AAMRI e-news June 2019

AAMRI e-news June 2019

12th June, 2019


June 2019

In this issue

  1. AAMRI news – New President Elect
  2. Government update – Consultations underway
  3. Sector news –  Academy of Science announces new fellows
  4. NHMRC update – Postgraduate scholarships
  5. MRFF update – Genomics Health Future Mission
  6. Other funding & award opportunities – Women & Leadership Australia scholarships funding closing soon
  7. Reports & resources – NHMRC’s Research Quality Strategy
  8. Events, conferences & training opportunities – Women and Heart Disease Forum in Sydney

Do you have something that you would like featured in a future newsletter? Send it through to communications@aamri.org.au

1. AAMRI news

New President Elect: Professor Jonathan Carapetis to take AAMRI into next chapter

We are delighted to announce AAMRI’s next President Elect, a leading paediatrician and infectious diseases specialist, Professor Jonathan Carapetis. Professor Carapetis is the Director of the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, and AAMRI’s first President based in Western Australia.

Professor Carapetis will be taking over the reins on 1 August 2019 from Professor Vlado Perkovic, who has been appointed Dean of Medicine at the UNSW Sydney. Professor Perkovic, a passionate advocate for evidence led health and wellbeing, has been instrumental in AAMRI’s campaign to ensure the MRFF is fully funded by 2020-21. Read the media release on our website.

AAMRI congratulates new Minister for Health & Shadow Minister for Health

In May we welcomed the reappointment of The Hon Greg Hunt MP as Minister for Health as part of the re-elected Coalition Government. Mr Hunt has been a strong supporter of the health and medical research sector in the past, and we look forward to working with him in the coming years. We also welcomed appointment of Chris Bowern as Shadow Health Minister.

Victoria’s Medical Research Institutes Welcome State Budget

The Victorian Government has made a $116.5 million funding injection into medical research as part of 2019-20 State Budget. The Victorian Chapter of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (VicAAMRI) welcomed the Government’s investment into six of its member institutes – the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, the Bionics Institute, the Centre for Eye Research Australia and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Read the media release on our website.

2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours Recipients

Congratulations to all the recipients of Queen’s Birthday Honours. Many of our member directors, scientists and supports were awarded honours, including Professor Alan Cowman AC (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research), Professor Ruth Bishop AC (Murdoch Children’s Medical Research Institute) and Professor Mark von Itzstein AO (Institute for Glycomics).

AAMRI feedback on NHMRC draft guides for managing collaborations

AAMRI provided feedback to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) on a draft guide for managing collaborations. The guide is intended to support the 2018 Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

AAMRI feedback on draft SAGE Athena SWAN Silver Departmental Award Handbook

Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) has been developing the Silver Departmental Award for the Athena Swan pilot program and released the draft handbook for comment in early 2019. AAMRI has put forward a submission recommending changes to make the process more inclusive of the activities and workforces of medical research institutes.

Member news

2019 AAMRI Convention – save the date

The 2019 AAMRI Convention will take place on 27 and 28 November 2019 at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra. Please save the date for your diary and we look forward to seeing you there.

AAMRI Member Networks

AAMRI operates a variety of member networks in key business areas that discuss issues, share ideas and network at an annual event.

How to join

AAMRI’s staff networks connect professional staff at AAMRI member institutes with their counterparts to discuss common challenges and issues facing the medical research sector. There are currently five active AAMRI staff networks – HR, IT, Research Governance, Research Strategy and Research Administration Officers (RAO). Networks for philanthropy and legal counsel are under development. For information on AAMRI Networks, upcoming network events and how to join, visit the AAMRI website.

2.  Government update 


Draft National Clinical Quality Registry Strategy

A draft strategy has now been released for comment and AAMRI will be developing a response on behalf of members. Please contact AAMRI’s Director of Policy and Operations, Dr Peter Thomas, if you have an interest in this area and can provide input into AAMRI’s submission. Submissions are due on 20 June 2019.

Expenditure on Children in the Northern Territory

The Australian Government has asked the Productivity Commission to conduct a study into government expenditure in the Northern Territory on children and family services aimed at preventing harm to children. The Commission will examine ways to improve these funding arrangements and the services they deliver. Initial submissions are due by Wednesday 10 July, 2019.

Indigenous Evaluation Strategy

The Australian Government has asked the Productivity Commission to develop a whole-of-government evaluation strategy for policies and programs affecting Indigenous Australians, to be used by all Australian Government agencies. The Commission will also review the performance of agencies against the strategy over time. Initial submissions are due in August 2019.

Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety – second background paper released

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety released its second Background Paper on 02 May as part of the Royal Commission’s work. The Royal Commision invites interested members of the public and institutions to make submissions to the Royal Commission. They will continue to accept submissions until at least the end of September 2019.

3.  Sector news

Australian Academy of Science announces new fellows 

On 27 May 2019, the Australian Academy of Science announced the election of 22 new Fellows for their outstanding contributions to science and scientific research. You can view the full list of the Academy’s website, congratulations to all the newly elected Fellows. Eight of the new fellows are women, this is in line with the last five years, during which 36 per cent of new fellows were women and well-up on the overall 15 per cent women among the total of 543 fellows.

