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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 Committee and process

Please refer to the Human Ethics Committee web page for complete information on the types of Human Ethics consents required (including links to HDEC):

Manager, Academic Committees

Gary Witte
Tel 64 3 479 8256
Room G22 Clocktower Building

Research Ethics Administrator

Jo Farron de Diaz
Tel 64 3 479 8956
Room G23 Clocktower Building

Please note that researchers using Otago District Health Board staff, patients or facilities are also required to fill out an additional form available from the Research and Enterprise Office FTP site (see the "Clinical Research Approval Form" in the Clinical Research Folder).

Christchurch Campus

Christchurch School of Medicine & Health Sciences staff should refer to the following website: Applications must reach the CSMHS Research and Enterprise Office two full working days prior to the agenda closing date. Which committee you go to will depend on when your application is submitted to the CSMHS Research and Enterprise Office.

Wellington Campus

University of Otago, Wellington staff should refer to the following website: for the FAQs regarding ethical consents.

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Animal Ethics

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/appropriate Animal Ethics Committee (from the Dunedin, Christchurch or Wellington campuses). The Otago Animal Ethics Committees Terms of Reference are available elsewhere on this website.

Regular training courses are run in Dunedin by the Animal Welfare Office for interested staff. Please note that all new users of research animals are required by the University to attend one of these training courses.

For further information on training courses - please contact:
Animal Welfare Office
Tel 64 3 479 5656

In Dunedin applications should be submitted to:

The Secretary
Animal Ethics Committee
C/- Hunter Centre
Cnr Frederick and Great King Streets
P O Box 56

In Christchurch applications should be submitted to:

The Secretary
Animal Ethics Committee
C/- Deans Department
University of Otago, Christchurch
P O Box 4345, Level 5, 2 Riccarton Avenue, Christchurch

Animal enquiries should be made to: Manager of the Animal Facility
Tel 64 3 364 0530

In Wellington applications should be submitted to:

The Secretary
Animal Ethics Committee
C/- Pathology Department
University of Otago, Wellington
PO Box 7343, Mein Street, Newtown, Wellington South

Animal enquiries should be made to: Manager of the Animal Facility
(04) 385 5828

Please note that genetically modified or 'risk' species of animals require IBSC approvals in addition to AEC approvals (please contact the Director of the Animal Welfare Office) if you have any questions regarding the definitions of a genetically modified animal or 'risk' species.

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Other Regulatory Consents

For any of the following consents, you should first contact the University's Institutional Biological Safety Committee (IBSC):

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

Applications for all three campuses should be sent to:

Institutional Biological Safety Committee
Tel 64 3 479 6539

Other useful contacts are:

The Manager of Transitional & Containment Facilities
C/- Deans Office, CSMHS

Manager of Transitional & Containment Facilities
C/-Pathology Dept, WSMHS

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