Low and negligible risk in research

Low or Negligible Risk – All research involving humans that is not greater than low or negligible risk can be reviewed by one of our Faculty-based ethics sub-committees. Low and negligible risk (LNR) is defined as follows:

Low Risk: A project in which the only foreseeable risk is one of discomfort. If there is any chance that the research may result in anything more serious than discomfort, the research cannot be called low risk.

Negligible Risk: A project in which there is no foreseeable risk of discomfort or harm and if there is any foreseeable risk, it will not be of more than inconvenience. If there is any chance, no matter how small, that the risk will exceed inconvenience, then the research cannot be classified as being of negligible risk.

Participant information sheet and consent form

Does a student assignment or activity require research ethics review?

Research involving human participants require ethics review.  Such activity may involve the analysis of already collected individual-level human data, or data to be collected by way of survey or interview of people.  But the use of such methods (dataset, survey, interview), in itself, would not make the activity subject to ethics review.  The underlying criterion to trigger the need for ethics review is that such activity is “research” in the academic sense.  The term “research” is sometimes used in a broad generic way covering anything that involves collection and analysis of data.  For the purposes of considering whether an activity requires ethics review, a more considered focus should be applied.  If the intention of such activity is to formally publish as research, then ethics review will be required.  But if the purpose of the activity is in essence an educational or learning exercise for students in the form of a class assignment or assessment piece with no intention of formal publication, then ethics review would not normally be required.  However, if there is an additional further intention that the data would be used for research purposes in the future (eg, an honours project) then ethics review should be obtained before collection. If in doubt check with the office or research ethics coordinator.


Please direct all questions regarding the LNR process to the relevant emails address below. Applications can be submitted at any time.

  • Business, Economics and Law (BEL) bellnr@uq.edu.au
  • Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology (EAIT) - incorporating Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) and Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) eaitlnr@uq.edu.au
  • Medicine Faculty - incorporating Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) and Centre for Advanced Imaging (CAI) medicinelnr@uq.edu.au
  • Science Faculty - incorporating Global Change Institute (GCI), Queensland Alliance For Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) and Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) sciencelnr@uq.edu.au 
  • Health and Behavioural Sciences (HaBS) habslnr@uq.edu.au
  • Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS) - (incorporating Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) hasslnr@uq.edu.au