Clinical Trial of the Year Award

Congratulations to ACTA Trial of the Year Winner – the ASPREE study. The ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) study was an international, multicentre clinical trial to determine whether daily low-dose aspirin prolonged good health by preventing or delaying age-related illness such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression and certain cancers in the healthy elderly. You can read a full list of award winners and finalists on the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance website.

Fairfax Media release new guidelines for reporting medical research

The Fairfax news publications (The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane Times and WA Today) have released new reporting guidelines that will focus on medical research that is peer-reviewed and published in reputable journals. It includes requiring full copies of research before they report on it (not just press releases or summaries), clarifying when research is not peer reviewed, when results are only in animal models, and avoiding the use of words ‘‘safe’’, ‘‘guaranteed’’ or ‘‘miraculous’’. Read more on their website.

Funding announcements:

See our MRFF section below for details on recent MRFF funding announcements.

  • Coalition awards $5 million for eating disorder research – the projects funded under this initiative include a specific focus on using digital solutions to prevent the onset of eating disorders, and on transforming our health system to enable earlier intervention, so that individuals have the best chance of recovery.
  • The ACT Government will invest $600,000 in heart attack prevention programs, as well as in-kind support to deliver a three-year trial driven by the Australian National University.

New appointments

  • MTPConnect – Dr Dan Grant has been appointed as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, with Stuart Dignam taking on the role of Chief Operating Officer.

4.  NHMRC update

NHMRC – Partnership Projects

This funding scheme provides funding and support to create new opportunities for researchers and policy makers to work together to define research questions, undertake research, interpret the findings and implement the findings into policy and practice. It has a continuous application process. More details of the NHMRC website.

Postgraduate Scholarships for funding commencing in 2020

The NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarships scheme funds successful applicants to attain a research based postgraduate degree (PhD or Research Masters Degree). The objective of the Postgraduate Scholarship scheme is to support outstanding graduates early in their careers so they can be trained to conduct health and medical research that is internationally competitive. Closes 12 June 2019.

NHMRC-NIHR Collaborative Research Grant Scheme 2019

This grant scheme provides funding for participation and collaboration in leading international collaborative research. Priorities for the next funding round have been released and applications are due by 26 July 2019.

NHMRC’s Research Quality Strategy released

This Strategy outlines the key areas NHMRC will focus on to provide guidance and support for good research practices throughout the research cycle.

5.  MRFF update

Register on GrantConnect to receive MRFF funding alerts

All MRFF funding opportunities are advertised through GrantConnect. Make sure you register so you receive the latest funding updates.

MRFF funding opportunities

There’s been a steady stream of MRFF funding announcements over the last few months. We’ve made a handy table to help you keep track of what funding schemes are open and where to go for further information.

Medical Research Future Fund – First round of Frontiers projects announced

The first 10 research projects to be funded under the MRFF Frontiers initiative have been announced. Each of the projects will receive $1 million over one year to develop the project further. After this they will then be eligible to apply for stage two funding where up to $50 million will be available to transform for their project into ground-breaking research. The projects to be funded include a project for next generation brain imaging at the Florey Institute, as well as new projects at the Burnet Institute and at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

Genomics Health Futures Mission – Flagships – Pathogen Genomics

The $106 million Flagships stream forms part of the GHFM and will be delivered over nine years from 2019-20 to 2027-28 through a number of rounds. This grant opportunity is the first round of the Flagships stream. Grants range from $1-10 million for a maximum length of four years. Closes 5pm ACT local time, 11 July 2019.

6.  Other funding & award opportunities

2020 CSL Centenary Fellowships

The CSL Centenary Fellowships for early-mid career medical researchers are high-value awards available to Australians who wish to continue a career in medical research in Australia. Two individual five-year $1.25 million fellowships are awarded each calendar year. Applications close on the 31 July 2019.

NFMRI Grants for Alzheimer’s Research

NFMRI has opened its second Alzheimer’s disease grant round. They are seeking expressions of interest (EOI) for projects investigating potential treatments and/or cure for Alzheimer’s Disease commencing in 2020. Closes 6pm AEST, 13 June 2019.

Global Connections Fund (GCF) Bridging Grants – now open for eligibility testing

Australian researchers and businesses can receive up to $50,000 funding to take their products global under round four of the Global Connections Fund Bridging Grants. Bridging Grants are a program of assistance that targets early stage proof of concept and knowledge transfer, product development and market testing, innovation and commercialisation activities. Bridging Grants open for eligibility testing from 3 June 2019 and this phase will close at 5pm (AEST) on the 17 June 2019. Applications can be prepared and lodged at anytime provided that eligibility is approved.

Funding for Leadership Development Programs

Research Australia advises of the opportunity for women in health and medical sector to express their interest in current financial year scholarship funding that is available through Women & Leadership Australia. The fee support opportunity provides women with funding of between $3,000 and $7,000 (per applicant, subject to a set of selection criteria being met) to undertake a range of leadership development programs commencing later this year. Closes 21 June 2019.

Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Grants

The CRC support medium to long term industry-led collaborations to solve industry problems and deliver tangible outcomes. There is no minimum and maximum grant amount. Grants to date have ranged between $7 million and $75 million, depending on the scope and complexity of the project. Closes 1 July 2019.

Falling Walls Lab Australia – applications now open

The Australian Academy of Science invites applications from postdocs and students, entrepreneurs, engineers and innovators to present at Falling Walls Lab Australia. 15 applicants will be selected to participate, each giving a three-minute presentation on their research, business model or initiative based on the concept ‘Which walls will fall next?’. The winner will have their travel expenses and attendance paid for to attend the Falling Walls Conference in Berlin 8–9 November. Applications close 9am (AEST) 11 July, 2019.

Research Australia Awards – Nominations now open

As the national peak body for health and medical research, these prestigious awards are the celebration of the outstanding efforts and achievements of individuals and teams who drive and support the opportunities that health and medical innovation bring to each and every one of our lives. Visit their website for a full list of categories. Nominations close COB Friday, 05 July 2019.

2019/2020 Fulbright Future Scholarships – Open until July 15

The Australian-American Fulbright Commission will double the number of scholarships on offer this year, via a new program of scholarships funded through a generous private donation. Australian medical researchers, scientists and practitioners have the chance to take their work to the U.S, available to postgraduate students, PhD researchers, academics, postdocs, and professionals. Awardees will receive funding for full tuition/visiting researcher expenses at a U.S. institution of their choice, as well as travel and living costs. Applications close 15 July 2019.

7.  Reports and resources

Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2019)

The NHMRC in partnership with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, has released the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2019). Available for download via the NHMRC website.

New report – The first thousand days: A case for investment

A new report from PwC uses economic modelling to show that if every child in Australia spent their first three years in stable housing, that our economy would be $3 billion better off each year, and that if all pregnant mothers in Australia were able to cease smoking, our economy would be $1 billion better off each year.

From the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

8.  Events, conferences & training opportunities

2019 Women and Heart Disease Forum – 19 June (Sydney)

The 2019 Women and Heart Disease Forum will bring together leaders in research and health care as well as women directly impacted by heart disease. Find out the latest advances in prevention, treatment, and management of heart disease among women from Australia’s leading clinicians and researchers including Professor Robyn Norton AO, Dr Clare Arnott, Prof John Beltrame AM, Dr Will Parsonage, Louise Cullen, and Clara Chow.

ACTA International Clinical Trials Conference – 2-5 October 2019 (Sydney)

The Australian Clinical Trials Alliance have released their Program of Australian and International experts. Key dates – Abstract submission closes 24 June 2019, early bird registration closes 31 July, 2019.

8th Annual NHMRC Symposium on Research Translation – abstracts open – 19-20 November 2019 (Melbourne)

The call for abstracts for the Symposium is now open. The theme for this year is “Research Translation in the digital age: harnessing the power of data and analytical technologies”. The Symposium provides a platform for NHMRC’s community of researchers and others with an interest in the creation and use of research evidence, to share information and experiences, and to be challenged by new ideas or approaches.

Australian British Health Catalyst (ABHC) 2019 – 8-11 July 2019 (London, UK)

The Australian British Health Catalyst (ABHC) is designed to facilitate and promote the exchange of ideas and experience in healthcare in Australia and the UK. With a focus on integrated healthcare in a digital world, participants will be healthcare leaders in Government, technology and research experts, public health administrators, private health executives, academics and innovators. You can download the programme from their website.

14th World Congress on Inflammation, 15-19 Sept, 2019 (Sydney) – EOI open

Plenary speakers, program themes and abstract submission dates now available on the website. Conference flyer also available to download.

Australian Delegation to the MedTech Conference – 23 September 2019 (Boston)

MTPConnect invites the Australian medical technology sector to join the Australian delegation to The MedTech Conference – 23-25 September 2019 in Boston, MA. MTPConnect want to showcase outstanding innovative medical technologies, Australia’s unique capabilities, and build invaluable connections into international markets. They are offering registration at AUD$1,000 (including GST). Please note that this does not include registration to the MedTech Conference, accommodation or air fares, however discounts are available – read more.

Molecular Approaches to Malaria 2020 – 23-27 February (Victoria)

The Molecular Approaches to Malaria Conference (MAM) 2020 will be held next year in Lorne, Victoria. The conference will take place over a span of five days from Sunday 23 February – Thursday 27 February 2020. MAM 2020 will feature leading experts in the field while providing opportunities for young researchers and scientists from malaria endemic countries to showcase their research through selected talks and posters from submitted abstracts. Early Bird registration is now open for the conference and must be paid in full by 30 September 2019.

Training opportunities

New pilot program – Australian Postgraduate Research (APR) Intern

Over the next four years, APR.Intern will undergo a national expansion placing 1,400 new research internships into industry from 2017 to 2020 in collaboration with 19 universities nationwide. A new Australian Government rebate of 50% on the cost of a typical five month PhD internship of $26k, is now available to all small-to-medium and large enterprise, as well as government agencies, exclusively through the APR.Intern program. The first full round of Block Internships is planned to open for applications later this year.