Ethics and Travel Update
Contact information for MERI
Visit the MERI contact page to learn more about the team.
General inquiries: email@example.com
Graduate research: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Human research ethics drop-in
Date: Tuesday 15 September
Time: 3pm – 4pm
With so many ethics updates coming through, you might be considering how they will impact your research, including any research redesigns. Come chat with Associate Professor Tricia Eadie and Tim Mattingsbrooke about what this might mean for your research at the next drop-in.
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.
Reminder: Themis Human Ethics Workbench Clean Up
In October 2020, access to Themis Human Ethics Workbench will be disabled and replaced with Infonetica Ethics Review Manager (ERM).
To ensure a smooth transition of your research applications to the new system:
- Continue using Themis Human Ethics Workbench to submit new human ethics research applications
- Progress draft applications up until 5 October, as draft applications will not move to the ERM
- Save a copy of any historical/completed applications that you wish to refer to in future by October 5, as these will not move to the ERM
- Use a unique Project Title and attachment File Names to ensure your projects and attachments are moved into the ERM. These must be within 200 characters (including spaces) with no special text or characters.
In the coming months, you will receive communications providing further details and instructions to ensure your readiness for the ERM.
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.