Temporary Work (Skilled) visa subclass 457 scrapped

This week, the Prime Minister announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

The TSS visa program will be comprised of a Short-Term stream of up to two years and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years and will support businesses ‘in addressing genuine skill shortages in their workforce and will contain a number of safeguards which prioritise Australian workers.’

There is a steady exchange of researchers and related occupations between Australia and overseas countries. While 457 visas are not the only visa class used to being researchers to Australia, it has been an important part of the exchange of ideas, skills and knowledge. Some of the occupations that have been removed from the 457 visa class are:

  • Biochemist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Life Scientist (General)
  • Life Scientist (Not elsewhere classified)
  • Nurse researcher
  • Research and Development Manager

Are you affected in recruiting scientific workers from overseas? Or will this impact existing collaborations with overseas researchers? Alternatively, do you think this will encourage new on-shore opportunities for Australian early and mid-career scientists?

Research Australia is keen to hear from you about what effect this could have on you and your organisation. Please contact Head of Policy, Greg Mullins via email greg.mullins@researchaustralia.org or phone (03) 9662 9420.

More information is available here.

Research & Development Tax Incentive

Joint statement on the Research & Development Tax Incentive

Don’t rip the guts out of Australian medical research commercialisation

Commercialisation of Australian medical research is under serious threat if the package of measures put by the ‘Ferris, Finkel, Fraser’ Review of the Research & Development (R&D) Tax Incentive is adopted and Australia’s medical technology, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical (MTP) sector is urging the Federal Government not to devastate Australia’s most innovative industry.

The R&D Tax Incentive is the most critical centre-piece program in the translation of Australia’s world-class research into treatments, cures, diagnostics, medical devices and vaccines. The program has been successful in helping attract more investment in R&D and fostering a strong Australian life sciences clinical trials and R&D sector.

The changes proposed, especially the $2 million cap and the ‘intensity threshold’, will have significant, disproportionate and negative impact on the MTP sector. Only around 5.5% of research expenditure registered for the R&D Tax Incentive relates to MTP1, however comments from the Report’s authors that the impact of the $2 million cap will be “slight” or that other policy measures, like the Biomedical Translation Fund, will balance out damage, fail to understand the impact likely in the sector, its broader ecosystem, or the nature of clinical trials. Relative to other sectors, the commercialisation of MTP has longer time frames, due to significant scientific and regulatory hurdles to reach patients and there is higher expenditure on R&D, particularly in later stage clinical trials.

We understand the need for the Government to ensure that the tax incentive is sustainable during challenging budgetary conditions; however, the scheme must be viewed as a tool to encourage long-term investment in Australia that creates highly-attractive jobs, attracts clinical research and grows the local economy.

Ensuring that any redesign of the tax incentive does not act as a handbrake on this investment is imperative, so that Australia can continue to thrive as a home for some of the world’s most talented scientists and medical researchers, improve its position as a centre for high-quality R&D in medical science and receive the related spill-over benefits.

Joint statement_RD Tax Incentive_FINAL_18 April 2017

INSPIRE Magazine

Issue 4 Out Now!

We are delighted to share with you the first edition of INSPIRE for 2017.

This issue of INSPIRE reminds us of the importance of collaboration and the role of the community in our complex world of HMR. The value of data and digital health is also recognised in this issue as a powerful topic and one that Research Australia will be focusing on throughout 2017. Continue reading “INSPIRE Magazine”

Themes and Priorities for the CRC Programme

CRCs have played a key role in the translation of Australian health and medical research. Research Australia’s response to the Government’s consultation on Themes and Priorities for the CRC Programme took the opportunity to advocate for the reinstatement of Public Good CRCs, which are specifically excluded by the most recent Guidelines for the CRC Programme.

Research Australia’s Submission – CRC Themes Consultation

INSPIRE Magazine

Summer 2016 Issue Out Now!

We are delighted to share with you the Summer Issue of Research Australia’s quarterly publication – INSPIRE.

