National Mutual Acceptance

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National Mutual Acceptance (NMA)

National Mutual Acceptance (NMA) is a system for mutual acceptance of scientific and ethical review of multi-centre human research projects conducted in publicly funded health services across jurisdictions. NMA reduces duplication in the conduct of scientific and ethical review of multi-jurisdictional research.

Apart from some exemptions that apply within each jurisdiction, each proposal for a multi-centre human research study conducted in public health organisations within the participating jurisdictions will be ethically and scientifically reviewed once. Participating jurisdictions include New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, the ACT, Western Australia and South Australia.

For ethics reviews of human research to be accepted under NMA, the HREC conducting the review must be certified under the NHMRC National Certification Scheme, and be a Certified Reviewing HREC under the NMA scheme. Refer to the NHMRC - National Certification Scheme for ethics review of multi-centre research and the List of institutions with certified ethics review processes.

NMA - Data Linkage Projects

The NMA scheme has been revised to include multi-jurisdiction Data Linkage Projects. Researchers are now able to apply to Specialist Data Linkage HRECs within the NMA scheme to seek the single ethical and scientific review of data linkage studies involving NMA public health organisations. The ethical approval of these HRECs will be accepted by participating jurisdictions in accordance with standard NMA approval processes.

As with all NMA HREC applications, all projects need to undergo any local research governance processes that may apply within participating jurisdictions, including the endorsement of relevant local data custodians. Researchers are encouraged to contact the relevant data custodian/s or data linkage unit to discuss the requirements for their project as soon as possible in the planning stages of the project, prior to the submission of the ethics application. Refer to the NMA – Data Linkage Guide for specialist NMA HRECs and further information

The National Mutual Acceptance, Ethical review arrangements for Multi-Jurisdiction Data Linkage studies
Guidance Document
provides the framework and participating jurisdictions.