AHRECS is very proud to acknowledge the achievements of one of our senior consultants, Prof. Colin Thomson. Colin was recognised in this week’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Colin is held in the highest regard by colleagues across the research ethics sector in Australia for his key contributions to the development of sensible and responsive regulation and workable research ethics guidance in this country. His best-known roles have been as chair of the Australian Health Ethics Committee and as a key drafter of the 2007 National Statement on Ethics Conduct in Human Research. As a result, he has been asked to chair a wide range of university, health, Federal and State government and research agency research ethics committees. In some cases, he played a critical role as the first chair of the committee creating ways for working that modelled best practice for the research sector. In some instances, he has been invited to share his expertise internationally.
As a result, relationships between researchers, reviewers and regulators in Australia are far healthier than in most other parts of the world. Unusually in a sector where people sometimes gauge their own worth against the research achievements of others and also where we have traced the emergence of an adversarial culture, there is deep personal affection for Colin among many researchers, reviewers and regulators. He has continued to mentor new generations of researchers, reviewers and ethics managers.
Colin models a commitment to public service and acts with a generosity of spirit that encourages others to engage with ethics. He never seeks to push other people out of the way but also never shrinks from playing a leadership role when that has been necessary. He looks to learn something from every role that he takes and is happy to share this with colleagues of every level and, indeed, reflect on the limitations of his understanding.
AHRECS cannot think of a better colleague.