It is has been such a busy year in the health and medical research industry and what a better way to celebrate the contribution our Members have had than through Research Australia’s annual Awards; GSK Award for Research Excellence; Bupa Health Foundation Emerging Health Researcher Award and Sax Institute’s annual Research Action Awards. Enjoy reading about the recipients of these awards and lives they are changing. Continue reading “INSPIRE Magazine”

2015 Peter Wills Medal: Prof Sharon Lewin

Research Australia
Health & Medical Research Awards

2015 Peter Wills Medal

The Peter Wills Medal was created in 2011 to mark research Australia’s 10th anniversary. It recognises an Australian who has made an outstanding contribution to building Australia’s international reputation in the area of health & medical research, and for harnessing government, research, industry and philanthropic collaborations to promote better health

Award Winner

Professor Sharon Lewin
Inaugural Director
Peter Doherty Institute For Infection & Immunity

Sharon Lewin is the inaugural director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, a joint venture between the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital; Professor of Medicine, The University of Melbourne; consultant infectious diseases physician, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; and an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Practitioner Fellow. She is an infectious diseases physician and basic scientist.

Sharon completed her medical training (MB., BS (Hons) 1986) and her PhD (1996) in Microbiology at Monash University, Melbourne Australia. She was trained in clinical infectious diseases in Melbourne (FRACP 1996) and did her post-doctoral fellowship with Professor David Ho at the Aaron Diamond Research Centre at the Rockefeller University, New York (1997-1999). David Ho was named Time Man of the Year in 1996 for his major contribution to discovering successful antiviral therapy for HIV. She was Director, Department of Infectious Diseases, Alfred Hospital and Monash University (2003-2014) and co-head of the Centre for Biomedical Research at the Burnet Institute (2011-2014), Melbourne, Australia.

She leads a large multi-disciplinary research team that focuses on understanding why HIV persists on treatment and developing clinical trials aimed at ultimately finding a cure for HIV infection. Her other research and clinical interests include understanding how the immune system recovers following treatment of HIV and the interaction between HIV and other important co-infections including hepatitis B virus. She is widely recognized for her innovative work in understanding how HIV hides on treatment using novel laboratory models and leading several early phase clinical trials of cancer drugs that alter HIV genes. Her clinical trial program is part of a close collaboration with the Department of Infectious Diseases, Alfred Hospital and Monash University.

She has published over 200 publications and her laboratory receives funding from the NHMRC, the National Institutes for Health (NIH), the Wellcome Trust and the American Foundation for AIDS Research. She has extensive collaborations in Asia including Thailand, Malaysia, China and India as well as collaborations with investigators throughout the US and Europe. She is a co-principal investigator for the Delaney AIDS Research Enterprise to find a Cure – a $25million NIH funded program grant of over 30 investigators working on immunological interventions to develop a cure for HIV.

She was the local co-chair of the XXth International AIDS Conference (AIDS2014) which was held in Melbourne July 2015, which attracted over 14,000 participants and was the largest health conference ever held in Australia. In 2015, she became a member of the council of the NHMRC and chairs the newly established NHMRC Health Translation Advisory Committee.

In 2014 she was named Melburnian of the Year. This is an award made each year by the City of Melbourne to an inspirational role model who has made an outstanding contribution to the city in their chosen field. This was the first time the award was made to a physician or scientist.

Sharon is married to Bob Milstein, a health lawyer. They have two adult sons, Alex and Max who are mad Essendon supporters. She is a passionate Melburnian!

Prof Lewin & Peter Wills
Prof Lewin & Peter Wills

2015 Health Services Research Award: Prof Jeffrey Braithwaite

Research Australia
Health & Medical Research Awards

2015 Victorian Government Health
Services Research Award

This Award is for an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the field, provided research leadership, undertaken research that has led to a significant improvement in healthcare, and/or has championed the development of the health services research field

Award Winner

Prof Jeffrey Braithwaite
Foundation Director, Australian Institute
Of Health Innovation, Macquarie University

Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite, BA, MIR (Hons), MBA, DipLR, PhD, FAIM, FCHSM, FFPH RCP (UK) is Foundation Director, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Director, Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science, and Professor of Health Systems Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Macquarie University, Australia. His research examines the changing nature of health systems, particularly patient safety, standards and accreditation, leadership and management, the structure and culture of organisations and their network characteristics, attracting funding of more than AUD$59 million.

Professor Braithwaite has published extensively (over 600 total publications) and he has presented at international and national conferences on more than 780 occasions, including over 75 keynote addresses. His research appears in journals such as British Medical Journal, The Lancet, Social Science & Medicine, BMJ Quality and Safety, International Journal of Quality in Health Care, Journal of Managerial Psychology, Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, and many other prestigious journals. Professor Braithwaite has received numerous national and international awards for his teaching and research. Further details are available at his Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Braithwaite.

