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NHMRC

NHMRC Privacy Policy

In accordance with clause 1.3 of Australian Privacy Principle 1 (open and transparent management of personal information), in Schedule 1 of the Privacy Act 1988 (the Privacy Act)1, this is the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) Privacy Policy.  It has effect from 12 March 2014.

NHMRC is Australia's peak body for supporting health and medical research; for developing health advice for the Australian community, health professionals and governments; and for providing advice on ethical behaviour in health care and in the conduct of health and medical research.  NHMRC is responsible to the Commonwealth Minister for Health and has offices in Canberra and Melbourne.

The legislative basis of the NHMRC is the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992 (the NHMRC Act).  NHMRC's functions come from the statutory obligations conferred by the NHMRC Act, which provides for the NHMRC to pursue activities designed to:

  • raise the standard of individual and public health throughout Australia;
  • foster the development of consistent health standards between the various States and Territories;
  • foster medical research and training and public health research and training throughout Australia; and
  • foster consideration of ethical issues relating to health.

NHMRC also has responsibilities under the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2002 and the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002, which include the development and implementation of a program for reviewing and enhancing relevant guidelines, and the provision of administrative improvements in the licensing process.

In this privacy policy, personal information and sensitive information (a sub-set of personal information), have the same meanings as defined in subsection 6(1) of the Privacy Act, namely:

personal information means information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable:

  1. whether the information or opinion is true or not; and
  2. whether the information or opinion is recorded in a material form or not.

sensitive information means

  1. information or an opinion about an individual's:
    1. racial or ethnic origin; or
    2. political opinions; or
    3. membership of a political association; or
    4. religious beliefs or affiliations; or
    5. philosophical beliefs; or
    6. membership of a professional or trade association; or
    7. membership of a trade union; or
    8. sexual orientation or practices; or
    9. criminal record;

that is also personal information; or

  1. health information about an individual; or
  2. genetic information about an individual that is not otherwise health information; or
  3. biometric information that is to be used for the purpose of automated biometric verification or biometric identification; or
  4. biometric templates.

NHMRC’s collection, holding, use and disclosure of personal information

The NHMRC holds several classes of personal information (some of which include sensitive information). NHMRC may collect information from documents provided to it in correspondence, from submissions made through its public consultation or guidelines portals, its website and its online Research Grants Management System.
The information is held in, on or as:

  • Database of assigners and assessors for NHMRC grants
  • NHMRC grants and fellowships management records
  • Reports about NHMRC funded grants
  • Correspondence to the NHMRC, including responses to NHMRC’s public consultation
  • Registers and minutes recording disclosures of interests by members of NHMRC committees
  • Ministerial correspondence
  • Complaint files including records of the NHMRC Commissioner of Complaints
  • Records of the Australian Research Integrity Committee
  • Investigation records
  • Licences authorising the use of human eggs and excess assisted reproductive technology embryos
  • Human Research Ethics Committee database
  • Records of NHMRC Council, Principal Committees and Working Committees
  • Register of Institutions with Certified Ethical Review processes
  • Register of Research Committees of Approved Research Institutes
  • Register of Administering Institutions
  • Research Translation Faculty Database
  • Guidelines in Development Register
  • Finance records
  • Freedom of Information requests
  • Request for Tender and contract information
  • Personnel and staffing files
  • Subscription services and web forms; and
  • Research Grants Management System (RGMS).

A detailed description of the types of personal information contained in our records is available below:

  • NHMRC Records that Contain Personal or Sensitive Information (PDF, 118KB).

This information covers NHMRC records that contain personal or sensitive information, and the purposes for which the NHMRC collects, holds, uses and discloses personal information.

No sale of personal information

Under no circumstances will NHMRC sell or receive payment for licensing or disclosing your personal information.

Dealing with NHMRC anonymously or pseudonymously

You can ask NHMRC to deal with you anonymously or pseudonymously (using a fictitious name) unless we expressly identify that it is not practicable for us to deal with you on that basis.
In the case of applications for research grants, it will not be practicable for NHMRC to deal with you on an anonymous or pseudonymous basis, in light of our obligations under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.  We will not accept a grant application or report that is anonymous or not in your real name.

Gaining access to your personal information held by NHMRC, and requesting the correction of any errors

You have the right to request access to any of your personal information held by NHMRC and to request corrections.

