Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC)

In line with the HKU Policy on Research Integrity, Principal Investigators (PIs) who are academic/research staff members or research students (MPhil/PhD) in Faculties other than Medicine and Dentistry should apply to the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) for ethical clearance for research involving human participants.  

There is no deadline for applications for ethical clearance. The processing time from submission of application to notification of approval will normally take not more than 3 weeks, provided that the submitted application form is properly completed with all required documents attached.  In addition, PIs of RGC GRF and ECS proposals are cautioned particularly to submit their applications for ethics approval no later than end of February, as in accordance with the RGC's ruling, where such ethics approval is required but has not yet been obtained by the RGC deadline (normally set on April 15), the application will be regarded as being withdrawn.

It is the responsibility of the PI to make sure that such ethics approval has been obtained prior to any data collection/analysis taking place. Supervisors of MPhil/PhD students are also responsible for ensuring that their students have obtained such ethics approval before starting data collection. Failure to obtain necessary ethics approval will cause rejection of research grant applications, and may require recollection of data and possible disciplinary action.

Starting from October 2021, the HREC also handles ethics review of research projects involving artefacts.  All staff members and students who are the PI of a research project that involves artefacts should obtain ethics approval from the HREC prior to any data collection/analysis taking place.  If the research project involves both human participants and artefacts, two separate applications should be submitted to the HREC. 

Applications for ethics approval for research involving human participants, and amendment of an approved project (e.g. project extension, change of project scope, etc.) have to be submitted via the Human Research Ethics Application System (HREAS)

Applications for ethics approval for research involving artefacts are processed in hard copy and should be submitted to the Secretary, Human Research Ethics Committee, c/o Research Services of the Registry, 9/F Knowles Building, the University of Hong Kong.


Please use the following links to find out more: 


Procedures and Guidelines

Application and Report Forms

Human Research Ethics Application System (HREAS)

Approved Projects

Other Useful Information


  • For general enquiries, please call 2241 5267
  • To seek advice from the HREC Chair, please click here



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