Nominations are invited from interested individuals to be on a range of advisory committees that will provide advice on health and medical research in Australia.

Nominations will close 5PM AEST on Wednesday 31 July 2024.

The Australian Government is considering the structural arrangements that underpin Australia’s health and medical research system, including how the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and NHMRC’s Medical Research Endowment Account (MREA) funding can be better coordinated to support research and innovation to improve health outcomes.

A national consultation on the governance and administration arrangements for Government funding through the MRFF and MREA has concluded, and Government is considering its formal response. In the meantime, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Department of Health and Aged Care (the Department) are progressing work to improve alignment and coordination, including establishing a range of shared advisory committees.

As part of these arrangements, NHMRC Council and the MRFF’s Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) will work more closely together to provide holistic advice on the health and medical research landscape in Australia, including the role of NHMRC’s MREA and MRFF, while a range of other advisory committees will support either NHMRC, or the Department, or both.

Research Committee (which is established as an NHMRC Principal Committee under the NHMRC Act) is expected to be asked to support both NHMRC and the Department, including advising on alignment between the funding policies and processes for the MREA and the MRFF.

NHMRC Principal Committees

Nominations are now open for the following NHMRC Principal Committees:

  • Research Committee – advises on the quality and scope of health and medical research in Australia, including the application of the MREA, and on MRFF matters and policy.
  • Australian Health Ethics Committee – advises on ethical issues relating to health and develop human research guidelines.

NHMRC-MRFF Joint Advisory Committees

The following committees are being jointly established by NHMRC and the Department to advise on research strategies and funding policies (for both MREA and MRFF) in each of the respective areas:

  • NHMRC-MRFF Consumer Advisory Group – which will advise on consumer and community involvement in health and medical research, including on strengthening consumer involvement in MREA and MRFF grant programs.
  • NHMRC-MRFF Industry, Philanthropy and Commercialisation Committee – which will advise on industry and philanthropic involvement in health and medical research and strategies to foster greater research commercialisation.
  • NHMRC-MRFF Public Health and Health Systems Committee – which will advise on strategies for strengthening preventive health, public health, primary care and health services, and for embedding research translation in the Australian health system.
  • NHMRC-MRFF Indigenous Advisory Group – which will advise on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research and capacity building for Indigenous health researchers.

Nominations now open

We are seeking nominations from individuals interested in the role of research in improving health outcomes for the Australian community, including but not limited to; consumers and community members, industry representatives, philanthropy representatives, physicians and other clinicians, and researchers in all areas of health and medical research and at all career stages.

Nominees may be asked to serve more than one committee, noting that all committees will have a consumer representative/s and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative/s.

A diagrammatic overview of the advisory committee structure is available to download below.

To nominate please complete the online nomination form, noting that you will be required to upload a completed Curriculum Vitae and Declaration of Private Interests form using the templates provided in the Downloads section below. Nominations will close 5PM AEST on Wednesday 31 July 2024.

Refer to the FAQs below for common questions or contact NHMRC.appointments@nhmrc.gov.au for more information or with any questions.

FAQs

When do the appointments take effect?

The appointments will commence on or after 1 July 2024. Some committees may not be announced or start until late in 2024. Appointments will be for up to 3 years.

What expertise is being sought?

Nominees are usually exceptional and recognised leaders in their domain – which may be research, community/consumer involvement, philanthropy, business/industry or healthcare and health services – with an interest in health and medical research and/or a passion for improving health outcomes for the Australian community. It is also important that the diversity of our community is reflected in our committees.

Specific expertise is required for the Australian Health Ethics Committee, including people with expertise in philosophy, the ethics of medical research, public health and social science research, clinical medical practice and nursing, disability, law, religion and health consumer issues.

How will I hear the outcome of my nomination?

All appointments are in-confidence until announced by either the Minister for Health and Aged Care, or jointly by NHMRC and the Department. Unsuccessful nominees will not be notified in advance of these announcements.

We invite you to subscribe to NHMRC on X and via our Tracker newsletter to receive notification about the announcement of appointments.

Does this nomination process cover all NHMRC and MRFF advisory committees?

No, NHMRC and the MRFF maintain a range of committees that are established through different processes and with different start and end dates.

This nomination process excludes AMRAB, NHMRC Council, MRFF Expert Advisory Panels and any other Working Committees not listed above. It also excludes NHMRC’s Embryo Research Licensing Committee for which nominations closed in January 2024.

The NHMRC Health Research Impact Committee ends on 30 June 2024 and is not being extended although some of its work will be taken up in new committees and working groups.

What is happening to the MRFF Consumer Reference Panel?

NHMRC and the Department are seeking to bring together existing consumer advisory committees for NHMRC and the MRFF into a new shared NHMRC-MRFF Consumer Advisory Group. This new group will replace the previous NHMRC Consumer and Community Advisory Group, MRFF Consumer Reference Panel and NHMRC Consumer Statement Advisory Group. Existing members have been informed and will have the opportunity to nominate for (re)appointment to the new shared group.

How will my expertise or suitability be verified? Do you check with referees?

NHMRC and the Department have several avenues to confirm the information provided in nominations, including information on the public record and enquiries made through our networks and existing members. While it is not mandatory to list referees on your nomination, you may choose to identify individuals or organisations that support your nomination.

I may have a conflict of interest – can I still be considered?

Recipients of, or potential applicants for, NHMRC and/or MRFF grant funding are not excluded from participating in NHMRC Principal Committees or NHMRC-MRFF joint advisory committees.

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 of appointment. The process commences with completion of the Private Interests Declaration form as part of this nomination process.  

Further information is available in the following policy documents:

What is the time commitment / workload?

The time commitment varies by committee and may include participation in sub-committees or working groups, as well as formal meetings and meeting preparation.

As a guide, most committees meet around 3 times per year for at least a half-day (for example, 3-5 hours) or up to 2-full days at a time (the latter applies mainly to NHMRC’s Research Committee).

Meeting preparation involves reading and considering agenda papers (in advance) and may include preparing material for presentation at meetings or in working groups.

Where are meetings held?

Meetings may be held via videoconference or in person (usually at NHMRC’s or the Department of Health and Aged Care’s Canberra offices).

Are members paid for their time?

Members are considered part-time holders of public office and are remunerated for their meeting attendance in accordance with guidance from the Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal.

Note: Commonwealth, state and territory employees are not eligible for remuneration.

What other expenses are covered?

Members are entitled to NHMRC-funded travel to attend in-person 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.

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