18 June 2021.

The Sax Institute’s Board Chair, Professor Ian Olver AM, is the recipient of this year’s NHMRC Biennial Ethics Award, which was announced earlier this week. This prestigious award recognises people and organisations who have made a significant contribution to supporting the highest ethical standards in Australia in health and medical research.

Professor Ian Olver AM

Professor Olver’s achievement in this area over the past decade has been substantial. As chair of NHMRC’s Australian Health Ethics Committee, and as a member of NHMRC Council from 2012 to 2018, Professor Olver has demonstrated real leadership in medical ethics and a willingness to engage sensitively on difficult issues, supporting a wider understanding of the ethical impact of emerging health and medical research innovations and technologies. 

“Research techniques are progressing so rapidly, it is vital that bioethics keeps pace and can accommodate innovation but deliver consistent advice,’’ Professor Olver said.

“It has been a privilege to accept the challenge of serving on and chairing The Australian Health Ethics Committee and to conduct research into end-of-life issues and consent, and a particular joy that this award is from my peers who have been part of several teams with whom I have worked.”

The NHMRC award citation notes Professor Olver’s “breadth of perspective, intellectual heft and subtlety of insight” that he brings to ethical deliberations.

“NHMRC ethical advice has been richer for his engagement,” it adds.

A world-renowned cancer researcher, bioethicist and medical oncologist, Professor Olver was Chief Executive Officer of Cancer Council Australia from 2006 to 2014 and is also a former Chair of the Medical Oncology Group of Australia. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2011.

Professor Olver is currently a Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide’s School of Psychology. He has been Chair of the Board of Directors of the Sax Institute since September 2019.