Embryo Research Licensing Committee

The Embryo Research Licensing Committee of the NHMRC (the Licensing Committee), a Principal Committee of the NHMRC, was established by the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002. The Licensing Committee oversees the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 and the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2002. It regulates research activities that involve the use of human embryos created by assisted reproductive technology (ART) or by other means. There are strong penalties for non-compliance with the legislation. The legislation also prohibits human cloning for reproductive purposes and a range of other practices relating to reproductive technology.


The Licensing Committee has prescribed functions under the national regulatory framework established by the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 (RIHE Act) and the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2002 (PHCR Act).

The functions of the Licensing Committee are:

  • to consider applications for licences to conduct research involving human embryos;
  • to issue (subject to conditions) or not issue such licences;
  • to maintain a publicly available database containing information about licences issued;
  • to monitor licensed activities and ensure compliance with the legislation through the appointment of inspectors and take necessary enforcement action, such as cancelling or suspending licences;
  • to report to the Parliament of Australia on the operation of the RIHE Act and the licences issued under this Act; and
  • to perform such other functions as are conferred on it by the RIHE Act or any other law.


Membership of the Licensing Committee is prescribed under Section 16 of the RIHE Act, and the Minister is required to consult with the States and Territories before appointing members. Membership comprises individuals with expertise in research ethics, research, assisted reproductive technology, law, consumer health issues, the regulation of assisted reproductive technology, and embryology.

More information


Postal address NHMRC Licensing Committee Secretariat


GPO Box 1421

Canberra ACT 2601
Email address embryo.research@nhmrc.gov.au