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Research Governance Framework

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) To achieve QUT’s research and innovation goals as outlined in  Connections - the QUT Strategy 2023 to 2027 and Academic Plan 2020-2022, and to align with the principles of the Australian Code for the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018(the Code), this Framework sets out the arrangements by which QUT research is governed.

(2) The QUT Research Governance Framework has ten fundamental principles of compliance, research quality and integrity, recognition, engagement and collaboration, ethical acceptability, risk management, financial management, health, safety and environmental protection, information management and monitoring.

(3) These Principles ensure all research activities conducted under the auspices of QUT are undertaken in accordance with established ethical principles, guidelines for responsible research conduct, relevant legislation and regulations, and institutional policy.

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Section 2 - Application

(4) This Framework applies to all staff (regardless of employment type), students and visitors, who undertake, assist or support research activities within or in association with QUT.

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Section 3 - Roles and Responsibilities

University Research Committee 
Promotes high quality and high impact innovative research within QUT through policy development and review relating to research, commercialisation and higher degree research training.
Provides strategic guidance of research activity across the University and oversight of the framework for QUT's Research Budget.
Reports to University Academic Board after each meeting.
University Academic Board 
Oversees academic governance at QUT.
Ensures the effective development, implementation and review of academic programs and policies and the maintenance of academic standards.
Provides research governance reports to Council at least annually.
Head of Research Portfolio
Implements the research governance framework.
Fosters good research governance practices.
Vice-President (Digital) and Chief Digital Officer 
Provides information resources and services to QUT’s research community.
Director, Graduate Research Centre/Director, Graduate Research Education and Development
Provides strategic oversight of Higher Degree Research development.
Executive Director, Carumba Institute
Provides strategic leadership, guidance and advice across the University, in relation to increasing and strengthening Indigenous research capabilities, engagement and outputs, in cooperation with the Executive Deans and Associate Deans (Research).
Executive Deans, Associate Deans (Research), Centre Directors and Heads of School
Provide strategic, academic and administrative leadership for research activities.
Embed a culture of responsible research conduct.
Executive Director, Office of Research Services
Supports researchers with applications for External research funding (External Research Funding Policy) (grants, commercial research and consultancies and large programmatic initiatives or centres), including proposal preparation, governance advice, pricing, submission and contract negotiation.
Executive Director, Industry Engagement
Supports researchers with industry engagement including developing commercialisation contracts and agreements that align with relevant legislation and QUT policy.
Protects and commercialises QUT's intellectual property according to the Intellectual Property Policy.
Director, Office of Research Ethics and Integrity 
Develops and maintains policies and procedures which ensure that the University’s research is governed consistently with QUT’s Research Governance Framework.
Oversees processes for ethical approval and governance of all human, animal and biological related research.
Promotes research integrity.
Provides ongoing training and education in responsible conduct for all researchers and those in other relevant roles.
Director, Research Infrastructure Operations
Develops and maintains research data management strategy, policies, procedures, guidance, and training, and services that enable eResearch activities.
University Librarian
Develops and maintains policies, strategy and services enabling researchers to meet their open access and copyright requirements.
Provides ongoing training and education in advanced information research skills, copyright and licensing standards.
Vice-President (Finance) and Chief Financial Officer
Ensures that the financial management accountability obligations of QUT’s research activities are met.
Director, Assurance and Audit
Assesses the adequacy and effectiveness of the University’s internal controls relating to research, including the risk management and compliance frameworks.
Reports on research related matters to Council at least annually.
Director, Health Safety and Environment 
Implements health, safety and environment policies at QUT.
Provides support to University Officers in meeting their duties relating to research activities under legislation, through the department’s team of health, safety and environment professionals.
University Review Body 
Individual committees are responsible for the review, approval and monitoring of research activities involving:
  • human participants, their data or tissue (University Human Research Ethics Committee);
  • the use of animals for scientific purposes (research and teaching) (University Animal Ethics Committee); and
  • gene technology (including Genetically Modified Organisms) and high-risk biological materials (University Biosafety Committee)
Staff and students involved in research activities
Share responsibility and accountability for the University’s research being conducted according to appropriate regulatory, ethical and scientific standards.
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Section 4 - Obligations

(5) Under the Code, QUT must establish and maintain good governance and management practices to foster responsible research conduct.

(6) The QUT Research Governance Framework:

  1. adopts the governance practices outlined in the QUT Governance Framework;
  2. sets out governance principles and standards that apply to all research disciplines;
  3. clarifies roles and responsibilities of people and organisational structures involved in research governance at QUT; and
  4. aims to prevent adverse incidents, breaches of guidelines and codes, and research misconduct.

(7) This Framework must be read in conjunction with other QUT research policies.

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Section 5 - Research Governance Principles

(8) Research governance is the framework by which QUT implements the principles, requirements and standards of research to be upheld throughout the entire research lifecycle. Good institutional governance encourages responsible research practices. These practices promote quality in research, strengthen public trust in QUT and its researchers, and minimise any risks of harm to humans, animals and the environment.

(9) QUT is committed to the ongoing review and continuous improvement of its research governance processes in line with the QUT Quality and Standards Framework.

(10) The University employs evidence-based practices utilising qualitative information and quantitative data to identify improvement opportunities, monitor impact and evaluate the effectiveness of quality initiatives to create a culture of continuous improvement across the University that is embedded in everyday practices.

(11) All research shall be undertaken in accordance with the following research governance principles:


(12) QUT’s research practices must operate within applicable laws, regulations, guidelines and codes of practice (Compliance Policy), as well as University policy, procedures and guidelines.

(13) Key authoritative documents include:

  1. Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018;
  2. National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, 2007 (updated 2018);
  3. Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders;
  4. Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research;
  5. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) ICH Guideline for Good Clinical Practice and Australian Clinical Trial Handbook;
  6. Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes;
  7. Guidelines to promote the wellbeing of animals used for scientific purposes: The assessment and alleviation of pain and distress in research animals;
  8. Gene Technology Act 2000(Cth) and the Gene Technology Regulations 2001 (Cth) and corresponding State legislation;
  9. National Framework of Ethical Principles in Gene Technology;
  10. Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld);
  11. NHMRC Guidelines Approved under Section 95A of the Privacy Act 1988;
  12. NHMRC Guidelines under section 95 of the Privacy Act 1988; and
  13. Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 (Cth)

(14) Common law obligations may arise from the relationships between institutions, researchers and participants, while contractual arrangements may impose further obligations.

Research Quality and Integrity

(15) QUT is committed to the highest standard of integrity in research practices in accordance with the QUT Code for Responsible Conduct of Research associated policies and the Higher Degree Research Supervisor Guidelines at QUT (QUT staff and student access only).

(16) The University expects all research to be conducted in a transparent and accountable manner, and in accordance with the Research Structures Policy, Higher Degree Research Candidates Policy and the Management of Higher Degree Research Courses Policy.

(17) Research should be authentic and of high scientific and scholarly quality, contributing to the advancement of knowledge with integrity and courage. All research activities should be open to review and all findings and data made publicly available where possible, subject to funding body, contractual, commercialisation, ethical, privacy or confidentiality considerations, in accordance with Management of Research Data and Primary Materials Policy.


(18) QUT endeavours to increase Indigenous-led research and research co-designed with Indigenous Australians in a manner that respects, engages and empowers Indigenous people and communities as outlined in Connections - the QUT Strategy 2023 to 2027. QUT researchers should strive to embed Indigenous knowledges, perspectives, customs and traditions by ensuring participation of Indigenous Australians in appropriate planning, decision-making, and publication processes.

(19) Indigenous research must recognise the diversity of individual Indigenous groups and communities, and respect the rights of individuals to participate throughout the planning, conduct, disposal of research material and reporting of research with transparency and reciprocity.

(20) QUT encourages appropriate and beneficial research of Indigenous issues, ensuring the research is developed in partnership with Indigenous communities and is conducted in accordance with relevant Indigenous protocols and ethical guidelines to ensure respect, cultural preservation and knowledge protection.

Engagement and Collaboration

(21) QUT encourages the formation of research collaborations that aim to enhance knowledge, exchange ideas and drive positive change globally. The University facilitates knowledge transfer and commercialisation of QUT intellectual property within a supportive research commercialisation culture through industry and community partnerships and engagements.