If you would like to request access to your personal information you can contact the NHMRC’s Privacy Contact Officer on (02) 6217 9000, by email to nhmrc.privacy@nhmrc.gov.au or by writing to the following address:

Privacy Contact Officer
NHMRC
GPO Box 1421
CANBERRA ACT 2601

If, after reviewing your personal information, you consider that it contains errors, or requires amendment, you can request that these errors be corrected or the amendments be made. 

To do this you should contact the NHMRC Privacy Contact Officer, enclosing the relevant information and setting out the corrections or amendments sought, with appropriate supporting documentation. 

If you are uncertain about how to set out your request, or the supporting material required, the Privacy Contact Officer will be able to assist you.

Collection of personal information for NHMRC granting purposes

Purposes of Collection

The personal information NHMRC collects in connection with grant applications or with the grant applications of another (for example in respect of referees for another person’s application) will be used by the NHMRC for the following purposes:

  1. accepting applications
  2. reviewing and assessing applications
  3. awarding and administering grants
  4. internal management reporting
  5. as a resource to identify potential sources of expertise to advise NHMRC in relation to any of its functions e.g. committee membership, guidelines and advisory statements issued by NHMRC, advice to committees, grant review panels, external assessors
  6. administering RGMS
  7. responding to requests for assistance or information regarding NHMRC’s policies, systems and procedures
  8. contacting applicants in relation to any of the above activities or other NHMRC announcements or initiatives that may be of relevance or interest
  9. any other purpose relevant to the functions and operations of NHMRC’s peer review process.

If NHMRC is not able to collect an applicant’s personal information, it will not be able to process the application for an NHMRC grant.

Disclosure of personal information for compliance purposes

NHMRC will not use or disclose personal information contained in grant applications for any purpose not mentioned above, except in the following circumstances:

  1. the person has consented to the use or disclosure
  2. where the purpose for which it is to be used is directly related to the purpose for which it was submitted or obtained
  3. the applicant would reasonably expect, or have been told, that information of that kind may be published or passed to certain individuals, bodies or agencies
  4. where disclosure to overseas entities (see below), Australian, State/Territory or local government agencies, organisations or individuals is necessary to assess the application or administer a grant
  5.  if requested by the Australian Research Council (ARC), for the purpose of ARC establishing compliance with its funding rules;
  6. the applicant has explicitly indicated, or made NHMRC generally aware, of a wish for the application to be considered by other funding bodies and research institutions, such as co-funding organisations or the applicant’s own institution
  7. it is required or authorised by law
  8. it will prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to somebody’s life or health; or
  9. it is reasonably necessary for law enforcement.

NHMRC will not use or disclose personal information for any other purpose, without the individual’s prior written consent.

Disclosure of personal information to overseas recipients

Disclosure for NHMRC peer review

NHMRC’s peer review processes use the most qualified researchers available to assess grant applications. There may also be occasions when personal information (contained in an application) must be sent overseas to an expert reviewer or assessor for peer review. 
Applicants are advised of this possibility at the time of making their application, and can elect not to have their information sent overseas for peer review.

Some NHMRC funding schemes for collaborative projects may require NHMRC to disclose personal information to an overseas-based co-funding organisation. NHMRC may also appoint peer reviewers from overseas countries, where there is a need. In those cases, information may be disclosed to those entities or people.

In order for applicants to participate in these schemes, their personal information may need to be disclosed by NHMRC to overseas recipients. Applicants are advised of this possibility at the time of making their application.

Disclosure within jointly administered research schemes

NHMRC participates in a number of funding schemes which provide assistance to Australian researchers to participate in collaborative research projects with international researchers. 

In order for applicant researchers to participate in these schemes, their personal information may need to be disclosed by NHMRC to overseas recipients, generally for the purposes of peer review of the applications. Applicants are advised of this possibility at the time of making their application.

NHMRC – Agency for Science, Technology and Research Joint Grant Call for Research - Using Integrative Technologies to Combat Emerging Infectious Disease Singapore
see www.a-star.edu.sg

 

NHMRC - National Institute for Health Research Collaborative Research Grants  United Kingdom
see www.nets.nihr.ac.uk/programmes/hta

 

Tripartite Agreement on cooperation to improve Indigenous peoples’ health with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Health Research Council of New Zealand  New Zealand, Canada
Joint Call for research on Diabetes Type 2 – National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) China
Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases  China, Canada, the European Union, India, Mexico, the UK, USA, South Africa
see www.gacd.org

Disclosure to support international cooperation 

NHMRC participates in international collaborations to foster global health and medical research goals.  Occasionally, information will be shared between member organisations, generally about researchers with expertise in particular areas. NHMRC always requests permission from the researcher to provide their names to these organisations. 
Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases  China, Canada, the European Union, India, Mexico, the UK, USA, South Africa
see www.gacd.org
 
Global Alliance for Genomics and Health There are 148 member organisations of the Global Alliance.
see genomicsandhealth.org/
 
NHMRC – European Union Collaborative Research Grants The European Union, under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme 
NHMRC – California Institute of Regenerative Medicine Collaborative Research Grants California, USA
see www.cirm.ca.gov
 
Leaders in genomic health  
The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union.
see www.hfsp.org/
 

Information collected through the NHMRC web sites

General

Any system on the NHMRC websites that records information about you will specifically ask your permission first.

