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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. The legislation prohibits human cloning for reproductive purposes and a range of other practices relating to reproductive technology. It also 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.

Functions

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 perform functions in relation to licences under Division 4 of the RIHE Act;
  • to perform functions in relation to databases under Division 5 of the RIHE Act; and
  • to perform such other functions as are conferred on it by the RIHE Act or any other law.

Since the Chair of the Licensing Committee has duties and responsibilities under both the NHMRC Act and the RIHE Act, neither the Chair of the Licensing Committee nor the deliberations of the Licensing Committe are subject to Council or CEO approval. The Licensing Committee has the power to do all the things necessary or convenient to be done in connection with the performance of its functions.

Membership

Membership of the Licensing Committee is prescribed under Section 16 of the RIHE Act, and the Minister is required to consult with the jurisdictions 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.

The RIHE Act requires the Licensing Committee to have nine members. The members for the 2012-2015 triennium have been appointed.

Licensing Committee

Member Position
Professor Belinda Bennett Chair and Person with expertise in a relevant area of law
Professor Christopher O’Neill Person with expertise in embryology
Associate Professor Lynn Gillam Person with expertise in research ethics
Professor Robert Norman AO Person with expertise in a relevant area of research
Dr Phillip Matson Person with expertise in assisted reproductive technology
Ms Sandra Dill AM Person with expertise in consumer issues relating to assisted reproductive technology
Ms Louise Johnson Person with expertise in the regulation of assisted reproductive technology
Ms Margaret Deane Person with expertise in consumer health issues relating to disability and disease
Ms Kay Oke A member of AHEC

Licensing and Compliance

The NHMRC Licensing Committee assesses applications for licences to use excess Assisted Reproductive Technology embryos; create or use certain other embryos; conduct certain research or training involving fertilisation of a human egg by a human sperm; or fertilisation of an animal egg with a human sperm for the purpose of testing sperm quality.

Contact NHMRC Licensing Committee

Postal address NHMRC Licensing Committee Secretariat
NHMRC
GPO Box 1421
Canberra ACT 2601
Email address embryo.research@nhmrc.gov.au

 

Page reviewed: 2 July, 2014