SEH College Human Ethics Advisory Networks (CHEAN)

The College of Science Engineering & Health Human Ethics Advisory Network (CHEAN) is accountable to the RMIT University Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) which reports to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) through the Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC).

SEH researchers, including students, planning to do research with people, their information or their bio-specimens (i.e. blood, tissue etc.) require ethics approval. This requirement applies to a wide variety of research activities, including but not limited to such things as; conducting surveys, questionnaires, interviews/focus groups, taking photographs, observing people, analysing blood or tissue samples or the use of a database of previously collected personal and/or health information.

To find out more about applying for and maintaining human research ethics approval at RMIT, and to access the application and other forms please visit the Human research ethics site.

SEH College Human Ethics Advisory Network (CHEAN)

The College of Science Engineering & Health Human Ethics Advisory Network (CHEAN) has been established to ensure that human research assessed as low or negligible risk is conducted ethically, and protects the welfare and rights of participants and researchers.

In accordance with their terms of reference, the SEH CHEAN:

  • reviews applications from SEH researchers, for ethics approval of ‘negligible’ and ‘low risk’ human research (‘more than low risk’ projects must be submitted to the RMIT Human research Ethics Committee [HREC] for review);
  • reviews requests for extensions and amendments to existing SEH CHEAN approved research projects or activities;
  • receives and reviews annual progress and final reports for SEH CHEAN approved projects; and
  • supports and promotes ethical and responsible research practice within the College.

Making a submission to SEH CHEAN

New applications

PLEASE NOTE: In 2016, the SEH College CHEAN is piloting rolling electronic reviews. Applications may be submitted to the CHEAN at any time.

When submitting an application to the SEH CHEAN please follow the submission instructions on the how to apply section of the Human Research Ethics website

Please also ensure you download the most current RMIT ‘approved’ application form for each application from this site, as forms are constantly updated and amended.

Important Note: Please ensure that you allow sufficient time for the approval process as depending on the completeness and quality of an application it can take up to 2 months before ethics approval is received, and until ethics approval is received data collection involving humans cannot commence.

Each application is reviewed and assessed by the CHEAN before approval. Applications are dealt with on an individual basis and applicants are assigned a CHEAN mentor who provides feedback to facilitate approval in a timely manner. Therefore it is strongly advised that you apply well before the proposed starting date for your research as the CHEAN is unable to approve any application retrospectively. This is particularly important where research projects involve short or rigid timelines, for example: projects tied to semester dates, Honours projects and projects of students with visa restrictions.

Externally (non-RMIT) and/or Multi-site applications

When an RMIT researcher is involved in a research project which has been approved by a non-RMIT human ethics committee, the ethics application does not need to be reviewed at RMIT, it does however need to be ‘registered’ at RMIT. The approving human ethics committee will remain responsible for ethical oversight of the project.

To register an application that has been approved by another institutional ethics committee please please follow the submission instructions on the how to apply section of the Human Research Ethics website.


Any changes to your approved project also require review. Types of changes include:

  • Research team changes
  • Changes to the research methodology
  • Changes to recruitment

Please follow the instructions on the amendments section of the Human Research Ethics website.

Annual and final reports

In order to maintain approval for your project, you are required to submit annual reports on the progress of your approved research. These reports are submitted to the CHEAN or HREC, depending on which committee approved your ethics application. Annual reports are due on the anniversary of your approval.

Once your project is complete a final report must also be submitted. The final report must be submitted as soon as possible following the completion date of your approval.

The Chief Investigator will receive automated reminders for both reports.

Please follow the instructions on the reporting section of the Human Research Ethics website.

Adverse events/Complaints

Researchers must report immediately any serious or unanticipated adverse effects of their research on participants, and/or any unforeseen events that might affect continued ethical acceptability of the project, to the Research Ethics Coordinator at

Following notification researchers will be required to complete and submit an adverse event report, a template copy of which will be provided by the Research Ethics Coordinator.

Projects are also audited from time to time to review risk management and adverse incident reporting procedures.


SecretaryMary Duffy

Building 91 Level 02 Room 16C, Melbourne City campus
Building 251 Level 02 Room 1, Bundoora campus west
Phone: +61 3 9925 4620

Science Engineering & Health CHEAN Network

ChairAssociate Professor Barbara Polus, School of Health and Biomedical Sciences

Deputy ChairAssociate Professor Falk Scholer, School of Science

School of Engineering:

School of Health and Biomedical Sciences:

School of Science: