Contact information for MERI
Visit the MERI contact page to learn more about the team.
Infonetica Ethics Review Manager Launching Soon
On Friday 2 October 2020, 5pm, access to Themis Human Ethics Workbench will be disabled and replaced with Infonetica Ethics Review Manager.
The last MGSE HEAG Meeting will be held on Tuesday 6 October. To have your new application considered for review and feedback:
- Lodge your application in Themis by Friday 25 September. Note: approval may happen in Themis or Infonetica.
- Ensure your application is compliant so that it is transferred to Infonetica. Otherwise, non-compliant applications will not be transferred to Infonetica.
To ensure a smooth transition of your research applications to the new system:
- Progress draft applications up until Friday 2 October, as draft applications will not move to Infonetica.
- Save a copy of any historical/completed applications that you wish to refer to in future by Friday 2 October, as these will not move to Infonetica.
- Use unique Project Title and attachment file names to ensure your projects and attachments are moved into Infonetica. These must be within 200 characters (including spaces) with no special text or characters.
An MGSE Infonetica Information Session will be held on Tuesday 29 September, 3.30-4.30pm.
DET update: Research activity in government schools and early childhood settings
All research and evaluation activity involving Victorian government schools and Victorian early childhood services requires approval through the Department of Education and Training’s (DET’s) Research in Schools and Early Childhood settings (RISEC) process.
The move to increased restrictions across Victoria necessitates that the DET again pauses the RISEC process and research and evaluation activities involving schools and early childhood sites. These activities are suspended for the remainder of 2020.
Therefore, the following should not proceed:
- RISEC-approved research and evaluations
- Any other contact with schools or early childhood sites, staff, or children to conduct, or to recruit for, research and evaluation activity
- RISEC applications and amendment requests.
There is no guarantee that this suspension of activities will not continue into next year. MERI encourages all supervisors to continue to discuss with Graduate Researchers how to redesign their project so that it can go forward.
A message from Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM)
CEM is still accepting applications to conduct research in CEM schools and these applications will be subjected to the usual review process. However, even if approved, researchers are not yet permitted to approach schools until they are given written permission by CEM. All approvals at the moment are ‘conditional’. Some projects have been exempt from this current ban on approaching schools (e.g. research that has been instigated by a school not an external researcher, or research that had already begun pre-COVID), but this is considered by CEM on a case-by-case basis. At the moment non-essential staff or visitors (e.g. researchers) are not permitted in CEM schools.
Reminder: for staff who submit ethics applications and amendments
Please ensure that once you have submitted a new application, revisions or an amendment to an existing application, to email email@example.com and include your ethics id number in the subject line as this alerts the ethics officer to contact you if there are any issues with your application.
To check the status of your ethics application or amendment please review the spreadsheet under the FAQ: ‘How can I track the progress of my application?’. This spreadsheet is updated regularly. If you cannot find your application on the spreadsheet contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proposed changes to the Human Ethics National Statement
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is proposing revised chapters of Section 4 and Section 5 of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) (updated to 2018) (the National Statement) and is seeking feedback on these proposed changes. The University will be submitting an institutional response to the NHMRC so feedback is being sought from the University community to help inform that response. If you are interested in providing feedback, please provide your comments via the survey link by 30 September.
Travel update to China, Hong Kong and Indonesia
China will not allow most foreigners to enter China due to COVID-19 and direct flights between China and Australia have been significantly reduced. DFAT advises that if, despite that advice, you travel to China you will be subject to 14 days mandatory quarantine and quarantine requirements may change at short notice. If you’re already in China and wish to return to Australia, DFAT recommends you do so as soon as possible by commercial means. Australians are advised that they may be at risk of arbitrary detention.
National Security legislation for Hong Kong came into effect on 1 July 2020. This law could be interpreted broadly and the full extent of the law and how it will be applied is not yet clear. You could break the law without intending to. You may be at increased risk of detention on vaguely defined national security grounds. Visit the Smart Traveller website and select 'Local Laws' to find out more.
New regulations are in place for researchers wishing to conduct research in Indonesia and foreign researchers are advised to confirm compliance with following new regulations:
“Foreign nationals conducting research in Indonesia are advised to reconfirm their compliance with local regulations, following a legislative amendment in July that introduced new requirements. Foreign researchers must now seek ethical approval from the Research, Technology and Higher Education Ministry, alongside the pre-existing visa and permit requirements for conducting research. Penalties for non-compliance with this policy now include criminal prosecution with the possibility of imprisonment. Travellers intending to conduct research are advised to contact their nearest Indonesian Embassy for advice.”
The University of Melbourne would like to emphasise that researchers are to contact their nearest embassy or consulate for specific guidance if they are currently conducting research in Indonesia or will be in the future.
For more information:
University travel portal
The University’s health and safety travel portal has been updated with the most recent DFAT travel advice.