Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) play a central role in the ethical oversight of research involving humans. HRECs review research proposals involving human participants to ensure that they are ethically acceptable and have been developed in accordance with relevant standards and guidelines.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) requests annual reports from HRECs registered with NHMRC concerning the HRECs’ activities over the reporting period (a calendar year). The information that is collected in these annual reports relates to the application of specific requirements of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 (National Statement) including:
- the composition of the HREC;
- processes for the consideration of research proposals; reporting arrangements with the host institution; and
- monitoring of approved research and mechanisms for handling complaints.
The purpose of collecting the information is to gather an annual overview about the Australian HREC system. This information assists NHMRC, including the Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC).
The following overview of HRECs is drawn from the information provided at registration and during the reporting period from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015.