Depending on what the research entails regarding location, participants, and type of data, you may be required to obtain support letters and permits from other organisations and communities to accompany your ethics application or before your research can be implemented, such as:
  • Royal Darwin Hospital and other Top End Health Service Sites
    Top End Health Service Sites include:
    • Royal Darwin Hospital
    • Alan Walker Cancer Care Centre
    • Katherine Hospital
    • Palmerston Regional Hospital
    • Gove District Hospital
    • Top End Mental Health Service (TEMHS)
    • Alcohol & Other Drugs Service (AODS)
    • Top End Primary Health Care (urban and remote sites including correctional clinics)

All applications for research at TEHS sites, or involving staff, service provision and data  (including audits) require a Site Specific Assessment (SSA) and organisational authorisation from the Research Governance Office (RGO). The SSA process is based on submission of either the full HREC form or the Low Risk Ethics Clearance form and associated documents to the TEHS Research Governance Office -  .

Of priority is involvement of TEHS staff at the outset of the research process. To this end, endorsement by Divisional Co-Directors, General Managers and Unit heads is an integral component of the SSA process. This means that:

  • Researchers are advised to include evidence of endorsement by the local TEHS Unit head and Co-Director and/or General Manager as a component of their submission to the RGO for organisational authorisation.

  • Email endorsement by TEHS delegates is accepted.

  • Researchers from external organisations are advised to request assistance from the RGO to identify and contact relevant personnel.

  • Support from Primary Health Care (PHC) branch should be obtained by first contacting the TEHS Research Governance Office for the current process.

The SSA process can occur concurrently with preparation of a HREC submission. Organisational Authorisation will be emailed to researchers from the TEHS RGO upon completion of the SSA, or if authorisation is withheld, additional information will be sought and/or guidance provided.

Organisational Authorisation is one of the requirements for unconditional approval by the HREC.

Please contact the TEHS Research Governance Office for further information regarding SSA -

  • NT Primary Health Care Branch
    • remote primary health clinics
    • NT Correctional centre health clinic

Please contact the Top End Health Service Research Governance Office to facilitate support from TE Primary Health Care (PHC). See information above.

The Research Governance Office will forward your request to the appropriate Primary Health Care unit -

Access to Department of Health data

  • Access to existing NT Health data is via the NT Health Data Quality and Governance division. Information about this process can be found on the NT Health website If you have queries about the process please contact Applications for data release can be submitted in parallel to ethics applications.
  • The data owner for TEHS local/client data is the Executive Director Clinical Innovation & Research. Researchers requiring access to TEHS local/client data are advised to indicate this when applying for Site Specific Authorisation, so that authorisation for data access can be included in the SSA by the Top End Health Service Research Governance Office.


  • Peak bodies
    e.g. AMSANT 
    All major research projects involving Aboriginal primary health care should be submitted to AMSANT for review, ideally in the design stage prior to application for ethics clearance. Please refer to the AMSANT health research guidelines for more information.
    or Central Australian Aboriginal Congress
  • Permits to enter Aboriginal land for the purposes of research 
  • Aboriginal Corporations and Health Service Providers
    e.g. Danila Dilba, Miwatj Health, Wurli Wurlinjang, Malabam Health
  • Support from specific individual Aboriginal communities
    e.g. council of elders or elders designated to speak on behalf of their people
  • Northern Territory Department of Education
    If any part of the research will be conducted within Department of Education (DoE) facilities, including within schools, approval must be sought from DoE Research Advisory Committee as well as individual schools. Please note that although the DoE has a Research Advisory Committee, support from them does not constitute ethical approval, and research should not commence until both ethics approval and DoE support has been received.
    For further information: visit the DoE research page or contact the Research and Evaluation Team at the NT Department of Education. 
    Email:  / Ph: (08) 8999 3535 
  • SA NT Datalink
    Projects intending to access linked data via SA NT DataLink require a ‘Letter of Feasibility’, signed by the Director of SA NT DataLink, to be submitted with their ethics application.  Please contact:  to request this letter at least six weeks in advance of the ethics application submission date.  
  • Private Pathology Services
    e.g. Western Diagnostics 
  • Other stakeholders as necessary
    e.g. NT Hearing Health, ALPA