Research With Integrity

SAHMRI is committed to conducting and supporting methodologically and ethically sound research.
Research With Integrity

SAHMRI and its researchers will abide by the core principles of research conduct as outlined by the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research:

  • Honesty and Integrity
  • Respect for human participants, animals and the environment
  • Responsible use of public resources to conduct research
  • Appropriate acknowledgement of the role of others in research
  • Responsible communication of research results

All SAHMRI staff, students and visiting researchers must comply with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and associated SAHMRI Research Policies.

Concerns regarding research misconduct will be taken very seriously by the institute. Staff are encouraged to contact the SAHMRI Designated Person Sarah Lawson in the first instance to discuss their concerns.

Research Misconduct Designated Person

SAHMRI has appointed a senior staff member from the Research Office as the Misconduct Designated Person. Any allegation of research misconduct should be made to the Designated Person who will obtain the information required to undertake an initial assessment. The documentation will then be discussed in detail with the Research Integrity Advisors. Following assessment the matter, details will then be directed to the Executive Director if appropriate.

Sarah Lawson is SAHMRI’s Research Misconduct Designated Person.

Advisors in Research Integrity

The Research Integrity Advisory can provide confidential advice to staff, students or other persons about:

  • Actions that might constitute misconduct
  • The rights and responsibilities of the complainant
  • The procedures that will apply in the handling of allegations of research misconduct at SAHMRI

Professor Maria Makrides and Professor Caroline Miller are SAHMRI’s Advisors in Research Integrity.

SAHMRI is committed to conducting and supporting methodologically and ethically sound research that adheres to, and is conducted in accordance with, ethical principles, guidelines for responsible research conduct, legislation and regulations.

Responsibility for ensuring research governance requirements are met falls principally to the institution that hosts the research and the researchers who conduct health and medical research.

To address this, SAHMRI has developed a Research Governance Framework for all research involving human participants to ensure compliance with these requirements.

This Research Governance Framework is intended to provide guidance to researchers, both those employed by SAHMRI and external researchers seeking access to the SAHMRI site, data and/or staff.

When do I need to apply the Framework and complete a Site Specific Assessment (SSA)?

The SAHMRI Research Governance Framework applies to researchers involved in the conduct of health and medical research involving humans that:

  • Is conducted on the SAHMRI site (i.e. the North Terrace building) and includes the clinical rooms on Level 4; and/or
  • Involves the use of samples/data/records or other material held and managed by SAHMRI

The Framework applies equally to employees of SAHMRI and external researchers who are undertaking research at the SAHMRI site.

The SSA is a component of research governance and involves assessing the suitability of the resources at the SAHMRI site and whether they are sufficient to ensure the satisfactory conduct and completion of the project. It also considers whether appropriate consultation and approval has been granted by local decision makers to permit the project to the undertaken at SAHMRI.

This Framework does not apply to research undertaken by SAHMRI staff at external institutions, for example a public health organisation. Local policies will apply at these institutions and must be adhered to at all times.

Compliance with this Framework is mandatory. Download the form required.

Once completed, the SSA form must be submitted to the SAHMRI Research Governance Officer at researchgovernance@sahmri.com.

Compliance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and SAHMRI Policies

SAHMRI is committed to ensuring that all research is conducted in accordance with the principles outlined within the Code, and takes its responsibilities associated with research integrity very seriously. The Research Office has SAHMRI Policies that align with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (Code) and the Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Code.

In addition, the NHMRC has recently added the Guidelines to Counter Foreign Interference in the Australian University Sector (UFIT Guidelines) to its list of applicable laws and obligations. SAHMRI, as a NHMRC Administering Institution and with its close association with Australian Universities, supports these principles.

As such, the Research Office has updated the below documents to reflect this -

All SAHMRI staff and those working within our associated sites are expected to comply with the provisions outlined within the Code and associated SAHMRI Policies.

We ask that you familiarise yourself with the Code and the SAHMRI Policy documents.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Research Office.

All SAHMRI researchers are required to receive ethics approval from a properly constituted Human Research Ethics Committee. 

Research must comply with the conditions outlined in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. 

As SAHMRI does not have its own Human Research Ethics Committee, researchers need to contact the relevant Committee (eg SA Health, Bellberry, University of Adelaide, etc.) for information regarding approval processes specific to their research. 


The South Australian Aboriginal Health Research Accord marked a new era not only for SAHMRI's research but for how Aboriginal health research is performed across the state.

Signing this Accord signalled a significant shift in Aboriginal health research, towards research that empowers Aboriginal communities to be partners in research.

