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Chair, Human Research Ethics Committee

Human Research Ethics Committee | Health administration

Posted on 28 July 2023
Closed on 29 August 2023


Sessional, 3 years
Monthly, Half day meetings
Melbourne - CBD
Sessional rates

About the board

The Committee provides robust and independent consideration of research applications put before it for ethical review according to its criteria for referral and the ethical standards set out in the National Health and Medical Research Council's National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (National Statement, 2018).

Specifically, the Committee undertakes ethical reviews of research proposals conducted or commissioned by the Department of Health or otherwise carried out under its auspices. The Committee also considers proposals in the portfolios of the former Department of Health and Human Services including child protection, prevention of family violence, housing, disability, ageing and carers.

The Committee thereby ensures that governmental research is conducted to appropriate ethical standards that protect the interests and vulnerabilities of research participants and fosters transparent and accountable research.

The role of the Committee is to:

  • Consider the ethical implications of research proposals submitted to it for review;
  • Evaluate the ethical conduct of research involving humans according to the National Statement and Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (Australian Code, 2018);
  • Comply with all guidelines and legislation relevant to research proposals considered;
  • Provide advice on matters of an ethical nature, as required by the Secretary of the Department of Health (the Secretary); and
  • Provide a report annually to the Secretary.

About the role

The Department of Health’s Human Research Ethics Committee (the Committee) reviews research proposals against the ethical principles of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (National Statement). These reviews ensure that the interests of research participants are protected, and that research is conducted to appropriate ethical standards. The Chair exercises a leadership role to ensure that the Committee operates effectively and meets the requirements for the department’s research agenda. The role of the Chair is to:

  • Exercise effective leadership by managing meetings openly and inclusively so that research proposals are dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner
  • Prepare for, and preside over, eight Committee meetings per annum and contribute actively to the planning and content for an annual professional development day
  • Work with the Committee Secretariat out-of-session to progress matters arising from meetings and initiate necessary actions
  • As required, address policy issues relevant to research matters
  • Ensure the Committee meets its reporting obligations under relevant legislation
  • Have authoritative knowledge of the National Statement and provide common-sense application of it to the review of research proposals
  • Identify the relevant risks and benefits of research proposals and assess how well risks are addressed in any proposed mitigation measures
  • Declare any potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise, in respect of research proposals put before the Committee.

Who we're looking for

Are you

  • Able to work with a diverse range of people with divergent views?
  • Comfortable with complexity and able to promote consensus and make decisions?
  • Familiar with the National Statement?
  • Experienced in Committee work and deliberative/governance processes?
  • Interested in research and keen to realise its benefits for society?

What you need to apply

Expressions of interest must be submitted to Please include:

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a covering letter that indicates the position sought and addresses the selection criteria in the position description; and
  • the names and details of two referees.
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