Applying for ethics approval through the DME HEAG

In the field of medical education, research generally involves “Gathering information about human beings (and organisations) through interviewing, surveying, questionnaires, observation of human behaviour, audio/video taping, administering tests or stimuli,”


Research involving human participants requires appropriate ethics review and approval. Necessary approval must be granted before the research study can commence.

Ethics applications from Department of Medical Education (DME) staff and students are reviewed by the DME Human Ethics Advisory Group (HEAG) before either being approved or referred to the Human Ethics Sub Committee (HESC)

The purpose of DME HEAG

The role of the HEAG is to:

  • conduct technical and ethical reviews of ALL ethics applications from the DME
  • provide feedback to researchers on their application
  • approve Minimal Risk applications
  • refer Standard Project applications to the Health Sciences HESC
  • provide advice to the HESC


The application process

Al human ethics applications are submitted online via Themis

The Office for Research Ethics and Integrity’s Step- by –Step approval guide for Human Ethics applications gives an overview of the steps involved in the submission and approval process.


DME HEAG Application deadlines and meeting dates:

HEAG 2016

Meeting no.

MEU HEAG Application Cut Off Date

MEU HEAG Meeting Date


13 Jan 2016

20 Jan 2016


10 Feb 2016

17 Feb 2016


16 Mar 2016

23 Mar 2016


13 Apr 2016

20 Apr 2016


18 May 2016

25 May 2016


13 Jul 2016

20 Jul 2016


17 Aug 2016

24 Aug 2016


14 Sep 2016

21 Sep 2016


12 Oct 2016

19 Oct 2016


02 Nov 2016

09 Nov 2016


30 Nov 2016

07 Dec 2016


Enquiries regarding HEAG applications should be directed to:

Ms Carolyn Twyman
Phone: 8344 7879

In addition to approval from DME’s HEAG Committee, Standard Projects also need to be granted approval by the Health Sciences Human Ethics Sub Committees (HESC).

HESC 2016 Key dates

HESC Cut Off Date

HESC  Meeting Date

01 Feb 2016

16 Feb 2016

29 Feb 2016

15 Mar 2016

04 Apr 2016

19 Apr 2016

02 May 2016

17 May 2016

06 Jun 2016

21 Jun 2016

01 Aug 2016

16 Aug 2016

05 Sep 2016

20 Sep 2016

03 Oct 2016

18 Oct 2016

31 Oct 2016

15 Nov 2016

21 Nov 2016

06 Dec 2016


For HESC enquiries please contact:

Human Ethics team:

DME HEAG Committee members:



A/Prof Agnes Dodds>


Carolyn Twyman

Medical Education Academics

Dr Justin Bilszta


Dr Kate Reid


Dr Anna Ryan


A/Prof Robyn Woodward-Kron


  1. Quality assurance or research? Evaluation studies of curriculum interventions that involve collecting student data through interviews, surveys, observation etc will generally require ethics approval.
  2. Do I need written consent? In general yes; however, it will also depend on who will be participating in your research and whether they are able to give informed consent. If your participants are identifiable (e.g. via student number, name), written consent will generally be required. Verbal, audio-recorded consent is possible in some settings. See the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research for more information about consent.
  3. Hospital Ethics or University of Melbourne ethics approval? If your research involves patients, you will need hospital ethics approval. This approval is communicated to the DME HEAG via an ethics registration lodged by the researchers in Themis. For student projects, hospital ethics must be registered with the HEAG. Research carried out in the clinical schools can be approved by the DME HEAG in most instances.
  4. Who is responsible for submitting an ethics application – a student or a supervisor? Supervisors are responsible for the submission of ethics applications, and must always be the Principal Researcher. Students should be involved in the process, but must discuss the application with their supervisor.

Relevant Links

Navigating the application process:

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research

Human Research Ethics Handbook