The Council and Principal Committees of the NHMRC are established under Section 20 and 35 of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992 (the NHMRC Act) respectively. Under the NHMRC Act the Minister must establish Principal Committees called the Research Committee and the Australian Health Ethics Committee. The Minister may also establish such other Principal Committees the Minister thinks are necessary to assist Council to carry out any of its functions.
For the 2012-15 triennium the Minister for Health, the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, deemed that NHMRC would require six Principal Committees (see below) in addition to Council.
Members of Council and the Principal Committees are appointed by the Minister, on a part-time basis, for a period of up to three years. Members are eligible for reappointment. The membership for Council and the Principal Committees for the 2012-15 triennium is a mixture of new members and members that have previously served NHMRC.
The Chair of each Principal Committee, other than the Embryo Research Licensing Committee, must be a member of Council [Sections 35(6) and 35(9) of the NHMRC Act].
Principal committees are appointed under section 41(1) of the NHMRC Act.
The functions of the Principal Committees were published in the Commonwealth Gazette of 28 March 2012.
Committee Member’s responsibilities for the disclosure of interests
All appointees to NHMRC Committees must disclose all interests relevant to the matters being considered by their committee on appointment, and as soon as possible after relevant facts have come to their attention (section 42A of the NHMRC Act). The Council of NHMRC has advised the CEO to implement two policies for the guidance of members needing to disclose interests:
- Identifying and Managing Conflicts of Interest of Prospective Members and Members of NHMRC Council, Principal Committees and Working Committees (PDF, 375KB)
- Identifying and Managing Conflicts of Interest of Prospective Members and Members of NHMRC Council, Principal Committees and Working Committees (DOC, 233KB)
Expert Advisory Committees
NHMRC also retains expert advisory committees to advise on particular issues. NHMRC has two Expert Committees for the 2012-15 Triennium:
- TSEAC - Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Advisory Committee
- WQAC - Water Quality Advisory Committee
Other Committees and Groups
In addition to the Committees listed above, a number of working committees and reference groups exist to advise NHMRC on issues that arise from time to time. These include:
- Community and Consumer Advisory Group
- Postdoctoral Reference Group
- Women in Health Science Working Committee
- Expert Advisory Group Developing Ethical Guidelines for Eligibility Criteria and Allocation Protocols for Organ Transplantation from Deceased Donors
The NHMRC Committee centre allows registered users to log in and download meeting papers.