State Health Research Advisory Council (SHRAC) - ceased

Note: this council ceased operations in August 2015. The information below is provided for historical purposes only.

The Western Australian Government’s vision for research and development includes:

  • fostering research
  • developing new knowledge-based industries
  • applying new knowledge to existing mainstream industries.

Consistent with this vision, and as recommended by the Report of the Health Reform Committee (PDF 2MB), the State Health Research Advisory Council (SHRAC, or the Council) was established to advise the Department of Health and the Minister for Health on strategic directions and policies for health and medical research (HMR) and development (R&D) at a statewide level.

Vision statement

The Council’s overall vision is to facilitate an efficient, productive and sustainable health and medical research (HMR) sector in Western Australia with the capacity to drive the future health, social and economic development of the State.

This vision recognises that an internationally competitive HMR sector must be founded on:

  • excellence in research
  • a high calibre workforce
  • solid infrastructure support
  • strong incentives for innovation.

The benefits of world-class research efforts, and the translation of these into health gain, will accrue at the local, national and international level.

The strategic mandate for SHRAC recognises that health and medical research in the State is multi-faceted. It covers many disciplines, is funded by a range of public and private sources, and is part of national and international research endeavours. Outputs of such research can have an impact on the health, economic, social and environmental sectors and is in turn, influenced by developments in these areas.

Through its activities, SHRAC plays a critical role in making Western Australia a world-class centre for health and medical research.


In 1997, the State Government established the Medical and Health Research Infrastructure Council (MHRIC) following a review by the Technology and Industry Advisory Council (TIAC) of Western Australia.

The role of the MHRIC was to promote excellence in medical and health research by providing advice to the Western Australian Government on the infrastructure needs of the State’s medical and health researchers.

The MHRIC administered the Medical and Health Research Infrastructure Fund (MHRIF) and made recommendations on its distribution to the Minister for Health.

The tenure of the MHRIC expired in June 2002. The Department of Health has administered the MHRIF since this time.

Terms of reference

The objectives of the Council are to provide strategic policy advice to the Department of Health and Minister for Health on:

  • initiatives that promote and enhance the full spectrum of health and medical R&D in Western Australia
  • provision of infrastructure support for high quality health and medical research undertaken in the State through the Medical and Health Research Infrastructure Fund
  • State health research directions, research priorities, and recommendations on funding mechanisms to address these priorities
  • requirements for a skilled and productive health and medical research workforce in the State, including recruitment, training and development, and retention of staff
  • effective human research ethics approval processes in the State
  • promoting the translation of research results into health policy and practice
  • statewide intellectual property and commercialisation matters
  • promoting and facilitating collaborative alliances between the State’s health and medical researchers and national and international partners
  • maximising opportunities for health and medical researchers in WA to attract research funding from State, Commonwealth, international and private funding sources
  • promoting and maintaining a culture of research as integral to health care delivery
  • increasing the public’s understanding of the contribution of research to health, economic, social and environmental advancement in the State.

Council members

Members are appointed by the Director General of Health and may include:

  • an independent chair
  • a Department of Health officer with responsibility for health and medical research
  • a representative of the Western Australian Office of Science
  • a consumer with knowledge of health and medical research matters, including ethics
  • members from the corporate sector
  • persons with expertise relevant to the functions of the Council, and experience in one or more of the following areas:
    • biomedical sciences research
    • clinical practice and clinical research
    • public health research, health services research, health policy and/or health economics
    • university/higher education sector
    • research and development/commercialisation.


The department of Health's Research Development Unit provides secretariat and policy support to the Council.

Modus operandi

The Council:

  • provides guidance to the secretariat in the development and implementation of strategies to address its objectives
  • meets quarterly in its first year, then as often as required to meet its objectives
  • may convene to consider specific issues pertaining to medical and health R&D at the request of the Director General or Minister for Health
  • has the power to co-opt other persons with specific expertise and establish ad-hoc working groups as required.

More information

Research Development Unit
Department of Health
PO Box 8172
Perth Business Centre, WA 6849

Produced by

Research and Innovation Office