Establishment of Expert Independent National Scientific Review Committees

As part of an initiative to have streamlined and efficient ethics approval for all human research, including multi-centre clinical trials, NHMRC has considered a number of options for improving the operation of Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs).

As a result of feedback received from a 2015 consultation, NHMRC engaged Bellberry Limited to host and provide secretariat services for two expert independent national scientific committees for research proposals that involve:

  • complex genetic research; or
  • clinical trials involving medical devices. 

These independent committees will provide sponsors and HRECs across Australia with access to expertise in areas of research where before such expertise may have been more difficult to source. 

Applications to the National Scientific Committees can be made at 

NHMRC will also continue to explore other options for streamlining ethics review of multi-centre clinical trials, including strengthening the National Approach to Single Ethical Review

Completed Activities

In February 2015 NHMRC undertook a targeted consultation on the feasibility of establishing a credentialing system for a small number of HRECs.

In September 2015 NHMRC released the following report.

Report to Assess the Feasibility of Establishing a Credentialing System for Ethics Review of Multi-Centre Clinical Trials in Australia

NHMRC and Bellberry established two National Scientific Committees to provide expert advice on complex genetic research studies and clinical trials involving medical devices.

Further information

More information on the National Scientific Committees, including the process for applying, is available at: