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The University requires that any research involving human participants and/or animals is conducted in accordance with the highest ethical standards. Where appropriate, compliance includes ethical approval from the relevant ethics committee.

Research involving human participants

The University of Otago has a strong tradition in research culture and the institution has very high standards for research excellence. All research involving human participants undertaken by University of Otago staff or students should be reviewed by a research ethics committee. Supervisors must ensure that the student's research project complies with all of the requirements of the University's ethics policy.

The researcher has the primary responsibility for maintaining the highest ethical standards inherent in a culture of research excellence. An ethics committee should be used as a tool for researchers to help establish, maintain and review those standards. The responsibility of the researcher extends right throughout the life of the research project. It does not begin and end with the ethical review process.

You will need to indicate on your Costing and Consents Worksheet that you require ethical or regulatory consents for your proposal. If you are successful, you will need to obtain the appropriate approvals and forward copies of them to the Research and Enterprise Office before your research account will be activated.

Human Ethics Committees and process

Visit the Human Ethics Committees web page for complete information on the types of Human Ethics consents required processes, applications forms, and contacts, including The Health and Disability Ethics Committee (HDEC).

Please note that researchers using Te Whatu Ora Southern staff, patients or facilities are also required to fill out the Clinical Research Approval Form in the Clinical Research Folder.

Christchurch Campus

University of Otago, Christchurch staff should refer to:

Wellington Campus

University of Otago, Wellington staff should refer to:

Animal Ethics Committee

Projects involving the use of animals for research, testing or teaching in the University of Otago must obtain approval for the work from the relevant Animal Ethics Committee.

Visit Otago Animal Ethics Committee for full details of processes, application forms, training and contacts.

Other regulatory consents

For any of the following consents contact the University's Institutional Biological Safety Committee:


  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Hazardous Substances New Organisms (HSNO)
  • Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)

For other Regulatory Consents such as Department of Conservation (DoC) permits you should approach the appropriate body.

Committee, and Health and safety advice

Institutional Biological Safety Committee (IBSC) terms of reference

Biological safety and compliance (Health, Safety, and Wellbeing)

Visit For researchers for more information and support for University of Otago researchers.
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