We have a number of committees to support and contribute to AIATSIS’ work.

These committees provide advice to the Council:

These committees provide advice to the Chief Executive Officer:

The quality, independence and ethics of research activities within the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) are subject to oversight by the Research Advisory Committee, Research Ethics Committee, Native Title Research Advisory Committee and Publishing Advisory Committee.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a major role to play as members of these committees.

Research Advisory Committee

The Research Advisory Committee is established under section 31(1) of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Act 1989 (the Act).

The Research Advisory Committee consists of the following members:

  • Up to 10 experts appointed by the CEO
  • The AIATSIS CEO (Chairperson and ex officio)
  • The AIATSIS Executive Director of Research and Education (ex officio)

The Research Advisory Committee has the following functions:

  • To provide strategic advice to the CEO in relation to AIATSIS research matters

Current Research Advisory Committee members:

  • Mr Craig Ritchie (Chair, Chief Executive Officer) - Current
  • Dr Lisa Strelein (Executive Director, Research and Education) - Current
  • Professor Bronwyn Fredericks - Current
  • Professor Maggie Walter - Current
  • Coleen Hayward - Current
  • Professor Peter Anderson - Current

Research Ethics Committee

The role of the AIATSIS Research Ethics Committee (REC) is to ensure that research projects meet the appropriate ethical standards for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research. The REC reviews and advises on the ethical aspects of prospective projects that will involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research before they commence, and monitors projects as they progress.

All research projects conducted by AIATSIS, its staff and grantees, including external collaborative projects carried out by staff under the auspices of AIATSIS, are required to seek ethical review and approval from the REC. On request, the REC also provides advice on and ethical review of prospective projects involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research to be conducted by external researchers and organisations.

Members of the REC are appointed by the Chief Executive Officer of AIATSIS, in line with the membership categories for Human Research Ethics Committees established by the National Medical Research Council. REC members are appointed for three-year terms.

The REC must have a minimum of nine members, comprising at least:

  • a chairperson
  • a deputy chairperson
  • a lay man and lay woman
  • at least one member with knowledge of, and current experience in, the professional care, counselling or treatment of people
  • at least one member who performs a pastoral care role or a person performs a similar role in the community such as an Indigenous elder
  • at least one member who is a lawyer
  • at least two members with knowledge of, and current experience in, the areas of research that are regularly considered by the REC

The REC membership must include a majority of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people and, as far as practicable, should reflect an age and gender balance. AIATSIS staff members are ineligible for membership.

Current Research Ethics Committee members:

  • Kevin Williams (Chair)
  • A/Professor Andrew Crowden (Deputy Chair)
  • Robert Kelly
  • Helen McHugh
  • Mandy Downing
  • Dr Rowan Savage
  • Trent Shepherd
  • Tara Harriden
  • Kay Blades
  • Dr Tracey Powis
  • Dr Areti Metuamate
  • Teela Reid
  • Melanie Gentgall
  • Caroline Hughes
  • Dr Margaret Raven
  • Cheyne Halloran

Collections Advisory Committee


The Collections Advisory Committee (CAC) was established by Council to provide advice to the AIATSIS CEO and Director of Collections about matters in relation to collection development, management and access. The CAC will do the following:

  • consider proposals for major donations or deposits and provide advice on acceptance or otherwise;
  • provide advice on policy development, specifically on risk to the collections
  • provide advice on major project development;
  • make recommendations to the Principal about collection matters; and
  • contribute to planning or strategic‐thinking workshops run by Collections


Council will appoint two members to the Committee. The balance of the Committee will comprise four external members, independent of AIATSIS; the Principal of AIATSIS; Deputy Principal of AIATSIS; and the Director of Collections. The external committee members will have strong collections or client interest. CAC members will normally serve a two‐year term. Members may be reappointed for a further term of two years.

Current Collections Advisory Committee members:

  • Ms Nadine McDonald-Dowd
  • Ms Veronica Lunn
  • Mr Daniel Featherstone
  • Professor Peter Radoll
  • Professor Cindy Shannon AIATSIS Council member
  • Mr Geoffrey Winters AIATSIS Council member
  • Mr Russ Taylor AIATSIS CEO
  • Mr Craig Ritchie AIATSIS Deputy CEO
  • Ms Lyndall Osborne AIATSIS Executive Director Collections

Native Title Research Advisory Committee

The AIATSIS Native Title Research Advisory Committee (NTRAC) was established by AIATSIS to provide advice to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on the research program of the Native Title Research Unit (NTRU).

The committee comprises:

  • No fewer than 5 and no greater than 12 members;
    • Comprising majority Indigenous members and should seek to reflect a gender and age balance as well as a balance between institutional and non-institutional membership;
  • The AIATSIS CEO (also Committee chairperson) or their nominated delegate;
  • A representative of the primary funding body of the Native Title Research Unit, nominated by the Commonwealth Department responsible for Indigenous Affairs and approved by the CEO (normally the First Assistant Secretary with responsibility for native title organisations);
  • The AIATSIS Executive Director of Research and Education;
  • At least two native title experts, who are in current practice, connected with native title processes and reflect the disciplinary diversity involved in native title practice.

Current Native Title Research Advisory Committee members:

  • Mr Craig Ritchie (CEO, AIATSIS) (Committee Chairperson)
  • Wayne Beswick (Council Member, NIAA)
  • Dr Lisa Strelein (Executive Director of Research, AIATSIS)
  • Representative from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Dr Valerie Cooms (Member – NNTT)
  • Ms Melissa George (CEO NAILSMA)
  • Ms Natalie Rotumah (CEO, NTSCorp)
  • Mr Jason Behrendt (Chalk and Behrendt Lawyer)
  • Kaylene Malthouse (Chair – NQLC)
  • Debra Pigram (Director – Yawuru PBC) 

Publishing Advisory Committee

The Publishing Advisory Committee members offer a range of skills and academic credentials including Indigenous community and language knowledge, and writing and publishing expertise. Along with staff in the Aboriginal Studies Press team, the committee considers manuscripts submitted for publication. The Principal is advised by the committee’s recommendations.

Current Publishing Advisory Committee members:

  • Mr Michael Ramalli (DCEO, AIATSIS)
  • Dr Lisa Strelein (Executive Director, Research)
  • Ms Marie Ferris (Director, Aboriginal Studies Press)
  • Professor Heidi Norman
  • Dr Sandra Phillips
  • Dr Lawrence Bamblett
  • Dr Jessa Norman

Related information

Last reviewed: 30 Jul 2020