(22) All members of the QUT community have a responsibility as global citizens to understand their responsibilities in relation to foreign interference and trade controls legislations while continuing to promote the free exchange of ideas, a transparent research culture and academic freedom.

Ethical Acceptability

(23) Research involving human participants, their data or tissue must be approved and monitored by the University Human Research Ethics Committee or other ethical review body.

(24) Activities involving the use of animals for scientific purposes (research and teaching) must be approved and monitored by the University Animal Ethics Committee.

(25) All activities involving Gene Technology (including Genetically Modified Organisms) and high-risk biological materials must undergo scientific review, approval and monitoring by the University Biosafety Committee.

(26) QUT has established University Review Bodies to review, approve and monitor research according to relevant requirements and has established governance arrangements for administratively approving reviews by other institutions committees in certain circumstances.

Risk Management

(27) Institutional risk management, finance, budgeting, contracts and management of intellectual property should be embedded and regularly reviewed throughout the lifecycle of a research project.

(28) QUT's Risk Management Policy sets out the University’s approach to risk management and recognises risk management as an essential element of governance. The Risk Management Framework (QUT staff access only) outlines how risks are managed and reported to demonstrate good governance, public accountability, effective operation and business success for the University.

(29) QUT has an internal auditing process to examine and evaluate the adequacy, economy, effectiveness and efficiency of risk management, systems of internal control and the quality of management outlined in the QUT Assurance and Audit Charter.

(30) The Contracts and Legal Instruments Management Policy sets out the process and delegations for entering into contracts and MOUs on behalf of QUT.

(31) The Intellectual Property Policy outlines rights and responsibilities with respect to ownership and commercialisation of intellectual property.

Financial Management

(32) QUT ensures the proper use, management, and reporting of all public and private funds for which the University is responsible. QUT’s Financial Management policies, Finance Manual (QUT staff access only) and External Research Funding Policy, document the University's systems of internal controls and other financial management practices.

Health, Safety and Environment Protection

(33) Health, safety and environmental considerations must be embedded and regularly reviewed throughout the lifecycle of a research project.

(34) QUT’s Health, Safety and Environment Policy and associated policies set out health and safety requirements in the key areas of  biosafety, environmental protection, chemical management, infectious and communicable diseases, plant and equipment, radiation protection, remote and isolated work, hazard management and electrical safety.

Information Management

(35) QUT has an information management framework for the provision, acquisition and use of its information and communications technology (ICT) resources which supports the QUT Digital strategy.

(36) QUT maintains details of research funding, contracts, ethics, research outputs and impact through a suite of secure research management systems.

(37) The Information Security Policy outlines how information is protected against unauthorised access and use, theft, modification, destruction and unauthorised disclosure across all forms of media (e.g. digital, print, audio, visual).

(38) The University requires research staff and higher degree research students to share research data in accordance with the Management of Research Data and Primary Materials Policy and expects research and scholarly outputs to be made publicly available wherever possible, subject to funding body, contractual, commercialisation, ethical, privacy or confidentiality considerations and in accordance with Open Access for QUT Research Outputs (Including Theses) Policy.


(39) QUT has an obligation to regularly monitor research with regards to the principles of the Code.

(40) QUT’s Monitoring of Approved Research Policy sets out principles for monitoring approved research.

(41) QUT is responsible for monitoring clinical trials for which it acts as Sponsor in accordance with the ICH Guideline for Good Clinical Practice.

(42) QUT is subject to reviews, audits and investigations instigated by the various external regulatory bodies.

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Section 6 - Definitions

Term Definition
Collaboration Means individuals from different academic departments, institutions and/or industry partners working together to achieve a common goal.
Monitoring Means the review of data, information, reports, documents, publications and activities to ensure compliance with appropriate legislation, guidelines and QUT policies under which the research activity is governed.
Research  Is defined in Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the QUT Code for Responsible Conduct of Research Policy.
Research Governance Means QUT’s policies and processes that have been implemented to ensure accountability for all research conducted under the auspices of the University. This includes ethical approval, compliance with legislation, regulations, guidelines and codes of practice.
University Review Body Is defined in Monitoring of Approved Research Policy.