He has conducted large-scale research over two decades on clinical and organizational performance, health systems improvement and patient safety. Professor Braithwaite was author of a major study into health care inquiries, Patient safety: a comparative analysis of eight inquiries in six countries, UNSW, 2006 and another on the appropriateness of care in Australia (BMJ Open, 2012 and Medical Journal of Australia, 2012).

Professor Braithwaite recently co-edited a book with Professors Erik Hollnagel in Denmark and Bob Wears in the United States (Resilient Health Care, Ashgate, 2013), which proposes new models for tackling patient safety in acute settings and a second book in the series, The Resilience of Everyday Clinical Work, was published in 2015. His book on health reform in 30 countries with Professors Julie Johnson in Australia, Yukihiro Matsuyama in Japan and Russell Mannion in the UK was also published in 2015. A new book discussing sociological perspectives on patient safety with Professors Davina Allen at Cardiff University, Jane Sandall at King’s College, London and Justin Waring at Nottingham University.

Noteworthy projects in recent times include the CareTrack study, which found that 57% of care delivered to Australians is in line with level 1 evidence or consensus based guidelines. This was described by the editor of the Medical Journal of Australia when it was published in 2012 as the most important publication in that journal for the last 10 years. This study has been very influential amongst policy makers, managers, clinicians and patient groups in Australia and internationally. Another key project is the work he did with 30 countries, culminating in a book published in 2015. He included low, middle income and rich countries, looking at their reform activities and their quality and safety

initiatives. This work shows that reform is not an episodic activity. Every health system is continuously reforming and attempting to improve the care that is delivered. This work suggests that insufficient resources are allocated to evaluating reform measures and improvement activities.
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2015 Great Australian Philanthropy Award: Mr John Gandel & Mrs Pauline Gandel

Research Australia
Health & Medical Research Awards

2015 AskRIGHT Great Australian Philanthropy Award

The Great Australian Philanthropy Award recognises personal philanthropic contributions over a period of time by an individual or family to health and medical research

Award Winners

Mr John Gandel, AO &
Mrs Pauline Gandel
Gandel Philanthropy

Gandel Philanthropy is one of Australia’s largest independent family philanthropic funds. Gandel Philanthropy has been the vehicle for charitable giving by the extended Gandel family since its formation as the Gandel Charitable Trust back in 1978.

John Gandel AO and Pauline Gandel are actively involved in the philanthropic work and they are universally recognised for their generosity and commitment to both Jewish and general Australian causes. Through Gandel Philanthropy, over the years they channeled tens of millions of dollars towards supporting various charitable causes in the community.

While they provide support for a range of programs and fields, including arts, education, Jewish identity and leadership, youth at risk and Indigenous programs, their support for health and medical research has always been one of the strongest interests.

The statistics on granting done by Gandel Philanthropy over the past three years showed that Health and Medical Research category was, in fact, by far the biggest recipient of funds, registering 38% in funding in 2012/13, 49% in 2013/14 and 32% in 2014/15 of all funds distributed. In each of the above years the amount provided in this category exceeded $2 million.

While direct financial support for research and other medical programs has always been important, both John and Pauline have over the years also been passionate advocates for the sector, taking a hands-on approach to a range of initiatives.

One such activity was the Alfred Hospital Appeal, which John Gandel chaired from 1987 to 1991, raising nearly $6 million to establish the William Buckland Radiotherapy centre. John also served on the hospital Board of Management for several years. Subsequently in 2002, on the 10th anniversary of the centre and the opening of the new $93 million research centre, John was appointed Life Governor of the Alfred Hospital.

John also served on the Board of the Australian Drug Foundation for a number of years and was appointed the Life Governor for the organisation.

Pauline, on the other hand, has been the Patron of Emmy Monash Aged Care for many years and more recently she supported The Women’s Hospital with the establishment of the Pauline Gandel Women’s Imaging Centre which at the time helped revolutionise care for women and newborn babies.

Most recent support for medical research projects includes some innovative and cross-sectoral partnerships aimed at tackling complex medical conditions or challenges.

A recent example of this is the grant awarded to Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), for the research project titled “A Multifaceted Intervention Using iPad Technology to Prevent Falls, Reduce Fear of Falling and Increase Physical Activity in Older People: a Double-blind, Randomised Controlled Trial”.

This was a “challenge grant” for the trial stage, allowing NeuRA to raise the remainder of the funds from other donors, as well as help build a case for support from government.

