In May the Department of Health announced a national consultation focused on optimising the government’s funding arrangements for health and medical research by improving strategic alignment and coordination between the MRFF and the NHMRC’s Medical Research Endowment Account. Research Australia welcomes this initiative and the commitment that this reform will be undertaken within the broader context of a new National Health and Medical Research Strategy, a long-term campaign by Research Australia (and others).
Following consultation with our membership, Research Australia has made a submission in response to the Discussion paper.
Unified governance of the MRFF and the MREA presents a real opportunity to ensure the MRFF Priorities are developed with greater regard for what the MREA is funding, thereby ensuring better differentiation and complimentarily of the two funds. There is also an opportunity to address equity and health disparities through more coordinated and streamlined funding.
Research Australia has largely supported the proposed Model 2 as a way of improving coordination while recognising the distinct objectives and purposes of the two funds. Establishing one administrative funding body provides the opportunity for successful research projects to graduate more seamlessly from one funding program to the next including from an NHMRC program to an MRFF program. T
This new model must be delivered in such a way that preserves the MRFF’s funding for medical innovation, and that input from outside academia and medical research institutes is retained. Stakeholders from commercialisation, finance, and industry have a meaningful advisory role in both the priority setting and funding processes of the MRFF. Basic research can be funded by the NHMRC in a way that will ultimately support MRFF Priority areas if the two funds are better aligned.
Finally, a Workforce Plan must form part of the broader national HMR Strategy. This Workforce Plan should seek to address the challenges faced by early and mid-career health and medical researchers and identify careers/jobs critical to a future economy underpinned by a thriving innovation and modern manufacturing sector.
Consultation on changes to align the MRFF and MREA are ongoing and Research Australia is continuing to liaise with the Government on the sector’s behalf on these important reforms. If you would like to get involved please contact Research Australia’s General Manager Lucy Clynes at lucy.clynes@researchaustrlaia.,org or Head of Policy Greg Mullins at email@example.com
Research Australia’s submission is available here.
Research Australia’s submission in response to the NHMRC’s Peer Review Consultation has urged the NHMRC to consult further on options for a two stage application process for the Ideas Grants.
There is considerable interest within our membership and across the health and medical research sector in a two-stage application process, and while there is not yet agreement on the approach, there is an appetite for change. Research Australia believes that a two-stage application process for Ideas Grants, incorporating an abbreviated application at the first stage, provides the chance to reduce the burden on applicants and reviewers alike, while better supporting the objectives of Ideas Grants to promote innovative and novel research.
In particular, the process could provide the focus on novel and innovative ideas and reduced emphasis on track record that the NHMRC is seeking. Research Australia’s submission explores the opportunity to adopt a two-stage application process for Ideas Grants and puts forward some considerations for further investigation and consultation.
Research Australia’s submission
The eagerly awaited changes to the NHMRC’s grant program have been announced this morning. As Research Australia and many others in our sector have advocated for, they are a combination of elements from the models proposed in the consultation paper issued in the middle of last year. Importantly, these changes reflect much of the advice provided to the review panel from the sector.
Research Australia welcomes the reforms announced and notes that there is never ‘a perfect solution’ but that these changes are a positive step in the right direction and address key issues flagged by the sector. Research Australia also commends the efforts of the NHMRC CEO Anne Kelso AO and the Expert Advisory Group chaired by Professor Steve Wesselingh.
The stated aims of the changes are to:
- Encourage research that is more creative and innovative
- Provide opportunities for Australia’s best health and medical researchers at all career stages, and
- Minimise the burden on researchers in preparing and reviewing grant applications, allowing them to spend more time on research.
Continue reading “Changes to NHMRC’s Grant Program”
Media Release: Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Link to the MRFF Strategy & Priorities.
With almost two in three Australian adults and one in four children overweight or obese, two-thirds of Australians over the age of 50 with poor bone density, and one in six Australians with chronic back pain, tonight’s release of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Strategy sets out the roadmap for addressing some of our biggest health issues.
That is the verdict from the medical research community and Research Australia, the organisation behind the virtual doubling of health (NHMRC) funding in 2000, and again in 2005.
“As the organisation that has been championing health and medical research for the last 15 years, we can tell you the MRFF is a real game changer,” said Research Australia Chair, Dr Christine Bennett.
CEO of Research Australia, Nadia Levin said the MRFF Strategy’s vision of a health system informed by quality research is exactly what’s needed.
“Research Australia shares the Strategy’s vision of a health system fully informed by quality health and medical research,” said Levin.
Continue reading “Federal Medical Research Plan: The Health & Economic Roadmap We Need”
The NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso has appointed an Expert Advisory Group to provide advice and assistance to the NHMRC in undertaking a Review of Funding Programs. A Consultation Paper was issued in July and was followed by a series of public forums in August.
Research Australia has made a submission in response to the Consultation Paper supporting the proposal for two streams of grants, one which emphasises the researchers’ track record and the other on the research proposal. The submission proposes that the limit on the number of Chief Investigators be removed and does not support a fixed duration of 5 years for grants. Research Australia supports the proposal for early career people grants with a research component, and recommends that a Fellowship Program independent of Team or Investigator grants be retained, particularly for researchers who participate in and support multiple research projects and would be adversely affected by the proposed caps on the number of grants a person can apply for or hold.
Media Release: Monday 6 June, 2016
A new report from the health and medical sector says the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) needs to prioritise closing gaps between health research, health practice and the health economy.
Translating Research for a sustainable future comprehensively brings together the positions of 160 of Australia’s leading health and medical research organisations, companies and personnel.
The review, contributed to by prominent researchers, universities, and businesses in the field, outlines the sector’s view on priorities for the MRFF over the next two and five years.
Continue reading “New expert report to guide Medical Research Future Fund”
Media Release: Wednesday 4 May 2016
Research Australia, which represents 160 health and medical research organisations, has described last night’s budget as mixed bag – with some wins, some losses and some more detail required.
“The Federal Government is making all of the right noises when it comes to innovation, health and research, and it is pleasing that they remain on the agenda,” said CEO Nadia Levin.
“The budget would be described by my members as a combination of ‘treatments, placebos and nocebos’, and the challenge for government is to back it up with funding.”
Continue reading “Federal Budget a Combination of Treatments, Placebos and Nocebos for Health and Medical Research”
The following are some of the key announcements in the 2016-17 Budget which affect health and medical research. Information has been drawn from the budget papers, including portfolio and agency statements. The Budget papers are available here.
Medical Research Future Fund
The Budget has confirmed the Government’s continued commitment to the MRFF. However, it is now expected to meet the $20 billion target in 2020-21, a year later than first projected in the Budget in 2014 (Note 1). 2019-20 was confirmed as the target date for full capitalisation of the MRFF as recently as December last year, in the NISA Fact Sheet on the Biomedical Translation Fund (Note 2).
Continue reading “The 2016-17 Budget: Health and Medical Research”
In December 2014 the National Health and Medical Research Council undertook a targeted consultation on a draft of the ‘Principles for Publicly-Funded Data for Health Research’ (the Principles).
Research Australia is of the view that the Principles could do more to support the linking of data from different datasets and the submission addressed this matter. It also provided some comments on the specific wording of the Principles and proposes an addition to the Glossary.
Principles for Publicly-Funded Data for Health Research
The NHMRC issued a revised Statement on Consumer and Community Involvement in Health and Medical Research in August 2014 and sought feedback in response to five specific questions. Research Australia’s submission proposes that the intended audience and purpose of the Statement be clarified. It also provides specific comments on the text of the Statement.
Consumer & Community Participating in Health and Medical Research