HRC Ethics Committee
It is the responsibility of the HRC Ethics Committee (HRCEC) to ensure that independent ethical assessment of any proposed research submitted for an HRC grant has been carried out either by the HRCEC itself, or an ethics committee approved by the HRCEC. The HRCEC approves ethics committees to carry out this function. To ensure that appropriate standards are met, the HRCEC has developed a formal approval process in which they review and monitor an ethics committee.

Approved ethics committees
The HRCEC approves two types of ethics committees:

  1. The Health and Disability Ethics Committees (HDECs) are independent ethics committees administered by the Ministry of Health. They only review health and disability research.  The HRCRC currently approves four HDECs (Northern A, Northern B, Central and Southern). 
  2. Institutional Ethics Committees (IECs) and other human ethics committees: IECs are established and supported by the institution to which they belong, usually a university, and review research that is occurring within their institution, which can span a broad range of research applications involving human participants. The HRCEC currently approves 13 IECS:
  • Auckland Health Research Ethics Committee
  • Auckland University of Technology Ethics Committee
  • Lincoln University Human Ethics Committee
  • Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Northern
  • Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Southern A
  • Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Southern B
  • University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee
  • University of Otago Human Ethics Committee
  • University of Otago Human Ethics Committee (Health)
  • University of Waikato Human Research Ethics Committee (Health)
  • Unitec Research Ethics Committee
  • Victoria University of Wellington Human Ethics Committee
  • Wintec Human Ethics in Research Group

If you are an ethics committee seeking approval or would like further information on the approval process, please read the HRC guidelines for approval of ethics committees

Annual reporting and re-approval
The approval of ethics committees by the HRCEC is a formal process. Once approved, the HRCEC requires ethics committees to provide an annual report from an ethics committee, which allows the HRCEC to monitor the activity and functioning of the committee as well as address any issues which arise out of the ethical review process.

In addition to the annual report, on re-approval year (a maximum of three calendar years from approval) the ethics committees are asked to complete a report from an ethics committee seeking re-approval, which summarises the activity of the committee over the past three years and primarily focuses on issues of process and procedure.

The HRCEC requires this information to satisfy itself that the on-going delegation of its functions regarding independent ethical assessment is appropriate.