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For Researchers

The Gold Coast community entrusts Gold Coast Health to deliver optimum care and we do that through excellent, inclusive, and collaborative research consistent with our 'Always Care' philosophy.

The research journey

Front of mind in our approach to responsible research practice is the practical, ethical, and intellectual challenges essential to the life of a research project. All Gold Coast Health staff and affiliates, including students, involved in clinical research activities within our health service are supported through advice, assistance, and encouragement.

With more than $5 billion spent on health and medical research in Australia annually, it is vital that we foster a research culture that enhances patient outcomes, transforms service delivery, increases efficiency, and enables innovation by challenging how we do things now.

Phases of a research journey

The research journey can be broadly divided into five phases:

1. Design

Developing a question

The research question should be something that needs answering. Something that is important to the end users of the research; in health this is often consumers. Involving consumers early in a research study can significantly benefit researchers, as it improves the likelihood that the project is relevant to those who will benefit most from it. Read more.

Data access and management

Data are valuable products in research so it's important to know how to use it. For further information about accessing and using, collecting, managing and analysing data, click here.

Research protocol

Every study needs a well-written, comprehensive research protocol. All research, including low-risk studies, require a protocol with sufficient detail for ethical, governance, and methodological appraisal. Even Quality Assurance and Improvement projects, along with clinical audits, should be grounded with a well-designed protocol. Read more.

Systematic reviews

A systematic review is a comprehensive and structured review of the literature and is aimed to clearly establish what is known about a topic. Read more.

Library services

Our library provides immeasurable value to Gold Coast Health researchers by assisting in all aspects of literature searching and reference management - whether you're in the planning stages of a project, conducting a systematic review, or writing for a publication. Learn more about this service.

2. Ethics and Governance


Although there are some exceptions, almost all research studies conducted at Gold Coast Health must be submitted for ethical approval and governance authorisation before a study can commence. These steps assess the potential benefits and harms to participants (ethics) and the organisation (governance). The Research Ethics and Governance Officers (REGOs) process all research applications at Gold Coast Health. Read more.


Once a study has been approved by an ethics committee, a researcher must turn their attention to applying for a site specific authorisation (SSA). This considers site suitability, legal compliance, financial management, accountability, and risk management and ensures research conforms to relevant institutional, jurisdictional and national standards, and applicable laws. Only one SSA form is required to cover Gold Coast Health sites. Where possible, the Research Ethics and Governance Officers (REGOs) may recommend a parallel SSA submission following the initial response from the HREC. Read more.

3. Reporting

Reporting your project's progress

Researchers are required to report on their project's progress after it has been granted ethics approval and governance authorisation. Ethics approval is conditional on satisfactory reporting and may be revoked if researchers do not provide timely reports. Read more.

4. Monitoring and quality assurance

Monitoring research activity and clinical trials

All research projects conducted at Gold Coast Health undergo monitoring and quality assurance using a risk-based approach. 

Monitoring and quality assurance focuses on overseeing the progress of clinical research with a focus on the prevention and mitigation of risks to data quality and to processes that are critical to participant protection and study integrity. Read more.

5. Publishing / Disseminating

Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service affiliation 

To attribute your Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service affiliation when publishing, it is recommended that the following text be used: Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia 

Peer-reviewed publications

Preparing research for submission to an academic journal requires care and attention. Journal editors must screen many submissions and ensuring research is clearly presented, following journal-specific guidelines is important. 

More information on peer-reviewed publications can be found here

Other publishing formats

Researchers may use a variety of means to disseminate their findings, including through the production of outputs and the use of other communication strategies. Read more.


When research is published it is often the culmination of a lot of hard and thoughtful work. It is, therefore, important that it is seen. The library and communications teams can help with promotion of work completed.

We encourage you to reach out to our contact support centre for advice or assistance with the promotion of research.

Gold Coast Health expects researchers to comply with the Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research (2018), which sets out the high-level principles, responsibilities and expectations for conducting research, and is driven by our six core values: integrity, community first, respect, excellence, compassion and empower.

Last updated 03 Jun 2024