The use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) may present a number of opportunities and challenges for grant applicants and peer reviewers. The purpose of this document is to outline NHMRC’s policy on the use of generative AI.
Generative AI (such as natural language processing models and AI technology) are tools that can perform a wide range of tasks including learning, problem-solving, decision-making and natural language understanding.
NHMRC recognises that the use of generative AI may present a number of opportunities and challenges. Information provided to generative AI may enter the public domain and be accessed by unspecified third parties. Information produced by generative AI may inadvertently use the intellectual property of others or be factually incorrect. However, generative AI can be a valuable tool to assist applicants in drafting, summarising and streamlining their applications, or to assist with English language writing. These tools have the potential to reduce the time burden associated with drafting grant applications and increase the time spent on research and innovation.
Applicants are to exercise caution when using generative AI tools in the preparation of grant applications, given it may not be possible to monitor or manage subsequent use of information entered into generative AI databases.
Applicants and their Administering Institutions must certify that all information provided in their applications is accurate and are accountable for any misinformation and factual errors more broadly, including those resulting from the use of generative AI in their applications.
Peer reviewers must not input any part of a grant application, or any information from a grant application, into a natural language processing and/or artificial intelligence technology system to assist them in the assessment of applications.
The use of generative AI by peer reviewers may compromise the integrity of NHMRC’s peer review process and be in breach of the Peer Review Principles and the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
NHMRC and its peer reviewers are bound by the provisions of the Privacy Act 1988 in its collection and use of personal information, and by the commercial confidentiality requirements under section 80 of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992. Peer reviewers are to treat applications in-confidence and must not disclose any matter regarding applications under review. As part of this process, peer reviewers are required to complete a Deed of Confidentiality. Entering confidential application information into generative AI would breach these confidentiality requirements and obligations.
NHMRC will maintain a watching brief on the uses of generative AI technology and update this policy as required.
Policy published 29 June 2023