To conduct human research within Public Health Organisations, researchers must obtain ethical and governance approval before a project can commence. All research projects must be submitted for some level of ethical and research governance review before the research project may commence.

The Greater Western Human Research Ethics Committee (GWHREC) incorporates Western NSW, Far West NSW, Southern NSW, Murrumbidgee and Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health Districts. Both Human Research Ethics Application (HREA) and Site Specific Applications (SSA) are created and submitted through REGIS (Research Ethics and Governance Information System).

Research policies and guidelines can be found here:

The Terms of Reference for the GWHREC can be found here.

Research Ethics Advice

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An ethics advice service is available through the ISLHD Research Office to provide health professionals and clinicians with a one-on-one appointment to receive advice on ethical issues that merit consideration in the design, review and conduct of human research projects, how those could be addressed in an ethics application and in the conduct of a project.

For further information or to make an appointment please contact ISLHD Research on 4253 4800 or

Guidance for Researchers

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Research proposals accepted for review

The Greater Western Human Research Ethics Committee (GWHREC) is accredited to review general research. This includes:

  • epidemiological research, including retrospective audits
  • population health research
  • health service research
  • qualitative research
  • quantitative research
  • non-medical treatment clinical trials (e.g. service delivery, education, exercise, diet, web-based care, musical therapy)
  • other general categories of research


Research proposals that require submission to an alternate ethics committee

  • Medical treatment clinical trials (e.g. trials involving drugs, devices, surgical procedures, radiotherapy, imaging)
  • Multi-centre studies involving sites outside of NSW
  • Research with an intervention primarily aimed at children*
  • Studies involving data linkage or data held by the NSW Ministry of Health, Cancer Institute or Commonwealth

These research proposals will need to be reviewed by an appropriately accredited HREC. A list of NSW Ethics committees and their accreditations can be found here.
* GWHREC will accept retrospective audits involving paediatric data and data or surveys involving parents/guardians.


Research that may affect the health and well-being of Aboriginal people and communities

The Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) of NSW considers applications relating to research that may affect the health and well-being of Aboriginal people and communities. An application to AH&MRC should be made for research for which any one of the following applies:

  • The experience of Aboriginal people is an explicit focus of all or part of the research;
  • Data collection is explicitly directed at Aboriginal peoples;
  • Aboriginal peoples, as a group, are to be examined in the results;
  • The information has an impact on one or more Aboriginal communities;
  • Aboriginal health funds are a source of funding

For further information please visit the AH&MRC website.

A full guide for researchers submitting to the GWHREC can be found here. For any further information please contact the GWHREC Executive Officer on (02) 6330 5948 or

Please note under Ministry of Health policy directive PD2023_015 Ethics and Governance Review Fees will be incurred for some studies reviewed by NSW Public Health Organisations. The fee structure can be found here.

HREC meeting dates and deadlines

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2024 Full HREC Meeting Dates 

HREC Meeting Submission Deadline
7 February 25 January
6 March 23 February
3 April 22 March
1 May 19 April
5 June 24 May
3 July 21 June
7 August 26 July
4 September 23 August
2 October 20 September
6 November 25 October
4 December 22 November

Greater Than Low Risk applications will be reviewed by the full committee, Low and negligible risk applications will be reviewed by a Sub-committee.


2024 HREC Sub-Committee Meeting Dates

Meeting A Deadline Meeting B Deadline
14 February 7 February 28 February 21 February
13 March 6 March 27 March 20 March
10 April 3 April 24 April 17 April
8 May 1 May 22 May 15 May
12 June 5 June 26 June 19 June
10 July 3 July 24 July 17 July
14 August 7 August 28 August 21 August
11 September 4 September 25 September 18 September
9 October 2 October 23 October 16 October
13 November 6 November 27 November 20 November
11 December 4 December 18 December 11 December