Undertaking research at the Westmead Breast Cancer Institute

If you are interested in undertaking research at Westmead Breast Cancer Institute, you are required to submit a short proposal in the first instance to the BCI Research Advisory Comittee (RAC) for consideration. It is advisable to submit the short proposal to the RAC prior to commencing the ethical approval process, as the comittee will assess factors such as the potential impact on patients and staff, ethical constraints and whether adequate resources are available to conduct the study, which may affect your study design. Should the comittee decide that your project is feasible you may then be asked for a detailed proposal.

Prior to undertaking your research project at the BCI you are also required to obtain approval from a Human Research Ethics Comittee. This is an independent process from BCI Research Advisory Committee approval and is required for all research conducted in Australia. There are many Human Research Ethics Comittee’s in Australia and it is up to you where you submit your proposal; although many researchers at the BCI choose to submit their project through Western Sydney Local Health District Human Research Ethics Comittee. Please keep in mind that the ethics approval process can take many months so it is important to take this into account in your project timeline. Refer to the useful links below for more information.

To submit a proposal for consideration by the RAC, email a short proposal with the title of the project in the subject line to Research Submissions as outlined in the Short Research Approach Form. Refer to Criteria for Assessing Research Proposals for detailed information about how research proposals are assessed.

The proposal will be distributed to the committee prior to the next scheduled RAC meeting and the RAC secretary will respond to the applicant in writing. If successful, the applicant will be asked to provide a detailed proposal.

If you would like to discuss your research project or the approval process with a member of the committee at any stage please contact the Research Manager.


Requirements for accepted projects

1. A document detailing the “Terms of reference” is required for every project accepted by the RAC committee to be undertaken at the Breast Cancer Institute, Westmead prior to commencement of the study. This document should list members of project, roles and responsibilities, funding, proposed publications with principal author, and timeline.

2. The RAC secretary must be kept up to date with the progress of the study and changes to the project by email. All communication with external parties related to the project such as ethics committees, funding bodies and grant and publication submissions are required to be sent to the RAC secretary for auditing.

3. Any material related to the study for presentation or publication, is required to be provided to the Research and Information Manager for review by the RAC prior to submission to the relevant organisation or journal. Material includes, but is not limited to posters, journal articles, conference papers, and newsletters.

4. Annual progress reports are required by ethics committees as part of the terms of approval. A copy of notification of ongoing annual approval is required to be provided to the Westmead Breast Cancer Institute research advisory committee.


Useful Links

NHMRC list of all ethics comittees
Western Sydney Local Health Network Human Research Ethics Committee
NSW Health Ethics forms for NEAF and SSA applications
NSW Health Ethics
Office of the Privacy Commissioner