The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the federal government body responsible for directing support for health and medical research, is piloting National Scientific Committees to provide advice to Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs), sponsors and researchers on complex genetic research and clinical trials involving medical devices.
The National Scientific Committees (NSCs) will provide advice to HRECs, sponsors and investigators on the scientific merit and integrity of a research protocol. The committees will not provide ethics approval for human research and positive advice from a committee does not constitute an approval to commence a research project.
Under this pilot, Bellberry, a national private not-for-profit company, will provide secretariat and administrative support to the committees.
While the Terms of Reference, Standard Operating Procedures and the membership of the committees have been approved by NHMRC, Bellberry will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the committees. NHMRC has provided funding to Bellberry to cover the costs associated with the pilot project.