Principles of the Accord

There are nine key principles of the Accord:

    • Priorities - Research should be conducted on priorities arising from and endorsed by the Aboriginal community to enhance acceptability, relevance and accountability.
    • Involvement - The involvement of Aboriginal people and organisations is essential in developing, implementing and translating research.
    • Partnership - Research should be based on the establishment of mutual trust, and equivalent partnerships, and the ability to work competently across cultures.
    • Respect - Researchers must demonstrate respect for Aboriginal knowledge, Aboriginal knowledge systems and custodianship of that knowledge
    • Communication - Communication must be culturally and community relevant and involve a willingness to listen and learn.
    • Reciprocity - Research should deliver tangible benefits to Aboriginal communities. These benefits should be determined by Aboriginal people themselves and consider outcomes and processes during, and as a result of, the research.
    • Ownership - Researchers should acknowledge, respect, and protect Aboriginal intellectual property rights and ensure transparent negotiation of intellectual property use and benefit sharing.
    • Control - Researchers must ensure the respectful and culturally appropriate management of all biological and non-biological research materials.
    • Knowledge Translation and Exchange - Sharing and translation of knowledge generated through research must be integrated into all elements of the research process to maximise impact on policy and practice.

Download The Accord companion document

Signatories to the Accord

On 2 September 2014 this historic Accord was signed by key partners in South Australia, including:

  • Professor Richard Russell AM, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Operations / Dean of Graduate Studies, The University of Adelaide
  • Professor David Lloyd, Vice Chancellor and President, University of South Australia
  • Professor David Day, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Flinders University
  • Mrs Janice Rigney, Chair, Council of Aboriginal Elders South Australia
  • Mr Shane Mohor, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia
  • Mr Raymond Spencer, Chair of the Board, SAHMRI

All SAHMRI and partner researchers who wish to use animals for teaching, research or experimentation within the SAHMRI Bioresources or PIRL facilities must obtain approval from the SAHMRI Animal Ethics Committee (AEC).

Approval is obtained through a detailed written submission to the SAHMRI AEC outlining the project activities, justifying the use of animals requested, discussing the principle of the 3R’s (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) and recognising and accepting responsibility for the care and use of animals.

The use of animals for teaching, research or experimentation is regulated by state legislation, the South Australian Animal Welfare Act 1985. This legislation requires that any animal care and use is conducted in compliance with the Australian Code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes (8th Edition 2013).

For any general enquires regarding the Animal Ethics Committee, please contact secretary.aec@sahmri.com. 

Guidelines

The SAHMRI Animal Ethics Committee adheres to the South Australian Animal Welfare Act 1985. The Act sets the legal requirements for the use of animals in research and teaching and regulates the institution’s Animal Ethics Committee function and reporting of animal related activities.

The Act requires full compliance of all parties involved with animal related activities to the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes (8th Ed. 2013). The Code specifies the governing principles and ethical basis for all decisions and actions for all involved with the care and use of animals for research of teaching purposes.

SAHMRI’s AEC Operating Guidelines outline the institutional policies and procedures for the use of animals for teaching and research purposes. These guidelines extend to any personnel who utilise the SAHMRI AEC for the purpose of animal research or teaching.

Ethics and compliance training

The SAHMRI Animal Ethics and Compliance Course is required to be completed by any personnel involved with animal research. People excluded from this requirement are those who have provided intellectual input to a project but who are not involved in the project and statisticians who will complete the post-processing of data. Please note, if a person is listed as the Principle Investigator of the project they MUST complete the Animal Ethics and Compliance course or the refresher course.

Refreshers courses are required to be completed every 3 years.

For personnel external to SAHMRI and its partners, to access the animal ethics and compliance, please contact the Secretary of the Animal Ethics Committee secretary.aec@sahmri.com. 

Submission of animal ethics applications

Personnel wishing to use animals for research or teaching purposes must obtain ethical approval from the SAHMRI AEC prior to commencement of a project. In addition, any changes to an approved project are also subject to ethical review and must be approved prior to including them within the project.

As of August 2021, all animal ethics applications and amendments are required to be submitted via SAHMRI’s online database.

For guidelines on how to submit a new application or amendment within this database, please read the guide to applications and amendments for researchers.

If you have any difficulties with the database, please contact tickatlab_support@sahmri.com.

Please ensure that sufficient time is given when submitting amendments and applications to ensure these can continue without delay. Applications and amendments are subject to ethical review and are not assumed to be approved in the first round of submission. There might be several recommendations the AEC has prior to approval being granted for projects. Please submit applications and amendments well in advance of the anticipated start date of the project to avoid disappointment. 

Please note, all new applications must be submitted for pre-screen and late submissions will not be accepted

Deadlines and scheduled meetings

AEC Dates

Reporting requirements for investigators

Unexpected Adverse Events

Three Steps if an Unexpected Adverse Event occurs:

1. Take action:

Immediately ensure the adverse impacts on the wellbeing of the animal are addressed. Alleviate any pain or undue distress to the animal by emergency treatment or humane killing. (The animal may have already died).

2. Notify:

    • The AWO as soon as possible (ASAP), but within 24 hours of the event occurring. Email: MBX AWO /Phone
    • The Manager of the facility (Bioresources or PIRL) in which the event occurred.
    • The Primary Investigator named on the application.

    3. Report:

    Please submit a report within 72 hours of the Unexpected Adverse Event (UAE) to the Animal Welfare Officer (AWO) via SAHMRI’s in-house database system Tick@lab and notify the AWO that this has been done. The AWO will report to the Animal Ethics Committee (AEC).

