1. What positions require filling?
Nominations are being accepted for all positions on the Council of NHMRC and Principal Committees, except for ex-officio positions (i.e. Chief Medical Officers on Council).
Members provide high quality, expert and independent advice that enables the NHMRC CEO to fulfil her functions under the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992 (NHMRC Act). Council and each Principal Committee have specific objectives and/or areas of focus — we encourage you to consider the Terms of Reference and membership in the current triennium prior to completing your nomination:
- Council provides strategic advice to the CEO on all elements of NHMRC business.
- Research Committee provides advice on the administration and allocation of the Medical Research Endowment Account, delivery of NHMRC funding schemes and associated activities.
- Australian Health Ethics Committee provides advice on ethical issues relating to health and develops human research guidelines. The expertise of each member of this Committee is prescribed in section 36 of the NHMRC Act.
- Health Research Impact Committee will provide advice on research impact and translation policies and strategies. The Health Research Impact Committee will replace the Health Translation Advisory Committee and Health Innovation Advisory Committee. This new Committee will complement the advice of Research Committee and leverage work over the last two triennia of the Health Translation Advisory Committee and Health Innovation Advisory Committee.
- Embryo Research Licensing Committee administers the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 (RIHE Act) and the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2002 and reports its activities directly to the Minister and Parliament of Australia. The expertise of each member of this Committee is prescribed in the RIHE Act.
2. When will the appointments be made?
The appointments will be made by the Minister of Health, to commence on or after 1 July 2021 and cease 30 June 2024.
3. What expertise is being sought?
Members of Council and Principal Committees have demonstrated knowledge and experience of health and medical research in Australia. They are exceptional and recognised leaders in their research area, or in the community and consumer domain, able to advise the Government, through the NHMRC CEO on: the funding health and medical research and research training in Australia, the development of evidence-based health advice, and to support the highest ethical standards in health and medical research. There are some specific requirements for membership of the Council and Australian Health Ethics Committee which are outlined in the NHMRC Act and requirements for the Embryo Research Licensing Committee as outlined in the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 (RIHE Act).
The NHMRC Act requires, under section 20 (2), that the Council consist of:
- the Chair;
- the chief medical officer for the Commonwealth;
- the chief medical officer for each State and Territory;
- a person with expertise in the health needs of Aboriginal persons and Torres Strait Islanders;
- a person with expertise in consumer issues;
- a person with expertise in business;
- at least 6, but no more than 11, persons with expertise in one or more of the following:
- health care training;
- professional medical standards;
- the medical profession and post-graduate medical training;
- the nursing profession;
- public health research and medical research issues;
- public health;
- ethics relating to research involving humans;
- other appropriate expertise.
Whilst all nominations under ‘other appropriate expertise’ will be considered, there is currently interest in persons with expertise in rare diseases, mental health and allied health.
The NHMRC Act also requires, under Section 36 (1), that the Australian Health Ethics Committee consist of:
- the Chair;
- a person with knowledge of the ethics of medical research;
- a person who has expertise in law;
- a person who has expertise in philosophy;
- a person who has expertise in religion;
- a person who has experience in medical research;
- a person who has experience in public health research;
- a person who has experience in social science research;
- a person who has experience in clinical medical practice;
- a person who has experience in nursing or allied health practices;
- a person with knowledge of the regulation of the medical profession;
- a person with understanding of health consumer issues;
- a person with understanding of the concerns of people with a disability;
- no more than 2 other persons with expertise relevant to the functions of the Committee.
There must also be included among the members of the Australian Health Ethics Committee, members that collectively have membership in each of the other Principal Committees.
The RIHE Act requires, Under Section 16 (1), that the Embryo Research Licensing Committee consist of:
- a member of AHEC;
- a person with expertise in research ethics;
- a person with expertise in a relevant area of research;
- a person with expertise in assisted reproductive technology;
- a person with expertise in a relevant area of law;
- a person with expertise in consumer health issues relating to disability and disease;
- a person with expertise in consumer issues relating to assisted reproductive technology;
- a person with expertise in the regulation of assisted reproductive technology;
- a person with expertise in embryology.
It is important to note that members of Council and each Principal Committee bring a diverse range of views and expertise that ensures robust and comprehensive advice is provided on the functions of NHMRC. Members are selected based on the individual expertise and experience they will bring to the role. They are not appointed to represent the views or position of a specific organisation or institution.
We encourage you to consider the Terms of Reference and 2018-2021 triennium membership prior to completing your nomination (links in Answer 1 above).
4. How will my expertise be verified? Do you check with referees?
There are several avenues to confirm the information provided in nominations. As you will have a national or international reputation in your field, your expertise is likely to be public record. We may also ask the person who nominated you for additional information if required.
5. Can current or former Members of Council or Principal Committees nominate again?
Yes. Existing appointees to NHMRC Council and Principal Committees may nominate for consideration of re-appointment.
6. I may have a conflict of interest – can I still be considered?
As members are appointed for their expertise and experience, this can on occasion give rise to an actual, or perceived, conflict of interest. Disclosure of interests by members, prior to, and throughout the life of an appointment, is a requirement under the NHMRC Act (section 42A). The process commences with completion of the Private Interests Declaration form as part of this nomination process.
Section 42A of the NHMRC Act, requires members ‘give to the CEO a written statement of any interest the member has that may relate to the activity of the Council or Committee’ before starting to hold office.
NHMRC has developed guidance to assist and inform members in the exercise and management of their Disclosure of Interests responsibilities. Appointed members must adhere to these requirements throughout their appointment.
7. What is the time commitment / workload?
Time commitments vary depending on the Committee – at a minimum, Committees meet three times per year (indicative meeting expectations below). Meetings may be face to face (F2F) or via videoconference depending on the agenda and environmental factors. NHMRC generally seeks to have most Committees meet in Canberra at least once per year.
Members are expected to have read agenda papers prior to meetings and may also be asked to prepare material for consideration at meetings or participate in sub-committees on specific activities. Members may also be asked to consider matters out of session at the request of the CEO.
1.5 day meeting, 3 times a year (F2F preferred); some additional 1-2 hour videoconferences may be required
2 day meeting, 3-4 times a year (F2F preferred); some additional 1-2 hour videoconferences will also be required
Australian Health Ethics Committee
1 day meeting x 3-4 times a year
Health Research Impact Committee
Embryo Research Licensing Committee
8. Can I nominate for more than one committee?
Yes. If you consider your expertise would allow you to contribute to more than one committee, please indicate that on your nomination form.
9. Are members paid for their time?
Members are considered part time holders of public office and are renumerated for their meeting attendance, travel and preparation time in accordance with the Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal determinations.
Note: Ex-officio members of Council and Principal Committees are not eligible for remuneration.
10. What other expenses are covered by NHMRC?
Members are entitled to NHMRC funded travel to attend meetings; this includes transport and accommodation booked by NHMRC and the provision of meals or a meal allowance as specified by the Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal. Members may also seek reimbursement for incidental expenses associated with meeting attendance, such as taxi fares and airport parking.