Research GEMS

SA Health is pleased to announce the outcome of the Research Management System procurement following contract execution on 1 September 2020.

F1 Solutions Pty Ltd will be supplying the new SA Health system to enable consistent management and reporting for research ethics and governance activities.  The system is called Research GEMS (Governance and Ethics Management System).

The implementation of a new Research Management System is the first recommendation of the ‘Review of Research Governance in the Department for Health and Wellbeing (SA) and related LHNs’ conducted by Jim Birch, July 2018.

The Office for Research, Department for Health and Wellbeing (DHW) will facilitate the implementation of the system in collaboration with the research offices within each of the Local Health Networks.  The Office for Research in DHW will also manage the ongoing contract and administration of the system.

The current system, Online Forms, will be turned off at the end off at the end of October 2020 with the new system going live shortly afterwards. 

All researchers are encouraged to contact their relevant LHN research office regarding upcoming research applications.

Further information is provided below about Research GEMS and the upcoming transition.

We acknowledge The Hospital Research Foundation for their generous support with this project.

What is Research GEMS?

Research GEMS is a new system that will be implemented across SA Health to manage ethics and governance applications, it will replace Online Forms and some paper applications forms currently used across SA Health. Research GEMS will allow researchers to complete their HREA and SSA forms, monitor approval progress and submit post approval monitoring to their local Research Office. The functionality will be delivered over two phases:

Phase 1:

  • Ethics and governance applications
  • Post approval monitoring

Anticipated go-live date is December 2020.

Phase 2:

  • Low and negligible risk applications

Anticipated release date for phase 2 is June 2021.

Who will use Research GEMS?


Coordinating Principal Investigators register projects on Research GEMS, and are responsible for submitting the HREA and post approval monitoring as required.

Principal Investigators can assist in completing the HREA (if the CPI has shared the application), and are responsible for submitting the SSA forms and post approval monitoring as required.

Associate Investigators can view applications in the system, and can assist in completing applications (if the CPI or PI has shared the application).

Research Office staff

Ethics Officers, Research Governance Officers and Research Office administrative staff review and process Ethics and Governance applications, ensuring each application meet the required criteria. They also facilitate the approval/authorisation process. Research Office staff will also be able to generate extensive reporting, view dashboards for monitoring of metrics, and real time monitoring of projects being conducted at their site.

Local Site Approvers/Endorsers

Departmental/Divisional/Unit leads that are required to approve applications prior to review by the Research Office, will review and record their decision through Research GEMS.

Local Site Executives

Chief Executives, Research Office Managers or delegates review and authorise site applications through Research GEMS.

Research Managers will also be able to generate extensive reporting, view dashboards for monitoring of metrics, and real time monitoring of projects being conducted at their site.

Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC)

Review and approve research ethics applications. Meeting agendas, applications, and any other documentation under review at a meeting will be available within Research GEMS for committee members.


The transition to Research GEMS will enable a more consistent and streamlined process for research applicants who wish to conduct research within SA Health.

The benefits include:

Streamlining of processes

  • Research Offices will transition to common application and post approval monitoring forms
  • Researchers will have greater clarity on application requirements, approval/authorisation process and post approval monitoring requirements.
  • Reduction in duplication of effort for Researchers

Streamlined approval

  • Local site approval/endorsement, ethics approval and governance authorisation will be managed within Research GEMS
  • SA Health HREC ethics application decisions will be shared with SA Health sites
  • Amendments and annual reports approved by a SA Health HREC will be automatically shared with SA Health sites


Researchers will have greater visibility over their research projects, and will be able to:

  • Track the progress of their application
  • Access all of their applications and approved/authorised research studies in one location
  • View post approval monitoring requirements within Research GEMS and receive automated reminders

Greater oversight

  • Improved visibility and greater reporting on research being conducted, enabling strategies to be put into place to attract more research projects to South Australia
  • Improved oversight of projects being conducted at SA Health sites
  • Monitoring of application processing times and metrics, to enable further process improvement

Transition from Online Forms to Research GEMS

The transition to Research GEMS will occur late 2020.

Prior to 31 October 2020 – Last day to submit on Online Forms

Online Forms will remain operational until 31 October 2020, applicants can continue to use Online Forms to submit ethics and governance applications up until this date.

Existing applications must be submitted by 31 October 2020. Applicants who do not submit by 31 October 2020 will need to commence a new application as per the sections below. Draft applications will not be migrated to Research GEMS.

Post 31 October 2020

Researchers, who need to submit a HREA within this time, can do so by going to Human Research Ethics Application (HREA). Please contact your research office for advice on submitting SSA applications.

Applications must be submitted through the Human Research Ethics Application (HREA) website prior to the application cut-off date (see below). Applicants who do not submit by the cut-off date will need to commence a new application as per the sections below. Draft applications will not be migrated to Research GEMS.

Cut-off date - To be decided

Ethics applications will not be accepted from Human Research Ethics Application (HREA), and SSA’s will not be accepted in word format after the application cut-off date. This date is to be determined, please check back on this page for updates.


Research GEMS will be going live in late 2020. The exact date is still to be determined.
Researchers must use Research GEMS to submit their ethics and governance applications from the go-live date.

Contact your research office for advice on submitting new Low and Negligible Risk applications.

Submitted applications and active projects (as of the cut-off date) will be migrated to Research GEMS, researchers will be able to submit post approval monitoring in Research GEMS for these projects. Draft applications from Online Forms or Human Research Ethics Application (HREA) will not be migrated, applicants will need to start a new application in Research GEMS.

Further information

Please contact your local Research Office Human Research Ethics Committees (PDF 216KB), Governance Officer (PDF 232KB) or the Research GEMS team on