing, performing, and reporting research.
  • Maintain accuracy in representing contributions to research proposals and reports.
  • Behave collegially in scientific interactions, including communications and sharing of resources.
  • Protect human subjects in the conduct of research.
  • Undertake humane care of animals in the conduct of research.
  • Adhere to the mutual responsibilities between investigators and their research participants.

Bond University has satisfied the registration requirements of Section 52 of the Animal Care Protection Act 2001 and is registered for the use of animals for scientific purposes.

Bond University seeks ethical approval for animal research for scientific purposes from an External body.

Prior to any research being conducted on animals for scientific purposes, researchers must first liaise with the Research Ethics Manager in Research Services, who will advise on the necessary steps and processes required to complete an Animal Ethics application.

If you become aware of activities that you believe may constitute research misconduct or a lesser breach of the Australian Code, there are a number of options open to you.

Staff and students may, in the first instance, report suspected breaches of the Code to the Associate Dean of Research for your Faculty or the Head of your research unit.

If the matter involves a serious breach, or if you do not wish to discuss it with the people mentioned above, you may refer the matter directly to the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research.

Bond University is committed to the highest ethical standards in the conduct of our research.

The University’s research community realizes how privileged we are that members of the community are willing to participate in our research, often without direct benefit to them personally. Typically, human research involves some degree of interaction between people. Sometimes such relationships can break down, leaving the parties confused, distressed and frustrated. Even with the best of intentions, situations can arise where participants or third parties feel that there are problems with the ethical design and/or conduct of a project.

In response to community expectation that the conduct of human research should be subjected to independent review, and the University’s commitment to high ethical practice, independent processes have been established for responding to both concerns and complaints from the participants in University research, and to allegations of breaches of ethical standards.

Bond University handles concerns about the conduct of research and complaints in accordance with Part B of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the University’s Research Misconduct policy.

Should you have any concerns or complaints about the conduct of research by Bond researchers, or you require contact details for a Faculty Research Integrity Officer (RIO), please contact us at:

Research Ethics Manager: Complaints | Bond University Human Research Ethics Committee | Bond University, Gold Coast, 4229 | Telephone: (07) 5595 4194 | Fax (07) 5595 1120 | Email:

Bond Staff or students who are in any way unclear about their responsibilities in regard to the conduct or research should refer to the Bond University Research Ethics Manual (BUREM).

BUREM Booklet 7 discusses Bond University's processes for responding to complaints, alleged breaches of ethical standards, or appeals against decisions (note that BUREM booklets only available from on campus computers, or via a Citrix login).

If you wish to make a complaint about the conduct of BUHREC in reviewing an application for ethics approval, it should be directed to the Manager of Grants and Ethics in the first instance. Read more