Online application and notification procedures

From Thursday, 16 September 2021, all ethics applications will be submitted via Massey University's Upgraded Research Information Management System (RIMS).  Access to RIMS and all information regarding policy, application processes and guidance material can be found on OneMassey (Staff) and MyHub (Students).

The following procedures assume that:

1. Applicants have determined that their project falls within the scope of the Code.
The following activities must comply with the Code:
a) All research involving either the participation of humans or where the research impacts on individuals, groups or communities. This includes consultancies, contract research, staff research and supervised student research;
b) Any teaching which involves the participation of students for the demonstration of procedures or phenomena, which have a potential for harm;
c) Any evaluation of university services, organisational practices or teaching programmes where information of a personal nature may be collected, where participants may be identified, or where the performance of staff may be commented on. This does not include routine organisational quality improvement activities, e.g. academic programme evaluations or service delivery projects but does include activities which have a research component and may lead to publications.

2. Staff have attended a training course for undertaking research with human participants.  Refer to the "Training seminars" page of this website or the Development Calendar on the People and Organisational Development website;

3. Students will have sought assistance from their supervisor;

4. Recruitment and/or data collection have not commenced.

To ensure you fulfil the approval procedures set out in the Code, follow the step by step guide below. If the relevant information is not included, your project may be delayed.

Step 2 - Discussion of ethical issues

1. Researchers/teachers are required to assess the ethical issues of their projects in discussion with colleagues, preferably independent of the project, and with reference to appropriate ethical and professional codes.
2. Supervisors should ensure that research students are instructed in the Code and that they undertake an ethical analysis of their project, which is then discussed with the supervisor.

Step 3 - Risk and HDEC assessment

The online application process is in two parts and consists of Part 1) a risk assessment; and Part 2) a full application (for review by an ethics committee).  The risk assessment questions must be completed and submitted.  If the research is deemed to be low risk, the process is complete after Part 1.  A confirmation email will be sent.
If, after risk assessment, the research requires review by a human ethics committee, a full application must be completed.  The researcher will be prompted to complete further questions and upload public documentation before online submission is completed (refer to the "Online ethics applicant user guide" in Step 4).
During the initial risk assessment researchers will be asked if approval is required by a Health and Disability Ethics Committee (HDEC).  Refer to the Standard Operating Procedures for HDECs document below (see Section 3) to determine whether your research requires review by an HDEC.  If the research does require review by an HDEC, for all applications you will need to nominate MUHEC as a sponsor in section A.5 of the HDEC application form.  Refer to the MUHEC Sponsor Authorisation Protocol for further information.

Step 4 - Online human ethics submission process

Low Risk Notifications
If the research is deemed to be low risk, automatic email notification is provided on submission of the risk assessment questions.  Researchers can also download a confirmation letter (instructions are provided in the email).

Full Applications
Academic/Professional staff based at the Albany Campus; and students whose Chief Supervisor is located at the Albany Campus will primarily have their applications allocated to MUHEC: Northern, unless review by a committee with medical expertise is required.

Academic/Professional staff based at either the Manawatu or Wellington Campus; and students whose Chief Supervisor is located at either the Palmerston North or Wellington campus will primarily have their applications allocated to either MUHEC: Southern A or MUHEC: Southern B.

Please note that the online submission process allows for some balancing of workflows on a monthly basis.  In order to ensure researchers have their applications reviewed in a timely manner, a Research Ethics Office team member may contact you to discuss assigning your application to the next available committee meeting regardless of location.   

If your application requires review by a committee with medical expertise (and does not require review by a Health & Disability Ethics Committee) your application will be allocated to MUHEC: Southern A.

MUHEC Online Submission Process/Guidelines

Access to RIMS and all information regarding policy, application processes and guidance material can be found on OneMassey (Staff) and MyHub (Students).


Ethics Notes


Three phases of ethical research

Examples to support you during phases one and two

1.     Ethics thinking

Thinking about research design and ethical issues

    • Read the Code and think about how it applies to your research
    • Talk with others (other academics, people from your potential participant group, advisory group, cultural advisor etc.) for their perspectives on your proposed data generating activities and any difficulties they foresee.
    • Check  ‘FAQs & Additional Information’ document on Ethics website
    • Identify potential ethical issues; consider ways of mitigating
    • Check exemplars on this webpage for guidance

2.     Ethics notification/application procedure

Filling in online forms

    • Consult ‘User guide for applicants’, ‘User guide for supervisors’
    • Check exemplars on this page for guidance
    • Write clear descriptions of potential issues and mitigations in lay language

3.     Ethics in practice

    • Discuss any unexpected issues with a supervisor/an advisor and Research Ethics Office
    • Apply by email to Research Ethics Office requesting approval for minor amendments to research procedures
    • You are encouraged to communicate any issues that arose to the Office or approving Ethics Committee Chair for our future consideration


The extracts from Massey researchers’ low risk notifications are shared with their permission, for your guidance. They indicate ways of providing information to explain the research and the ethical issues involved.

Exemplar 1

Exemplar 2

Exemplar 3

Exemplar 4

Health & Disability Online Submission

Health and Disability Ethics Committee online forms and guidance

Massey HDEC Sponsor Authorisation Protocol 2021 (517 KB)

 Please consult the Massey University Sponsor Authorisation Protocol when completing Section A5 of the HDEC online application

Contact Information:

Patsy Broad
DDI 06 951 6840 (Internal ext 83840)


To assist researchers with the submission of human ethics applications in RIMS

WHERE: Research Ethics Office, Quad A Building, Level 3 - Room 3.01A, Albany Campus
TIMES: 10.00am - 12.00 noon
DATES: 1 February, 1 March, 1 April, 3 May, 1 June, 1 July, 2 August, 1 September, 1 October, 1 November, 1 December

Contact Hannah Foreman (0800 MASSEY (0800 627 739) ext 43215) for further details or to book a 30 minute session

Step 5 - Check Application Deadlines

Step 6 - Online Workflow Diagram

Human ethics online workflow