The National Health and Medical Research Council last night announced that Epworth HealthCare’s inaugural Group Director of Research and Development has been awarded the 2017 NHMRC Ethics Award.

The biennial NHMRC Ethics Award recognises Australians for their outstanding contributions to promoting and upholding the highest ethical standards in health and medical research.

The award, announced at the NHMRC Excellence Awards Dinner in Canberra, acknowledges Professor Zeps’ significant contributions at a national and international level.

Chief Executive Officer Professor Anne Kelso AO noted that Professor Zeps was recognised for his long-standing commitment to ethics and for advocating, promoting and fostering good ethical practice across a range of domains: applied research, in international networks, good governance and in Ethics Committee management.

“Each year NHMRC provides over $800 million in funding for health and medical research in Australia,” Professor Kelso said.

Professor Zeps said he believes good ethical practice is at the heart of effective health and medical research.

“Our patients and community rightly expect us to uphold the highest standards in both the quality of our research and the way we conduct it. Rather than seeing ethics as a matter of compliance, I have worked to integrate it into the fabric of good research practice so that our studies are ethical by their very design. This award is a huge vindication of that approach and I look forward to continuing this in my work at the Epworth and with all of our collaborators.”

Professor Zeps is currently a Founding Board Director of the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance, and Member of the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia and Chair of its Cancer Biology Group.  He is a member of the International Cancer Genome Consortium, Ethics and Governance Committee and chair of the Communication Committee.  He was until 2016 the Australian Representative on the Steering Committee of the Global Summit of National Ethics Committees (WHO/UNESCO).

Other recent appointments include Co-Chair of the Science and Policy Committee, International Society of Biological and Environmental Repositories; and most significantly Member of the Australian Health Ethics Committee and Member of the Research Committee of NHMRC.

Pictured:  The NHMRC celebrates Australia’s most talented senior and emerging researchers at the biennial award ceremony in Canberra on 12 July 2017. Professor Zeps front row, fourth from left.