9. Researcher responsibilities and considerations

9.1 Responsible Conduct of Research

NHMRC expects the highest levels of research conduct and integrity to be observed in the research that it funds. Institutions that administer grants, as well as the Specified Personnel, are bound by the conditions of the Funding Agreement.  NHMRC funded research must be conducted in accordance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (the Code).

9.2 Incomplete, False or Misleading Information

All information submitted to NHMRC must be complete, current and accurate at the time of submission.

Administering Institutions are required to notify NHMRC of research misconduct matters, in accordance with the Funding Agreement and the NHMRC Policy on Misconduct related to NHMRC Funding.

Under section 136.1 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995, it is an offence to provide false or misleading information to a Commonwealth body in an application for a benefit.

Examples of false or misleading information in an application include, but are not limited to:

  • providing a dishonest statement regarding time commitments to the research for which support is being sought
  • providing incomplete or inaccurate facts regarding other sources of funding
  • providing fictitious track records
  • falsifying claims in publication records (such as describing a paper as accepted for publication when it has only been submitted).

If NHMRC believes that omissions or inclusion of misleading information are intentional, it may refer the matter for appropriate investigation and take action under these Funding Rules and the Funding Agreement or in accordance with the NHMRC Policy on Misconduct related to NHMRC Funding.

9.3 Dissemination of Scientific Results (Open Access, Data Sharing and Intellectual Property)

The Australian Government makes a major investment in research to improve the wellbeing of our society. To maximise the benefits flowing from research, and to allow access by other researchers and the wider community, publications resulting from research activities must be disseminated as broadly as possible. NHMRC acknowledges that researchers take into account a wide range of factors in determining the best avenues for dissemination of findings and/or publications arising from their research.

Funding recipients must ensure that they comply with NHMRC policy on the dissemination of research findings, which is available on the NHMRC website under Dissemination of Research Findings.

9.4 Consumer and Community Participation in Health and Medical Research

The Statement on Consumer and Community Involvement in Health and Medical Research (the Statement) has been developed because many consumers and researchers recognise the contribution that consumers can make to health and medical research. The Consumers Health Forum of Australia Ltd (CHF) and NHMRC worked in partnership with consumers and researchers to develop the Statement. Researchers are encouraged to consider the benefits of actively engaging consumers in their proposed research, noting that section 1.13 of the Code  states ‘Appropriate consumer involvement in research should be encouraged and facilitated by research institutions and researchers’.

9.5 Privacy and disclosure of Personal information

NHMRC is committed to protecting applicants’ and grantees’ privacy in compliance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act). The Australian Privacy Principles set out how Australian Government agencies should collect, use, store and disclose personal information and how individuals can access records containing their personal information.

For some funding schemes, NHMRC may disclose your personal information to an overseas-based co-funding organisation. NHMRC may also appoint peer reviewers from overseas countries, where there is a need, and in accordance with the Privacy Act and the NHMRC’s Privacy Policy.  RGMS will prompt you with a notice that seeks your consent to overseas disclosures.

9.6 Confidentiality

Section 80 of the NHMRC Act makes it an offence for NHMRC Officers (which includes members of NHMRC Council and committees) to disclose confidential commercial information acquired in the course of their duties and relating to matters under consideration by NHMRC, unless the disclosure is made in the performance of duties under the NHMRC Act.

NHMRC will not be taken to have breached its obligations to the extent that it discloses confidential commercial information for a purpose directly related to the enforcement or investigation of a possible breach of any Commonwealth, State, Territory or local law.

Information which may properly be regarded as confidential commercial information should be identified as such by applicants.

9.7 Freedom of Information

NHMRC is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act) and is committed to meeting the Australian Government's transparency and accountability requirements.

Researchers should familiarise themselves with NHMRC’s Freedom of Information procedures before submitting an application.