Ethics, bio-safety and risk

You should submit requests for ethics and/or bio-safety clearance to the relevant committee at the same time as you submit your application.

Although there is a large chance your request will be approved at the first meeting of the committee, you may be asked to revise and re-submit your request which could add weeks or months to your request process.

Human ethics

The University’s Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) approves human ethics applications.

Animal ethics

If you plan to hold or use animals at the University of Sydney you must apply to the Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) for permission to do so. This is a requirement of the NSW Animal Research Act 1985.


Bio-safety approval must be sought from the Institutional Biosafety Committee for research projects that involve recombinant DNA procedures. Some procedures may be exempt from the Gene Technology Legislation, monitored by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR); confirmation by the Committee is still required.

Risk assessment

Each research application which involves hazardous substances or conditions requires an assessment of the risk (to staff, students, environment) and implementation of appropriate hazard control measures (eg limited access, available information, training, procedures, signposting, shielding, protective apparel).

An assessment and information sheet for each of these categories is available from the Occupational Health and Safety.