Research Committee Terms of Reference

Section menu

The Royal Women's Hospital Research Committee functions as an advisory committee to the Ethics Committees.

All research projects involving humans and the use of animals must receive approval by the Research Committee before they are progressed to the relevant Human and/or Animal Ethics Committees for consideration and approval.

Terms of reference

1. Title

Royal Women's Hospital Research Committee

2. Reporting relationship

The Royal Women's Hospital Research Committee is a sub-committee of the Royal Women's Hospital Human Ethics Committee. The Royal Women's Hospital Research Committee reports to the Royal Women's Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC).

The HREC is responsible and reports directly to the Chief Executive of the Women's. Through the Chief Executive, the Committee reports to the Board of Directors.

3. Membership

The Royal Women's Hospital Research Committee shall be constituted as follows:

1) The Dunbar Hooper Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ex-officio)

2) The Chair or Deputy Chair of the Senior Medical Staff of the Royal Women’s Hospital

3) The Clinical Director of Women’s Services (or equivalent)

4) The Director of Women’s Services (or equivalent)

5) Such other persons as may be appointed for their specific expertise, on the recommendation of the Research Committee

6) Other persons may be co-opted for specific purposes, on a one-off basis, as required.

Members, other than ex-officio members and co-opted members, shall be appointed for a period of three (3) years, but be eligible for reappointment.

All the more active researcher groups within the hospital should be represented on the Research Committee. This is to ensure that their views of research relevant to their area are discussed fairly, as well as to facilitate the governance of research on the campus, a responsibility that should be shared by all researchers. The membership should have expertise in broader issues involving research projects, such as cultural or racial diversity or health literacy, for example.

One member shall be appointed as Chair and three members as Deputy Chairs.

4. Frequency of meetings

The Committee shall meet not less than six (6) times per year.

5. Terms of reference

1) The function of the Committee is to ensure that research undertaken at the Women’s is of high quality and scientific merit.

2) The Committee shall examine all proposals for research to be undertaken at the Women's and evaluate these in terms of scientific merit, feasibility, methodology, statistical validity, potential benefit or risk to patients or the Hospital, financial costs and benefits to the Hospital, effects on the workload of staff of the Hospital and on the Hospital’s normal functioning. This evaluation would be undertaken following written submission in the prescribed format and, where necessary, by personal interview of at least the principal investigator.

Where appropriate, investigators will be required to indicate what measures have been taken to protect intellectual property.

The Committee may communicate with other relevant bodies, including other research and/or ethics committees, in the interests of facilitating high quality, ethical research.

3) The Committee shall submit to the Royal Women's Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee all projects recommended for approval, together with a summary of the project and a statement of any ethical implications of which the Research Committee might be aware.

4) The Committee shall seek annual reports from investigators of the results of completed projects including publications arising from approved research projects and annual interim reports on on-going projects.

5) The Committee shall ensure that approved research projects include procedures and protocols for the reporting and consideration of any adverse clinical events arising from the research.

6) The Committee shall appraise scientific aspects of proposed procedures to ensure that they comply with the relevant Code of Conduct and government regulations governing research involving experimental animals, genetically modified organisms, Occupational Health & Safety issues and radiation safety.

7) All deliberations of the Committee shall be in confidence and members shall be required to sign an appropriate Confidentiality Agreement.

8) The Committee will make available to interested parties an annual summary which is to include a listing of the membership of the Committee, the frequency of attendances of the members at meetings of the Committee, the total number of applications considered by the Committee, the outcome of the applications, and the principal reasons most commonly found by the Committee to be responsible for the rejection of applications or a delay in the progression of the applications to the Ethics Committee.

9) The Women's will provide a secretariat to support the activities of the Research Committee including the human and physical resources necessary to produce and appropriately maintain the committee’s documents.

10) All projects must have prior peer-review before submission. A Scientific Review Panel is available to facilitate prior peer review.

Approved by Board Research Committee on 14 December 2011.