This page includes information on guidelines and tools about:
- Assisted Reproductive Technology
- clinical ethics
- decision-making for pandemics
- research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- health privacy
- organ and tissue donation and transplantation
- payment of participants in research
- peer review and ethical review
- embryo research, stem cells and human cloning
- quality assurance and evaluation activities
- participant information and consent forms.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is the application of laboratory or clinical technology to gametes (human egg or sperm) and/or embryos for the purposes of reproduction. All reproductive medicine units offering ART services should comply with the Ethical guidelines on the use of assisted reproductive technology in clinical practice and research (2017) (ART guidelines).
AHEC has developed a Consensus Statement on Clinical Ethics and a resource manual for use by healthcare organisations considering developing a clinical ethics service.
COVID-19 Pandemic – Ethics Framework
Decision-making for pandemics: an ethics framework was developed by the Australian Health Ethics Committee of the NHMRC. It is designed to support ethical health and medical related decision making and ethical policy development during a pandemic.
Ethical guidelines for research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
Information on Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders and Keeping research on track II.
Our role in the health privacy framework
The primary focus of the NHMRC with respect to privacy is in relation to research, balancing the need for the protection of personal privacy in data, and the need to facilitate access to data for research purposes.
Organ and tissue donation and transplantation
Through the work of AHEC, NHMRC has issued the following ethical guidelines on organ and tissue donation and transplantation:
- Organ and tissue donation after death, for transplantation – Guidelines for ethical practice for health professionals, 2007 (Under review)
- Making a decision about organ and tissue donation after death, 2007 (Under review)
- Organ and tissue donation by living donors – Guidelines for ethical practice for health professionals, 2007 (Under review)
- Making a decision about living organ and tissue donation, 2007 (Under review)
- Ethical guidelines for organ transplantation from deceased donors, 2016.
NHMRC is undertaking a review of the organ and tissue donation and transplantation guidelines for currency, relevance and consolidation.
Payment of participants in research
NHMRC has developed advice that is designed to provide information for researchers and reviewers of research to assist in decision-making about when payment of participants in research is ethically acceptable.
This advice does not replace or override guidance provided in the National Statement and provides additional information to assist those designing and reviewing human research.
- Payment of participants in research: information for researchers, HRECs and other ethics review bodies
Peer review and ethical review
NHMRC has provided clarification of the relationship between peer review conducted by NHMRC and ethical review conducted by an institutional ethics committee, and the expectations of NHMRC with respect to NHMRC funded research.
- Relationship between NHMRC peer review and ethical review by institutional ethics committees (see Downloads section below).
Embryo research, stem cells and human cloning
In 2002 the Australian Parliament passed two Acts to legislate on issues around human cloning and research involving human embryos.
- Information about embryo research and the prohibition of human cloning for reproduction
- Information about the Embryo Research Licensing Committee
Quality assurance and evaluation activities
Quality assurance (QA) and evaluation are important to ensure effective work and the best outcomes. However, confusion may arise about whether an activity is research, evaluation or QA, as each may use similar methods of data collection and/or analysis, and those conducting any of these activities may wish to publish their results or findings.
NHMRC has developed advice to assist organisations in developing policy and appropriate oversight of these activities.
• Ethical considerations in quality assurance and evaluation activities
Standardised participant information and consent forms (PICFs)
In 2012, NHMRC, in collaboration with the Australian States and Territories, developed templates to serve as a starting point for the development of written PICFs for research conducted in Australia. Information can be added and removed from the templates as required. The templates are available in the Downloads section below.
- PICF Interventional for Self
- PICF Interventional for Parent and Guardian
- PICF Interventional for Person Responsible
- PICF Non-Interventional for Self
- PICF Non-Interventional for Parent and Guardian
- PICF Non-Interventional for Person Responsible
Health/Social Science Research
- PICF Health and Social Science for Self
- PICF Health and Social Science for Parent and Guardian
- PICF Health and Social Science for Person Responsible
Australian Teletrial Program PICF
The PICF recommended for use in the Australian Teletrial Program (ATP) is located at Resources - Australian Teletrial Program. The Stand Alone Teletrial PICF is in the section called Trial Documents. The Trial Documents section also contains guidance for inserting the wording from the Stand Alone Teletrial PICF into the PICF templates that are currently published on this NHMRC webpage.