Guiding Principles for Peer Review Panel Membership Nomination and Appointments

Nominations and appointments of NHMRC Peer Review Panel (PRP) members across any NHMRC scheme should be guided by the following principles:

Membership turnover: NHMRC strives to ensure composition of panels is comprised of both experienced and new PRP members by retaining approximately 60 per cent of members from the previous year. Where a member has served for more than three years consecutively, NHMRC endeavours to provide at least one ‘rest year’. This does not exclude those members who have, in the past, served three years consecutively but have not been on a panel recently.

Member research track record: NHMRC considers that experience as a researcher, including successful receipt of funding from NHMRC or an equivalent peer review process that is nationally or internationally competitive to be a vital feature of PRP members and thus to the peer review process.

Member peer review experience: NHMRC considers that PRP members’ experience in peer review, including for peer-reviewed journals or other funding organisations, is important to ensuring that NHMRC funding is awarded to applications that have been rigorously and fairly assessed against the assessment criteria including project scientific quality, significance and/or innovation, and applicant team track record in fields relevant to the project.

Integrity: NHMRC expects PRP members to exemplify integrity in all involvement with the peer-review process, and must act in good faith in the best interests of NHMRC and the research community for a proper purpose. This includes, but is not limited to, the maintenance of absolute confidentiality and thus, abstaining from improper use of their involvement (or information obtained from their involvement) to gain an advantage for themselves or any person, or to cause detriment to NHMRC. NHMRC expects PRP members to adhere to the principles and practices outlined in Section 6 (Peer Review) of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.


In determining the final membership across PRPs, NHMRC will also aspire to:

  • Retain approximately 60 per cent of membership from one year in the next year’s membership
  • Ensure broad State and Territory representation
  • Ensure representation of Members from diverse (location and size) Administering Institutions
  • Ensure spread of a single Administering Institution’s applications across appropriate PRPs
  • Ensure a balanced representation of gender
  • Ensure relevant expertise is included as dictated by application demand
  • Minimise the number of instances that panels consider an application(s) submitted by an applicant serving on the same panel.