Another innovative example is the funding for the proof-of-concept study, initiated by Vision Australia and in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Victoria and Deakin University. The study is looking at the viability of using guide dogs to support people with Young Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

Together John and Pauline have supported a whole range of research projects and initiatives that span different medical fields and conditions, including but not limited to diabetes, ageing-related research, mental health, Crohn’s and Colitis, cancer-related research and allergies.
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2015 Lifetime Achievement Award: Professor Perry Bartlett

Research Australia
Health & Medical Research Awards

2015 Cook Medical Lifetime Achievement Award

The Research Australia Cook Medical Lifetime Achievement Award honours a significant lifetime commitment to supporting and promoting health and medical research

Award Winner

Professor Perry Bartlett, FAA
Professor Of Molecular Neuroscience
Queensland Brain Institute

Professor Perry Bartlett is the founding director of the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at The University of Queensland and is an internationally-renowned neuroscientist doing ground-breaking research into the fundamental mechanisms that underpin brain function.

During his 30-year career, his research and discoveries have overturned existing dogma and led to new understanding, particularly in the areas of neuronal precursor regulation and neuron survival in the developing and adult nervous system. Most prominent among these has been his pioneering role in the discovery and characterisation of neuron-producing stem cells in the adult brain, which has resulted in an entirely new view of the adult brain’s restorative capacity and, more importantly, to the realisation that cognitive functions such as learning and memory appear to be regulated, at least in part, by the production of new neurons. This is leading to the development of new therapeutic strategies to stimulate functional recovery following stroke, ageing dementia and depression. This is of vital importance as the Australian community confronts the growing social and economic cost of neurological and mental health conditions, which account for almost 50 per cent of this nation’s burden of disease.

Professor Bartlett has published more than 240 papers, many of which have appeared in the world’s most influential journals and have attracted more than 13,000 citations and an h-index of 60. One of the most remarkable aspects of Professor Bartlett’s career has been his ability to correctly identify new mechanisms and concepts even though they appear to contradict the prevailing view. This speaks to an intellectual prescience and experimental ingenuity possessed by only a few scientists.

One of the cornerstones of Professor Bartlett’s career is the building of QBI in 2003. Since then he has grown the Institute from a fledgling operation with several of the world’s best neuroscientists to an international research hub with 500 staff dedicated to to finding out more about debilitating diseases of the brain. Beyond that, his achievements in neuroscience research and neuroscience leadership have been recognised with several prestigious awards.

This year he received the CSL Florey Medal and Prize, for significant achievements in biomedical science and the advancement of human health, which has been awarded just seven times since its inception in 1988. Previous winners include Professor Barry Marshall, Professor Jacques Miller and Professor Ian Frazer. He was also recently awarded the Australian Neuroscience Society’s Distinguished Achievement Award for an outstanding contribution to neuroscience in Australian and New Zealand, which has just six prior recipients since its inception in 1993.
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2015 Advocacy Award Winners: Connie and Sam Johnson

Research Australia
Health & Medical Research Awards

2015 Advocacy Award

The Advocacy Award recognises a prominent Australian who has raised community awareness about the benefits of Health & Medical Research, and the need for increased funding.

Award Winners

Connie Johnson & Samuel Johnson
Co-Founders, Love Your Sister

Connie is vibrant, loving, compassionate, tough and inspiring. She’s a mother of two beautiful boys. She’s 35 years old. And she’s dying of Breast Cancer.
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This is her third battle with cancer. At the age 11 Connie, with the help of early detection and chemotherapy, fought off a very rare and aggressive bone tumour in her leg. At 22, she overcame a tumour in her womb, again with the help of early detection and treatment.
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This time Connie has Breast Cancer. It has spread to her lungs, liver, pelvis, spine and knee. This time it’s terminal and she has a life expectancy of 6 – 12 months.
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Nothing can prepare you for to say goodbye to your kids at such a young age. That’s why Connie is hard at work to raise Breast Cancer awareness. Early detection is the key to survival and Connie wants everyone to know it.
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Samuel is one of Australia’s most recognisable personalities in the Australian entertainment industry.
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He’s best known for his roles on The Secret Life of Us, Crackerjack, Underbelly II and Network Ten’s Rush. He’s made a number of TV guest appearances… and he’s the voice of Vodafone, Suzuki and Pedigree.
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Plenty of career accolades have come his way. He’s enjoyed multiple Logie nominations, an AFI Award and an Australian Centenary Medal in the 2000 Queens Honours list. He’s very  proud of all of this, but none of it is as important to him as his sister.
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