Privacy policy

Privacy policy

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research is committed to protecting the privacy of personal information we collect and hold about individuals.
This privacy policy explains how we manage the personal information we collect, use and disclose. The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute complies with the Privacy Act 1988, as well as other relevant Victorian laws regarding the management of personal information.

The Institute’s Privacy Policy may be amended from time to time. You can access the most up to date copy by visiting our website.

Personal information we collect

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute collects personal information by lawful and fair means and not in an unreasonably intrusive way. We collect personal information from you in various ways, such as when you communicate with us, if you apply for a job with us, or to study at our Institute, if you provide a product or service to us or when you participate in or attend any of our activities, events, programs or projects, or if you are a supporter or donor.

The types of personal information we may collect about you depends on how you engage with the Institute and includes: your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, date of birth, financial information and bank details (e.g., for contractors or suppliers), research interests, event attendance and details relating to recruitment of staff and students such as educational and academic history and employment history. We collect information from and about Institute donors and supporters including contact information, information about your donation history and payment information, research interests and any activities that you have indicated you may be interested in being involved with. We may also append public domain data to the information that we collect about you. We use contracted fundraisers to assist us. Where a supporter has provided their consent, we may exchange supporter contact details with like-minded organisations, to increase our vital supporter network. We may use tracking tokens for the purpose of collecting information to manage the risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and compliance with relevant regulatory obligations. The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s premises and car parks are also under video and camera surveillance and we may collect personal information and images for management, safety and security purposes.

Some information we collect may be sensitive information, for example, if you elect to participate in the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s research activities or studies. We will only collect sensitive information with your consent, or as otherwise permitted by law, only if reasonably necessary for The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s functions or activities and always subject to the requirements of legislation governing the collection, handling and use of this sensitive information.

We will only collect personal information reasonably necessary to conduct our functions or activities. Where lawful and practicable, you may be given the opportunity to deal with us without identifying yourself (i.e., anonymously) or through the use of a pseudonym. However, on some occasions, if you do not provide the personal information we request, we may not be able to work with you on an ongoing basis, issue tax deductible receipts or you may be unable to participate in or have access to our research programs, events and activities.

How we use your personal information

We will use your personal information for the purposes for which we collect it. Generally, we will use your personal information in connection with conducting our activities as a medical research organisation. We may use your personal information we collect for the following purposes:

  • Activities related to obtaining and administering funding for research.
  • To consider and assess applications for employment, volunteering, internship or study.
  • To assess potential participants for involvement in research activities and in connection with a participant’s involvement in that research.
  • To administer our relationship with third parties, such as our contractors and agents.
  • To plan, manage, review and audit our activities and processes.
  • To conduct our programs, research, education and fundraising activities. 
  • To perform any of our other functions and activities.

You may elect to opt out of receiving communications regarding our fundraising and other activities at any time by contacting us at the contact details below.

Participation in medical research at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

If you participate in research or studies that we conduct alone or with other organisations, we may also collect sensitive information (health information) about you (e.g., your medical history including any medications or treatments) and/or tissue samples for use in our research. This includes blood samples donated through the institute’s Volunteer Blood Donor Registry. The other types of sensitive information we collect includes information about your ethnicity or racial origin. We may also collect relevant information about non-participants such as your emergency contact details or family medical history.

This information is used to record your involvement in research activities undertaken by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, to process the results of research and to contact you regarding participation in future studies. All human research undertaken at the Institute is approved by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) approved Human Research Ethics Committee with the results of research activities presented in such a way that the identity of the research participant is protected.

Research participants will be provided further information detailing how their personal information will be handled by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

Who might we disclose your personal information to?

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute may disclose personal information to parties outside the Institute for the purpose for which the information was collected or for purposes related to the operation of our business and activities, or with your consent.

We may disclose your personal information to the parties listed below:

  • Other researchers or research organisations or institutions.
  • Government departments, agencies or bodies.
  • Organisations or people that fund research.
  • Our agents, contractors, professional advisors and service providers – for example, providers of administrative, telecommunications, IT or other services.

We only disclose your information to other parties on the condition they protect this information in accordance with the Walter and Eliza Hall privacy policy and/or in accordance with Australian privacy laws.
If you make a donation, we may publish your name in our annual report or other Walter and Eliza Hall Institute publications, in accordance with your preferences as notified to us. While we seek to publicly recognise the generous contributions of our donors and supporters, individuals wishing to remain anonymous in our publications or at public forums should advise the Institute of this in writing.
We may also disclose personal information in other circumstances permitted under the Privacy Act 1988.

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute may transfer your personal information to a party who is in another State or Territory of Australia. Also, occasionally, we may disclose personal information to an overseas person or organisation – for example, in relation to an application for funding, in connection with a research collaboration, to overseas service providers, or if data is stored or backed up on servers located overseas. If we transfer personal information to an overseas person or organisation, we will comply with the requirements of the Privacy Act 1988 that relate to overseas disclosures of personal information.


Once received, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute takes all reasonable steps to protect the personal information it holds from misuse, interference and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. We maintain physical security over our paper and electronic data stores and premises, such as security access systems, and computer and network security to control and limit access to our computer system, including through the use of internet firewalls, secure servers, user identifiers and passwords.

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute will destroy or permanently de-identify personal information if we no longer need it for any purpose.

Issues concerning the use of our website

To improve your experience on our site and help us to monitor and improve our website and services for future visitors, we may use 'cookies'. Cookies are an industry standard and most major web sites use them. A cookie is a small text file that our site may place on your computer as a tool to remember your preferences. Our website uses Google Analytics, a service which transmits website traffic data to Google servers in the United States. Google Analytics does not identify individual users or associate your IP address with any other data held by Google. We use reports provided by Google Analytics to help us understand website traffic and webpage usage.

If you do not want information collected through the use of cookies, there is a simple procedure in most browsers that allows you to deny or accept the cookie feature. Otherwise, we collect information through our website only if you voluntarily provide it. We will record your email address if you transmit it to us electronically either in an email message or via a web page form.

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute cannot ensure the security of any information transmitted over the internet and individuals do so at their own risk. However, once we receive a transmission, we take all reasonable steps to ensure that personal information is secure on our systems.

Our website may contain links to other websites. This privacy policy has no application to these other websites. The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of any other website and has no knowledge of whether cookies or other tracking devices are used on those sites.

Access to your information

You have the right to access the personal information we hold about you and also to request that we correct it. We aim to ensure that all personal information that we hold is accurate, complete and up-to-date. If you wish to request access to, or correction of, your personal information (including to update your details) please contact us at the contact details below.

In some limited circumstances where this is in accordance with privacy laws, we may decline to provide an individual access to some or all of their personal information or may not agree to correct their personal information. In these cases, we will provide reasons for our decision.


If you have a query or concern about the manner in which the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute has handled your personal information, please contact us at the contact details below. We will respond to your query or concern as soon as possible and will try to resolve any complaint promptly. If this is not possible, we will contact you to let you know how long we estimate it will take to resolve your concern.

Contacting us

If you have any questions about our privacy policy, would like to request access to your personal information or to correct it or wish to make a complaint regarding a breach of your privacy, please contact:

Privacy Officer

The Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
1G Royal Parade
Parkville  VIC  3052

Phone: +61 3 9345 2555

This policy was last updated on 15 September 2020.