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Striving for a cancer-free future

Research ethics and guidelines


Human research ethics approval

In Australia, any research involving humans must consider ethics. We conduct research into many aspects of cancer and have a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), made up of volunteer experts, to oversee the ethical aspects of research.

Research proposals (and amendments) are reviewed to ensure ethical standards are met and participant confidentiality is protected. The progress of approved research is monitored with annual reports from researchers.

COVID-19:  Impacts on research

Cancer Council Victoria is committed to supporting researchers through the challenges that may be faced as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic. We recognise that many projects may be affected by COVID-19 and we will expedite approvals for amendments or extensions caused by it.


Variations that may be relevant to COVID-19 may include, but are not limited to:

-          Extensions to anticipated completion dates

-          Changes to research protocol or plans

-          Changes to procedures or contact methods with participants

Where variations do not have any ethical implications, decisions may be sought via email rather than through amendment forms in order to facilitate prompt responses. You are still required to provide as much information and context necessary for a decision to be made. Extensions may also be sought via email.

If the variation involves some ethical implications, please submit an amendment form as per the usual guidelines.

Please see guidance from the NHMRC on the impact of COVID-19 on new and continuing health and medical research.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this information, please contact us via


For more information contact:

Research Program Governance Inbox at