Captured Information

When you visit any of the NHMRC websites, NHMRC makes a record of your visit and logs the following information for statistical or systems administration purposes:

  • your client address
  • your top level domain name
  • the date and time of access to the site and duration
  • pages accessed and documents downloaded
  • the previous site visited
  • type of browser and operating system used

Subscriptions and web forms

If you subscribe to any of our regular electronic publications, the personal information you submit through the subscription service form will be used solely by NHMRC and not be disclosed to anyone.

There are security risks associated with transmission of information via the Internet.  The NHMRC has taken reasonable steps to safeguard against unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure of personal information we hold electronically.  Before deciding whether to use this facility you should make your own assessment of the potential risks to the security of your information.

By clicking on the warning/disclaimer tick box on the subscription service or our web based forms, you acknowledge and agree that the Commonwealth will not be liable for any unauthorised access or for any loss or damage that you may incur as a result of any unauthorised access to this site or to the information transmitted by you or any other person.

Analytic and session tools

This information is analysed to show broken links in our website, bottlenecks, and other site problems.  We use this information to maintain our site for your efficient use.

No attempt will be made to identify anonymous users or their browsing activities unless NHMRC is legally compelled to do so, such as in the event of an investigation, where a law enforcement agency may exercise a warrant to inspect the Internet Service Provider's log files.

NHMRC use a range of tools provided by third parties, such as Google Analytics, to collect or view website traffic information. These sites have their own privacy policies. NHMRC also use session tools to improve your experience when accessing our websites.

The information collected by these tools may include the IP address of the device you are using and information about sites that IP address has come from, the pages accessed on our site and the previous site visited.

We use the information to maintain, secure and improve our websites and to enhance your experience when using them. In relation to Google Analytics you can opt out of the collection of this information using the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on.

Cookies

NHMRC uses 'cookies' for maintaining contact with a user through a website session. A cookie is a small file supplied by us and stored by the web browser software on your computer when you access our site.  Cookies allow us to recognise you as an individual as you move from one of our web pages to another.

All cookies will be immediately lost when you end your internet session and shut down your computer.  Our copy of your information will be automatically deleted twenty minutes after you last use our website.  This information is only used to help you navigate our website systems more efficiently, not to track your movements through the internet, or to record private information about you.

Searches

Search terms you enter when using our search engine are collected, but are not associated with any other information that we collect.  We use these search terms to ascertain what people are looking for at our site, and to improve the services that we provide.

Making a privacy complaint if you believe that NHMRC has breached the Australian Privacy Principles

If you wish to complain that the NHMRC has breached one of the Australian Privacy Principles you can contact the NHMRC’s Privacy Contact Officer on (02) 6217 9000, by email on nhmrc.privacy@nhmrc.gov.au , or by writing to the following address:

Privacy Contact Officer
NHMRC
GPO Box 1421
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Your privacy complaint should be in writing and set out as much detail as possible and include any supporting documentation.  You may make a privacy complaint anonymously, or by using a pseudonym.  However, you should realise that if you wish to communicate with the NHMRC in this way, our ability to fully investigate and deal with the complaint may be restricted.

How NHMRC will deal with your privacy complaint


The NHMRC will usually respond to your complaint within 30 calendar days and provide you with its response in writing. 

If NHMRC takes more than 30 days to respond to your privacy complaint (without your prior agreement), or you are not satisfied with the NHMRC’s response, you may then take your privacy complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).  A complaint can be made to the OAIC using the online form.

Would you like a printed copy of this Privacy Policy?

If you would like a printed copy of this Privacy Policy, please contact the NHMRC’s Privacy Contact Officer by email on nhmrc.privacy@nhmrc.gov.au or by writing to the following address:

Privacy Contact Officer
NHMRC
GPO Box 1421
CANBERRA ACT 2601
 


 1 Available from www.comlaw.gov.au

Page last updated on 19 November 2014