    The report must include the following information:

    • Ethics number
    • Animal ID/strain/age/gender
    • Location: e.g Bioresources Holding room/ PIRL building
    • Summary of events leading up to the unexpected adverse event
    • Actions taken when problems first noticed, and to alleviate pain or distress.
    • Attach Clinical Record Sheets, or other monitoring sheets.
    • Results of the post-mortem examination, (see below) if available. (AWO can provide in their report)
    • Considerations for the prevention of future adverse events and interventions or corrective actions that may be taken.

    When an animal dies unexpectedly, or is humanely killed due to unforeseen complications, a post-mortem should be performed by the AWO, Facility Veterinarian, or a person with appropriate experience or qualifications. Please place the body in the fridge to maintain anatomical structures if the post-mortem cannot be done immediately.

    The AWO will investigate and advise of any interim arrangements required. This may involve modifications to procedures, urgent medical treatment, husbandry intervention or, in exceptional cases, suspension of the project.

    Annual Reporting to the AEC

    There are two reports required by the AEC for each approved application: an annual progress report and a final report.

    Annual progress reports are required to be submitted to the AEC and are due on the date of approval of the project each year the project is active. During the transition period onto Tick@lab, and for the reporting year of 2021 (due in 2022), PDF forms will be required to be submitted via email to the Animal Ethics Officer (secretary.aec@sahmri.com). Within this report, the AEC requires reporting on animal numbers and usage, adverse events that have occurred, and attachment of a Mortality Sheet and Clinical Record Sheet. The continuation of a project is subject to fulfilment of annual progress reporting requirements for ongoing projects. Annual progress reports can be downloaded here.

    Final reports are required to be submitted as soon as practicable after project completion. These are submitted onto the Tick@lab system within the application. To submit a final report, please refer to the application guide. After the AEC have reviewed the protocol closure form, the application will be closed on the researcher’s behalf.

    Useful Links and Information

    Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes

    This Code provides an ethical framework and governing principles to guide decisions and actions of all those involved in the care and use of animals for scientific purposes. The Code details the responsibilities of investigators, animal carers, institutions, animal ethics committees (AECs) and all people involved in the care and use of animals. It also describes processes for accountability.

    The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs)

    The NC3Rs website holds useful information on best practice, new technologies and approaches to minimise the use of animals and improve animal welfare (the 3Rs).

    Animal Ethics Committee terms of reference

    Purpose

    The SAHMRI Biosafety Committee’s (SAHMRI BC) primary objective is the protection of personnel, the general public and the environment. To meet this goal, SAHMRI BC imposes requirements for safe laboratory and biological safety practices, reviews and approves policies, procedures, training, programs and facilities pursuant to the safe use of biological agents, other biological materials and toxins.

    The SAHMRI BC is also responsible for reviewing and approving those research and teaching activities conducted by researchers, staff, students and/or visiting scientists on SAHMRI property, and/or under the control of SAHMRI, that involve the use of biohazardous materials including regulated animal and plant pathogens, biological toxins and recombinant DNA molecules.

    SAHMRI BC Meetings

    Scheduled Committee meetings are planned in March, June, August and December each year.

    Application Forms

    Please contact the SAHMRI BC Executive Officer for further information: email biosafety.committee@sahmri.com or phone 08 8128 4003

    Submission of Applications

    Applications must be received at least 14 days prior to a meeting to be considered at that meeting.

    The SAHMRI BC will only accept electronic copies of forms. Paper copies will not be accepted.

    Options for submitting:

    1. Physical signatures on a paper copy and then scan this and submit as a pdf
    2. Electronic signatures are also acceptable - with only the finalised version of the application to be submitted
    3. As a pdf converted from the Word document, asking every co-applicant to send an email agreeing to their inclusion on the application to biosafety.committee@sahmri.com.

    Make sure all emails have in the title line the appropriate reference to the application. Please convert the signed form into a pdf before submitting.

    Other useful forms and documents:

    OGTR Fact Sheet Regulatory System Overview

    Sample Movement Log

    Out-of-Session Approvals

    Where work is needed to commence urgently and the dealing is low risk, the committee might be able to approve the application out-of-session. This is the exception, not the norm. If you wish your application to be considered out-of-session, please inform the executive officer, who will consider the nature of the application and advise accordingly.

    National Legislative Framework

    The Commonwealth has established a national legislative framework for the regulation of gene technology in Australia. This regulatory system is managed by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR). The Gene Technology Act 2000 was passed by Federal Parliament in December 2000 and took effect from 21 June 2001. The Commonwealth Gene Technology Regulations 2001 form another component of the national scheme, also taking effect from 21 June 2001. More detail about the Regulator and the Regulations, including application forms, is available on the OGTR website.

    A new regulatory scheme dealing with Security Sensitive Biological Agents (SSBAs) has been introduced and the Biosafety Committee needs to approve dealings with SSBAs as of January 2010.