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

All applications must be signed (electronic signatures accepted) and lodged online through Themis by 5:00pm on the DME HEAG submission deadline. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Please note that the DME HEAG can approve Minimal Risk applications, and amendments to these applications. All other applications will be referred to the University’s Human Ethics Sub-Committee (HESC) for approval. Please factor this possibility into your research timelines and ensure your ethics application is submitted well before you intend to commence data collection.

All researchers are required to complete an Annual Report each year by 31st December.

The Office for Research Ethics and Integrity (OREI) provides the essential ethics requirements and information about how to apply for ethics. OREI also provide a more detailed step-by-step process including quick reference sheets that can be used as a guide when completing your application.


DME HEAG Meeting Dates 2019

DME HEAG Submission Deadline

DME HEAG Meeting Date

HESC Submission Deadline

HESC Meeting Date

--28 January12 February

6 February

13 February

25 February

12 March

6 March

13 March

25 March

9 April

10 April

17 April

29 April

14 May

8 May

15 May

27 May

11 June

5 June

12 June

24 June

9 July

3 July

10 July

29 July

13 August

7 August

14 August

26 August

10 September

4 September

11 September

23 September

8 October

9 October

16 October

28 October

12 November

6 November

13 November

18 November

3 December

4 December11 December--


  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.


DME HEAG Chair: Associate Professor Agnes Dodds (+61 3 83440183)

DME HEAG Administrator: Michelle Grainger (+61 3 8344 5167)

Relevant Links

Navigating the application process:

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research

Human Research Ethics Handbook