The Auckland Health Research Ethics Committee (AHREC)
AHREC provides ethical oversight and approval of clinical research which is not eligible for review by a Health and Disability Ethics Committee (HDEC), carried out by staff and students of the University of Auckland and of the Auckland District Health Board.
All applications must be made via email to firstname.lastname@example.org using the application form below.
This page contains the sections:
- Before completing the application
- Application process
- University of Auckland Office of Research Strategy and Integrity Ethics Team
- Complete and submit an application
- Meetings and submission deadlines
- Amendments to ethics protocols after approval
Before completing the application
AHREC reviews all health and disability research studies that fulfil all the following criteria:
- The study is not eligible for review for ethics approval by a Health and Disability Ethics Committee.
- The study involves recruiting human participants from the geographic region served by the Auckland DHB.
- The study involves health research conducted by any of the following: an Auckland DHB employee, a University of Auckland staff or member, a University of Auckland student.
If a study is not eligible for review by an HDEC and involves recruiting human participants from the geographic region served by the Auckland DHB as well as from one or more additional DHBs, the application must be submitted to AHREC.
Preparing the application
- Go through the AHREC Manual. This manual outlines the mandatory items that must be included in the application and other information essential for making ethics applications.
- Please ensure that your application is complete. Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant for completion. The AHREC will not review the application until it is complete.
- Failure to comply with all requirements outlined in the Manual will result in the application being returned to the applicant for revision.
- Please proofread your application and public documents closely and ensure that these are edited by someone with an excellent grasp of English.
There are two pathways for review of AHREC ethics applications: expedited review and full review.
A research project in which there is deemed to be a low risk of physical harm, psychological harm, exploitation or other potential adverse effect will be reviewed via an expedited review process. Expedited applications will be reviewed by one Committee member and the Chair outside of the Committee meetings. The turnaround time for applications is usually about three weeks from the time of submission of the application.
Additional types of low-risk studies are those that:
- require access to health information only, where the person accessing the data is involved in the clinical service provision in that clinical area
- involve administration of low risk procedures (e.g., surveys, questionnaires, etc.) not as part of clinical care and not involving vulnerable participants
- observation only of clinical processes by members of the clinical team.
Applicants should be aware that during the expedited ethical review, reviewers may recommend that the application is referred to the committee for full review.
Any research not qualifying for an expedited review will be placed on the next AHREC agenda for review by the Committee. Each application will be reviewed by two Committee members prior to the meeting, and an outcome determined after Committee discussion of the application. After each AHREC meeting the ethics administrators will inform PIs of the Committee decision within five working days of the Committee meeting. The turnaround time for applications is usually about four weeks from the time of submission of the application.
University of Auckland Office of Research Strategy and Integrity Ethics Team
For any queries about an application to the AHREC, please contact an Administrator in the University of Auckland Office of Research Strategy and Integrity Ethics Team.
Should you need any advice and guidance regarding your application, please make an appointment to speak with an ethics advisor in the Office of the Research Strategy and Integrity well before the submission closing dates (see submission closing dates below).
For contact details, see Key Contacts - Research Strategy and Integrity Office (ORSI).
Dr Elizabeth Visser
Ethics and Integrity Manager
Phone: Ext 83711
For support and advice on dealing with project-specificethical issues - Faculty of Engineering, Business and Economics, CAI and FMHS.
Phone: Ext 88293
For support and advice on dealing with project-specific ethical issues - Faculties of Education and Social Work, Science, Law, Arts and the Liggins Institute.
Phone: Ext 81338
Complete and submit an application
All submissions must be completed using the current version of the AHREC Application Form. The completed application form and all required documents must be submitted to email@example.com as attachments. Please include “Initial Application” in the subject line of the email.
Only the Principal Investigator (PI) can submit an application for ethics approval. For student (including Doctoral, Masters and Honours) research, applications should be submitted by the primary supervisor who will be named as the PI.
Meetings and submission deadlines
As the meetings are open, applicants can request to attend a meeting, specifically for the discussion of their application. However, the Committee reserves the right to close the meeting at any time and to request that the applicant leave. Please contact the University of Auckland Ethics Team to advise the committee that you wish to attend a meeting. The Committee may also request that an applicant attend. If so, the University of Auckland Ethics Team will contact the applicant to arrange their attendance.
Amendments to ethics protocols after approval
A request for an amendment to an approved ethics protocol can be made via email. This involves completing an Amendment Request Form and emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Minor amendment requests are approved by the AHREC Chair under delegation, but any major changes to a protocol will be reviewed at the next AHREC meeting.
If you have any questions about the amendment request process please contact the University of Auckland Ethics Team.
Once the study has concluded, the Principal Investigator must submit a final report to AHREC. The report must be submitted as an attachment to email@example.com, with the AHREC reference number and “Final Report” in the email’s subject line. The report will be reviewed by the Committee via the Expedited Review process. No further action will be necessary, unless the Committee wishes to discuss the report at a meeting.