Research Protocols: Place, Relationships, Futures

Drawing on Tanderrum, a Kulin ceremony for coming together, the Melbourne Poche Centre for Indigenous Health uses place, relationships and futures as the driving themes for advancing Indigenous peoples’ participation and achievement in health-focused higher education and leadership.

These themes are woven into our approach to research.

We recognise the significance of place in contextualising the research that we undertake; the value of strong networks and relationships to inform our research goals and processes; and the importance of building and supporting Indigenous-led intellectual inquiry for healthy futures.

Acknowledging the work already undertaken on ethical research practices,1 the Centre adopts the principles developed by the Indigenous Knowledge Institute at The University of Melbourne which themselves draw on best practice policies and practices including those set out by AIATSIS2 and NHMRC.3

These principles are as follows:

  1. We aim to respond to the needs and interests of Indigenous people, including those who participate in research projects and others in the community.
  2. We acknowledge and respect Indigenous knowledge practices and innovations.
  3. Free, prior and informed consent is the foundation for our research with or about Indigenous peoples.
  4. We welcome the fair and equitable sharing of benefits that arise from research.
  5. We respect Indigenous research confidentiality requirements, the right of Indigenous knowledge-holders to access collected data and resources, and their status as co-owners and co-authors of collaborative research content and outputs.4

We also acknowledge the work currently being undertaken with regards to Indigenous Data Sovereignty including through the Indigenous Data Network5 and the Maiam nayri Wingara Indigenous Data Sovereignty Collective6.

We adhere to the principles as set out in the Communique by Maiam nayri Wingara and the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute. Indigenous peoples have the right to:

  • Exercise control of the data ecosystem including creation, development, stewardship, analysis, dissemination and infrastructure.
  • Data that is contextual and disaggregated (available and accessible at individual, community and First Nations levels).
  • Data that is relevant and empowers sustainable self-determination and effective self-governance.
  • Data structures that are accountable to Indigenous peoples and First Nations.
  • Data that is protective and respects our individual and collective interests.7
  1. In our local context, we acknowledge the work being undertaken with respect to research that impacts Aboriginal communities through the Victorian Aboriginal Research Accord Project: We also acknowledge the work being done internationally: Tania Huria et al, ‘Consolidated Criteria for Strengthening Reporting of Health Research Involving Indigenous Peoples: The CONSIDER Statement’ (2019) 19(1) BMC Medical Research Methodology 173 (‘Consolidated Criteria for Strengthening Reporting of Health Research Involving Indigenous Peoples’).
  2. Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, ‘AIATSIS Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research’ <>.
  3. National Health and Medical Research Council, ‘Ethical Conduct in Research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Communities: Guidelines for Researchers and Stakeholders’ <>.
  4. Indigenous Knowledges Institute, ‘Charter for Research with Indigenous Knowledge Holders’  <>.
  5. Indigenous Data Network, <>.
  6. Maiam nayri Wingara Indigenous Data Sovereignty Collective, <>.
  7. Maiam nayri Wingara Indigenous Data Sovereignty Collective and Australian Indigenous Governance Institute, ‘Communique: Indigenous Data Sovereignty Summit’ (at the Indigenous Data Sovereignty Summit, Canberra, ACT, 20 June 2018) <>.