For researchers

Dr Koya Ayonrinde stands in a corridor inside Fiona Stanley Hospital.SMHS is committed to supporting and guiding researchers in:

  • study design
  • application and approval processes
  • legal and contractual matters
  • ongoing monitoring of research projects during the project lifecycle.

Research Support and Development Unit

Based at the Fiona Stanley Hospital campus, the centralised Research Support and Development Unit (RSDU) provides ethical and governance review of proposed research projects and monitoring of approved research for all SMHS sites including:

  • Fiona Stanley Hospital
  • Fremantle Hospital and Health Service
  • Rockingham Peel Group
  • South Metropolitan Mental Health Service
  • South Metropolitan Population Health Unit.

The RSDU aims to:

  • improve the efficiency and quality of ethical review and site authorisation, especially for multi-site projects and clinical trials
  • support local clinical researchers to understand and meet their regulatory obligations.

The team hosts several networking meetings and educational events throughout the year to facilitate collaborations and enhance the research capability in the organisation.

All research proposals are submitted and managed via the Department of Health Research Governance Service (RGS) system (external site). This platform incorporates the WA Health Ethics Application Form and the Site Specific Assessment Form.


Research projects cannot commence at SMHS sites until they have:

  1. ethical and scientific approval, and
  2. site authorisation approval.

The ethical review and site authorisation are independent processes but can be conducted in parallel.


Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) review research proposals involving human participants to ensure they are ethically acceptable and comply with the NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) (external site). HRECs also monitor the conduct of research projects until completion to ensure they continue to meet ethical requirements.

All human research conducted in WA Health must undergo ethical and scientific review, approval and monitoring by a HREC.

Researchers wishing to discuss ethics issues should phone 6152 2064 or email an ethics enquiry.

Site authorisation

The WA Health Research Governance Framework (external site) governs the scientific, ethical and site governance review and approval and the conduct and monitoring of human research within WA public health organisations.

The policy and procedures within the framework apply to WA Health employees and non-WA Health employees (including clinical and non-clinical university academics) who propose to undertake, manage, review and govern human research involving patients, their tissue or data accessed through WA Health.

Researchers should phone 6152 2646 or email a site approval enquiry.

Ethics and site authorisation approvals

Research governance and integrity

To receive a copy of the internal SMHS Research Governance and Integrity Policy, and multiple procedures and guidelines, please email SMHS Research Governance.


Last Updated: 20/01/2022