Group of Eight Australia
Australia's Leading Universities
     Modules     Organiser  

Module 3: Conducting Research Responsibly – Protecting Yourself, Your Research, and Your University

Topic 5.1 Regulatory approvals

Throughout this module there has been an emphasis on the ethical reasons for responsible research within the research community. However, in many cases the obligations have legal consequences for the individual researcher and for the university. In addition to ethics approvals, the avoidance of which constitutes research misconduct, approvals are needed for:

  • Importation of biological material
  • Creating a genetically-modified organism
  • Research that involves ionising and non-ionising radiation, such as radioisotopes, X-rays, UV light, and lasers.

The responsibility for initial compliance with importation of biological materials and the requirements of the AQIS biosecurity rests with the researcher. Your university research office should be able to advise you of the requirements for making such an application, or direct you to the part of your university that manages AQIS permits. 

The creation of new and use of existing genetically-modified organisms requires approval from the OGTR.  Before conducting any research with genetically-modified organisms, you should consult your university research office or similar to enquire about the types of approvals you may need to obtain. 

The use of ionising and non-ionising radiation usually entails a university-wide license held by the university from the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), with the researcher being aware of and declaring whenever radiation will be employed.

Institutions, and maybe even individuals, can be fined if appropriate approvals are not sought prior to conducting research in these areas. In addition to financial penalties, reputational damage is another consequence of failing to have the necessary regulatory approvals in place. Perhaps of equal importance, disregard may risk the safety of human participants and the well-being of animals or the environment – another example of research misconduct.

What approvals do you or your research students need to conduct research?

< Previous Next >