Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
WCHN Research Publications

Research at the WCHN

Research GEMS – Now Live (posted 21 December 2020)

The WCHN Research Secretariat is now accepting new applications for ethics and site assessments through Research GEMS.  Please note the following:

A specific GEMS user guide is still under development, however, the guides provided for the NSW REGIS system are compatible and are good source for instructions. These guides can be accessed via the REGIS webpage.

All new HREC and/or SSA applications must now be submitted via the Research GEMS.

  • Researchers who have an active research project within SA Health will have had their project migrated into GEMS and should have received a welcome email.  If you are the coordinator or contact for the project and you cannot see your active projects once you log in, please check whether the projects are visible under the log-in of the PI.   If projects are visible under PI log-in, then the PI can share or transfer the projects to other personnel.  If no projects are visible, then please let us know as there will have been an issue with the data migration.   Please note, as part of data migration, only the meta-data of the project will have been migrated.  Documents which were uploaded into OnLine Forms were not migrated, but if you need copies, we may be able to scan them from the Research Secretariat files.
  • Additional functionality such as low and negligible risk (LNR) applications will be delivered as part of Phase 2, anticipated to be released in June 2021.  Continue to apply for LNR studies as per instructions on our webpage.
  • Documents related to Ethics and Governance approvals including amendments, annual reports, deviations, SAEs etc. should be submitted via Research GEMS.
  • Audits are still required to be submitted via email following the instructions provided on our webpage.


Important Message for Researchers About COVID-19 (posted 2 December 2020)

Due to the current changing situation of COVID-19 in South Australia, it advised that all researchers and participants at WCHN comply with the advice provided by the WCHN Chief Operating Officer, including the wearing of masks and use of QR codes. We will provide updates as conditions change.


Message from the Research Secretariat regarding Ethics and Governance Submissions (posted 21 October 2020)

SA Health has engaged F1 Solutions to develop a new Research Management System called Research Governance and Ethics Management System (GEMS) which is in the final design stages of development and will be rolled out later this year.  Research GEMS will replace Online Forms as the new platform to generate and submit Ethics and Governance applications for review.

As there will be a transition phase between when SA Health will end the contract with Online Forms and the implementation of Research GEMS, we request that researchers with draft applications in Online Forms finalise and download their completed applications by 28th October.

New applications can be commenced by the following process for submissions from 29th October 2020 during the transition phase:

  • For Ethics Submissions:
    Go to the NH&MRC HREA website (Link iconhttps://hrea.gov.au/Account/SignIn), create an account and fill in the HREA Form through this website.  Once it is completed, please print the HREA, obtain signatures, scan the document and submit it to the HREC EO via e-mail to HealthWCHNResearch@sa.gov.au with all relevant supporting documents.

Please ensure you have included all supporting documents with your application to avoid delays. 

An acknowledgement email confirming receipt of your application will be sent. If you do not receive this email, please follow up with the Research Secretariat.

If you have any queries, please contact the relevant person by accessing their details on our WCH page link iconwebpage

Once Research GEMS is operational, we will contact researchers to provide training in the use of this new system. 

Your patience during this transition phase is greatly appreciated.


SA Health announces a new Research Management System called GEMS (posted 10 September 2020)

SA Health announced the purchase of a new Research Management System called Governance and Ethics Management System (GEMS).  The system is still being finessed and will be rolled out later this year. 

In the interim, you may have queries about what this means for you and your research. Hence we provide the following initial advice:

  • You can continue using OnLine Forms until 28 October 2020

  • There will be a “transition period” where we will revert to Word documents of the HREA and SSA Applications from 29 October to 18 November 2020; these will be made available in mid-October. 

  • We envisage providing training in the use of GEMS in mid/late October – late November after the Research Secretariat staff have been trained in mid-October.

  • We will then transition to the use of GEMS for HREC and SSA applications by 1 December 2020 (TBC). 

Please Note: These dates are only guides at this stage and may change with short notice.  We thank you for your patience and understanding during this transition period. More information will be made available as it comes to hand from SA Health and F1 Solutions.



Below are messages posted for researchers in relation to COVID-19.

Updates will be provided if and when there are any changes that impact on research at WCHN. Please check this webpage regularly for updates.

WCHN Research – Opening Up Research at WCHN (UPDATED as of 1 October 2020)

Please note, the principles below apply to researchers and anyone associated with the research.

As noted in the NHMRC document, PDF iconCOVID-19: Guidance on clinical trials for institutions, HRECs, researchers and sponsors, HRECs, researchers and sponsors, “The safety and well-being of patients, research participants and their families, and health care professionals, researchers and other staff involved in patient care and research are paramount”.

Staff are advised of the following updated (additional) principles governing research at the WCHN:

  1. If research participants residing in South Australia must attend the WCHN, they will be required to complete the same health screening questionnaire as any other visitor to the WCHN (SOP01 and Screening Questions).
  2. Any interstate research participants or monitors who are from Low Community-Transmission Zones, as described on the SA Government website (Link iconhttps://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/restrictions-and-responsibilities/travel-restrictions) may attend WCHN providing they adhere to the SAPOL Cross Border Travel instructions (Link iconhttps://www.police.sa.gov.au/online-services/cross-border-travel-application) and adhere to the WCHN health screening questionnaire.

In addition to the above:

  • Studies should adhere to all social distancing and hand washing/sanitising directives from SA Health.
  • Where possible, interactions with research participants should continue according to the HREC/RGO approved alternatives. E.g. studies that require focus groups, questionnaires, or where recruitment can occur by electronic means, should continue to be undertaken electronically.
  • Studies where the scope of risk (due to COVID-19) does not change over and above standard clinical care, are to continue as per the previous guidelines; examples include interventions where participants are i) also in-patients or patients attending outpatient clinics, and ii) the duration of the research visit does not increase exposure over and above clinical care.
  • Studies which require research interventions (eg. blood draws) but the participant is not scheduled to attend WCHN for clinical care, may continue, providing that the scope of risk (due to COVID-19) can be managed by social distancing or wearing of PPE, adhering to hand washing/sanitising directives from SA Health, and ensuring minimal interaction.


Changes to NHMRC’s 2021 grant schedule and policies in response to COVID-19 (posted 10 August 2020)

NHMRC has released a communique regarding changes to the 2021 grant program in response to COVID-19 pandemic as below.



Application Period*

2021 CTCS Grants


July-August 2021

2021 Ideas Grants


March-April 2021

2021 Investigator Grants


February-March 2021

2021 Synergy Grants


February-March 2021

2021 PGS


April-May 2021

*Exact dates will be finalised later this year in consultation with RAOs and the ARC.

For more details, please refer to the PDF iconcommunique.


Frequently Asked Questions on NHMRC processes during COVID-19 (posted 23 April 2020)

NHMRC has released FAQs on changes to the processes for NHMRC applications for funding, peer review, grant management and other changes since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Details are available on Link iconNHMRC's website.

Research Secretariat staff working from home (posted 6 April 2020)

All WCHN Research Secretariat staff will be working from home as of Tuesday, 7 April 2020. As a result, our office will be closed until further notice.

All enquiries and documents should be emailed to the relevant person as detailed on our WCH page link iconwebpage.

All of our services will still be available as usual so please do not hesitate to contact us via e-mail.

Stay safe everyone (#STAYATHOME)!

last modified: 21 Dec 2020