Research ethics and governance support

Victorian Regional and Rural Ethics and Governance Network (VRREGN)

Western Alliance administers the Victorian Regional and Rural Ethics and Governance Network (VRREGN), a network of research managers, research ethics and governance officers, and health service based researchers from across regional and rural Victoria. VRREGN aims to:

  • identify issues and areas of duplication within research ethics and governance common to rural and regional Victorian health services, and to prioritise and address these issues through collaborative improvements, streamlining and wider advocacy
  • provide an opportunity for members to share ideas and innovations and will act as a mutual supporting mechanism for those involved in research ethics and governance.   

To find out more about VRREGN, please contact Sarah Shaw at


Support for research ethics applications

All health and medical research undertaken throughout Victoria’s western region is governed by State and national guidelines and regulations. The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research stipulate the obligations on all researchers to be aware of the ethical framework governing research and to be compliant with regulatory requirements.

All research involving human participants must obtain ethics approval from a registered Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC).

HRECs protect the welfare and rights of research participants by reviewing proposals for research involving humans, monitoring the conduct of research and dealing with complaints that arise from research.

Three health service HRECs registered with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) are located within the western region. You are encouraged to seek advice prior to submitting an application.

The officers listed below are available for advice and assistance with research design, research ethics applications and research governance compliance.

Ballarat and Ararat

Ballarat Health Services & St John of God Hospital Ballarat HREC
Research and Ethics Services Ballarat Health Services

Mr John Hand
Manager Research Ethics & Governance, Ballarat Health Services
(03) 5320 8661

Geelong and Colac

Barwon Health HREC
Research Development Unit (RDU)

Dr Nicola Cooley
Acting Manager, Research Development Unit, Barwon Health
(03) 4215 3372

Warrnambool and Hamilton

South West Healthcare Multidisciplinary Ethics Committee
Centre for Research Education and Teaching, CREATe: Research Ethics

Ms Courtney Wines
Ethics and Governance Officer, South West Healthcare
(03) 5563 1357