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Multi-centre research

A multi-centre research trial is when it's done at more than one facility or site. Most clinical trials are done at several sites.

Single ethical review of multi-centre research

There is a national approach to single ethical and scientific review of multi-centre research.

The National Certification Scheme was developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). It allows all research taking place over multiple sites in Australia to have a single ethical review.

This means researchers only need to submit an ethics application to one Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) instead of multiple HRECs.

Find out how to apply for ethics approval.

Read more about National Mutual Acceptance on the Clinical Trials and Research website.

Clinical trials not included in the scheme

There are some categories of clinical trials that are excluded from the interstate single review process.

These include clinical trials:

  • involving people in custody or jurisdictional Justice Health department staff.
  • affecting the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people and communities
  • requiring access to state-wide data
  • involving access to coronial material.

Site-specific assessment

If you’re doing research at multiple sites, you need to submit a separate site-specific assessment (SSA) application to each site. This is to ensure that research governance requirements are met.

Find out how to apply for governance authorisation.

Contact us

If you have any questions about applying for a single ethical review, you can email the Office of Research and Innovation at

Last updated: 31 July 2023