When submitting applications to the Departments of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs Human Research Ethics Committee (DDVA HREC) there are requirements that should be taken into consideration. The research ethics flowchart provides an overview of the steps involved in seeking the required approvals.

Research ethics flowchart (PDF, 154.76 KB)

For research conducted by or involving Defence personnel (or their data), researchers are required to obtain evidence of Defence organisational support and where appropriate, in-principle command approval prior to submitting an ethics application.

Further detail on the requirements for organisational support and command approval is available in:

DDVA HREC Standard Operating Procedures (PDF, 1.07 MB)

Human and Animal Research Manual (PDF, 450.89 KB)

Failure to obtain Defence organisational support and command approval prior to submission will result in delays in consideration by the DDVA HREC.

Full review

Research that involves the following requires full review by the DDVA HREC.

  • waiver of consent for research using personal information, including personal health information, in health/medical research
  • women who are pregnant and the human foetus
  • people highly dependent on medical care who may be unable to give consent
  • people with a cognitive impairment, an intellectual disability or a mental illness
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • people who may be involved in illegal activities.

Out-of-session review

Lower risk research can be submitted to DDVA HREC for out-of-session review where it falls outside of the remit of the:

  • Defence Science and Technology (DST) Ethics Review Panel for human systems performance research where a DST researcher is a member of the research team.
  • Defence People Group Low Risk Ethics Panel for people research.

Quality assurance or evaluation activities can be submitted to DDVA HREC for out-of-session review using the quality assurance and evaluation activity checklist. Personnel who are unsure as to whether their activity is a quality assurance activity or a research activity should familiarise themselves with the National Health and Medical Research Councils Ethical Considerations in Quality Assurance and Evaluation Activities.

For activities that involve only ex-serving members or DVA clients, the DVA specific evaluation checklist can be submitted to ethics.poc@dva.gov.au.

Submission instructions

Applications must be written in clear and comprehensive language.

Applications must be submitted via email to ddva.hrec@defence.gov.au. Emails must:

  • use a brief subject line referencing the project name or number
  • be under 14MB. File attachments can be sent in separate emails if necessary.
  • not have GZIP files attached.

Applications must include a project description, and additional relevant documentation outlined in the project description template. Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant.

Researchers should allow adequate time to obtain ethical approval. The indicative timeframe is 3 months to allow for resubmission if further information is requested following the initial application. This timeframe is indicative only and will vary depending on the outcome of the DDVA HREC review.


Project description template (DOCX, 185.46 KB)

DDVA HREC Quality assurance and evaluation activity checklist (DOC, 112 KB)

DVA Quality assurance and evaluation checklist (DOCX, 24.5 KB)

Participant information sheet and consent form (DOC, 97.5 KB)

Participant Information and Consent Template for Online Surveys (DOCX, 29.38 KB)


Drafting an ethics application fact sheet (PDF, 147.86 KB)

Advertising materials (PDF, 114.96 KB)

People in dependent and unequal relationships (PDF, 447.72 KB)

Command approval fact sheet (PDF, 92.9 KB)

Organisational support fact sheet (PDF, 141.62 KB)