NHMRC National Certification Scheme of Institutional Processes Related to the Ethical Review of Multi-centre Research.

We developed the National Certification Scheme of Institutional Processes Related to the Ethical Review of Multi-centre Research (National Certification Scheme) to enable the single ethics and scientific review of human research that is occurring at multiple institutions in Australia. 

Under this scheme, certified institutions (that is, institutions and their HRECs) whose ethics review processes have been evaluated and certified by NHMRC against criteria outlined in the Certification Handbook and guidance in the National Statement can have their ethics review accepted by other institutions participating in the research project. The list of certified institutions is available in the Downloads section below.

Certification respects institutional decisions about research governance matters, including whether research should be conducted at a given site.

Monitoring, renewal and reporting

In 2020, NHMRC discontinued the current renewal and extension processes, replacing them with a process of ‘continuous certification’ from 1 July 2020. Please also refer to the guidance note in the Downloads section below. 

As part of the scheme, certified institutions and their HRECs are required to report to us on their multi-centre research activities.

How to apply for certification

Participation in the scheme is voluntary.

While the Certification scheme remains active, resource constraints and policy development since its conception mean that we are unable to operate the scheme as we did during its early years. For this reason, we will assess each institution’s interest in certification on a case-by-case basis.

Before commencing steps to apply for certification, please contact us at HREC.admin@nhmrc.gov.au for further advice.

Additional resources

You may wish to view the below documents that were used to inform the development of the scheme. Please note that these documents may not reflect current practice, but still provide valuable information.

National Mutual Acceptance Scheme

All Australian states and territories take part in the National Mutual Acceptance (NMA) scheme. This scheme supports the acceptance of a single scientific and ethical review for multi-centre research conducted in publicly-funded health services.

Further information on the NMA scheme is available from the websites of health departments in participating jurisdictions:

As the NMA scheme is a state/territory-based system, policy decisions are made at the jurisdictional level and do not involve NHMRC.

Further information 

Email address: HREC.admin@nhmrc.gov.au