NMA Scheme

The National Mutual Acceptance (NMA) Scheme currently operates in QLD, NSW, VIC, SA, WA and the ACT.

The National Mutual Acceptance (NMA) Scheme currently operates in QLD, NSW, VIC, SA, WA and the ACT.

The ACT Health Certified HREC Exemption process was introduced on 5 Jan 2016 and was designed to bring the benefits of NMA to ACT Health researchers. In line with its obligations under the National Statement chapter 5.3 (minimising duplication of ethical review) ACT Health HREC agreed to accept ethical responsibility for the conduct of these projects on the basis of the certified HREC review and approval. These arrangements were reviewed and approved by the legal unit and ACT Health insurer. Exemption applies to multisite projects excluded from NMA due to the 1 August 2016 start date agreed by NMA jurisdictions.

NMA is designed to provide one scientific and ethical approval for all sites in the participating jurisdictions. There are a number of jurisdictions specific exclusions to NMA, these include, but are not limited to:

  • Phase 0, I studies (ACT, SA)
  • Studies specifically targeting the experiences of, or data collection from:
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (ACT,NSW, QLD, SA)
    • Studies involving persons in custody, staff of justice health services or access to
    • Coronial material (ACT, NSW, QLD)

For more information about NMA please view the information brochure.

Application Submission Process

Applications made through the NMA system must use the REGIS platform.

Queries regarding the use of REGIS should be directed to the Ethics and Governance Office on 02 5124 3949

Research with NMA exemption

Where a multi-centre project has approval from an HREC with certification appropriate for the research area, and where the Canberra Hospital is named as a participating site on the approval notification, there is no requirement for researchers to make a submission to the ACT Health HREC. 

However, the research must still meet all of the site governance requirements.  Research must not be commenced without appropriate authorisation.

Streamlined Processes within the ACT

ACT Health HREC has agreements in place with Calvary Public Hospital Bruce*, the University of Canberra (UC) and Australian National University (ANU) HRECs to facilitate streamlined ethical approval processes for research projects that are defined as ‘cross-institutional’.

Where a researcher or student researcher proposes a project that would include staff, facilities or resources of ACT Health and one, two or all of the other institutions, an application should first be submitted to the ACT Health HREC or Low Risk Sub-Committee.

Applications will be reviewed and approved first by ACT Health and then submitted for expedited review through Calvary or the relevant university HREC. 

Applications should be submitted through the REGIS platform. Participant information sheets (PIS) should follow the ACT Health standard^ and include contact details for the ACT Health HREC.

*For Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, this process applies to the low risk projects only. 

^Each site will input into institutional PIS requirements through its site governance processes. 

Further details of the streamlined process are contained in the institutional agreements.

Queries may be directed to the secretariat offices of ACT Health or the relevant universities.

Page last updated on: 22 Jul 2019