The University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (UAHPEC)

Research conducted by staff and students of the University of Auckland involving human participants (including teaching sessions, laboratories, anonymous questionnaires and research carried out as part of coursework) must receive approval from one of the following ethics committees (unless an exemption applies):

  1. The University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (UAHPEC) – if not eligible for review by an HDEC or AHREC;
  2. The Auckland Health Research Ethics Committee (AHREC) if the clinical research involves recruiting human participants from the geographic region served by the Auckland DHB, and also when participants are to be recruited from one or more additional DHBs;
  3. A Health and Disability Ethics Committee – all health and disability research in scope for HDEC review must be submitted to an HDEC for review.

All UAHPEC applications must be made electronically through the Human Ethics Module in InfoEd (See Create and Submit an Application for access to the module and User Guides).

Sections on this page:

  • Online Ethics Training Modules
  • Ethics Advisors
  • Approval procedures
  • Before completing the application
  • Application process
  • Create and Submit an Application
  • Submission deadlines
  • Amendments to ethics protocols after approval

Online Ethics Training Modules

Online modules are available to provide guidance on a number of topics related to research involving human participants at the University of Auckland. It is recommended that these modules are completed prior to creating a human ethics application.

These modules work best on desktop/laptop devices and can be accessed off-campus without VPN. The following modules are now available:

  • Introduction to Human Ethics
  • Consent
  • How to Write a Research Ethics Application
  • Anonymity and Confidentiality
  • Conflict of Interest

Access modules

Coming soon: Research involving Database Repositories, Research involving Creative Practice, and Research involving Social Media Platforms.

Ethics Advisors

Faculties and high user Departments have designated Ethics Advisors who can provide advice on resolving ethical issues related to your study – see the attached list below.

For inquiries about research involving Māori participants, please contact the Māori Ethics Advisor in your Faculty (see list below), or contact the office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori, Prof Cindy Kiro for assistance.

The Ethics Advisors in the Ethics and Integrity team are also available to provide guidance (see Key Contact details below).

Please contact these Ethics Advisors well before the submission deadline of the meeting you will be submitting the application for.

Approval procedures

Please note the following:

  1. Students (including Doctoral and Masters) can create and edit an application in the system, but it can only be submitted by the Supervisor/Principal Investigator.
  2. Honours students should complete the Human ethics form - Word version (Download below) and ask their Supervisor or Faculty research support to copy and paste the information into the online InfoEd form. The online form then needs to be submitted by their supervisor.
  3. Incomplete and/or poorly constructed applications will be returned. The UAHPEC will not review the application until an adequate, revised application is submitted.

Before completing the application

  • Read the Guiding Principles for conducting research with human participants document. These guidelines are approved by Council and are reviewed every three years.
  • Go through the Applicants’ Reference Manual. This manual outlines the mandatory items that must be included in the application and other information essential for making ethics applications.
  • Failure to comply with all requirements outlined in the Applicants' Reference Manual will result in the application being returned to the applicant for completion.
  • Please proofread your application and public documents closely and ensure that these are edited by someone with an excellent grasp of English.

Application process

There are two routes of ethical review for all studies, including Masters and Doctoral theses and staff research projects: Low Risk Review and Full Review.

A low risk research project is one where there is a low risk of physical harm, psychological harm, exploitation or other potential adverse effect. Participants must give full informed consent and must have the right to choose anonymity in all reporting.

An example of a low risk application is an anonymous on-line questionnaire.

All applications are checked against the low risk criteria (See download below). An application is considered low risk, if it answers “no” to all the low risk criteria. If any application is considered as low risk, it will be pre-screened and reviewed and we aim to provide an outcome to the applicant within three weeks. If the application is not deemed low risk, it will be automatically put into the next agenda for Full Review.

NOTE: In all cases, it is the Committee that decides whether an application is low risk.

If the application is not low risk, it will be automatically put on the next UAHPEC agenda for Full Committee Review. Full review applications will also be pre-screened prior to review by the UAHPEC.

Applications for full review will also be pre-screened prior to review and consideration by the UAHPEC.

Prior to submission, please proofread your application and public documents closely and ensure that these are edited by someone with an excellent grasp of English. Consider consulting with the University of Auckland English Language Enrichment service.

If your proposed research proposal has impact on Māori persons as Māori, you must answer yes to Question 1 in Section F (Treaty of Waitangi issues) of the ethics application. This means that the application will automatically be reviewed by the office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Māori) and/or his nominee for sign off prior to Departmental sign-off. Please ensure that you allow extra processing time i.e., submit a week earlier than the due dates below.

Key Contacts

Dr Elizabeth Visser
Ethics and Integrity Manager
Phone: Ext 83711

Colleen Altagracia
Ethics Advisor
For support and advice on dealing with project-specific ethical issues - Faculty of Engineering, Business and Economics, CAI and FMHS.
Phone: Ext 88293

Fiona Cheal
Ethics Advisor
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

Maran Cassin
Regulatory Approval Administrator
For advice and support with submission of human ethics applications.
Phone: Ext 83025

Create and Submit an Application

All research and coursework submissions must be completed using the online Human Ethics Module.

System Access

Human Ethics Module:

  • Please use either Firefox or Chrome browsers with this system. Do not use Internet Explorer as it does not support many of the functions required.
  • Please ensure you have access to the system on campus before attempting off-campus access using VPN.

You may still draft your application using the Word copy of the online form and copy and paste responses from your final version into the online form.

Submission deadlines

Please note: Applications get routed automatically to the appropriate person(s) for sign-off in each Department.

Because this sign off process takes place after the application is submitted, you are advised to submit your application at least one week before the deadline listed below so that there is sufficient time for sign-off and receipt of the application by the Ethics team by the specified deadline.

Amendments to ethics protocols after approval

A request for an amendment to an approved ethics protocol can be made online through the Human Ethics Module of InfoEd.

This involves completing a one-page form and online submission by the Supervisor/Principal Investigator. Please follow the instructions in the Quick Guide below. Minor amendment requests are approved by the UAHPEC Chair under delegation, but any major changes to a protocol will be reviewed at the next UAHPEC meeting.

Please ensure that any new or changes documents (such as PISs or CFs) are uploaded with tracked changes.

If the ethics approval was given prior to 31 August 2011, the application will have a three digit number (e.g. 2010/000) instead of the current InfoEd numbering. Please contact the Ethics Administrators to get the corresponding InfoEd number for your protocol.

If you have any questions about the amendment request process please contact