AAMRI e-news September 2019

AAMRI e-news September 2019

6th September, 2019

In this issue

  1. AAMRI news – New NHMRC grant program delivers longer grants, but highlights gaps in gender equality
  2. Government update – Consultations currently open
  3. Sector news –  National Drug Discovery Centre – info session
  4. NHMRC update – Amended minimum data date for 2020 Investigator Grants Peer Review Round
  5. MRFF update – Genomics Health Futures Mission deadline extension
  6. Other funding & award opportunities – Travel grants, Premier’s Awards and more
  7. Reports & resources – Long Term National Health Plan released
  8. Events, conferences & training opportunities – Save the date – GAP2020 @ Peter Mac

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

1. AAMRI news

Member news

New NHMRC grant program delivers longer grants, but highlights gaps in gender equality

Funding outcomes were announced last week for the new Investigator Grant scheme from the NHMRC. AAMRI congratulates the 246 outstanding medical researchers who were awarded funding in the first year of the scheme.

The highly anticipated results from the Investigator Grant scheme, the largest of the new NHMRC grant programs, awarded $366 million of funding across Australia. These grants provide the most talented researchers with both salary support as well as a research package for up to 5 years. This means they will spend less time applying for grants and more time doing great research.

Upon reviewing the grant outcomes it is clear there is still a gender imbalance in the grants awarded. AAMRI President Professor Carapetis said “It is a shame to see the continued gender imbalance in the grants awarded, particularly at the senior leadership level. We note this isn’t new, but we need renewed efforts to address this critical problem.” Read more about the results from the NHRMC grant program in our full media release.

AAMRI welcomes medical research as a pillar of Australia’s Long Term National Health Plan

AAMRI is pleased to see medical research at the heart of the newly announced Long Term National Health Plan for Australia. We know that research-led health care delivers better outcomes for all Australians, and it’s great to see the strong commitment to medical research funding in the Plan.

The Long Term National Health Plan, which charts the way forward over the next 3-10 years, is aimed at better prevention of diseases, health promotion, a higher focus on patients’ multidisciplinary needs, and more affordable and accessible health care to all Australians. Read more about AAMRI’s response to the Long Term National Plan on our website.

2019 AAMRI Convention – open for registration

The 2019 AAMRI Convention will take place on 27 and 28 November 2019 at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra. Discounted accommodation options have nearly sold out, so please do register online soon.

AAMRI Convention program

This year we will be analysing the big issues facing the sector, and dedicating more time to member discussion and the development of AAMRI strategy and policies. We will be joined by the Chief Executive of the NHMRC, Professor Anne Kelso AO, as well as Professor Sir John Savill (Executive Director of the Melbourne Academic Centre for Health, and former Chief Executive of the UK Medical Research Council).

The guest speaker for the AAMRI Dinner will be the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, and the guest speaker for the AAMRI President’s Breakfast will be the Shadow Minister for Health, the Hon Chris Bowen MPSee the draft program for further details.

AAMRI Submissions

Response to the MRFF Mission for Cardiovascular Health Roadmap

AAMRI has responded to the Department of Health’s consultation on the Roadmap for the 10 year $220M Mission for Cardiovascular Health, part of the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). The Mission for Cardiovascular Health will support new and emerging research to improve health outcomes through prevention strategies and earlier detection for patients suffering a heart attack or stroke. The Roadmap will assist in the implementation of the Mission, including setting key priorities for funding. AAMRI supports the Roadmap as a guide for MRFF investment in cardiovascular research, and has recommended strengthening the Roadmap in several areas. You can read the full submission on our website.

Submission to the review of AIATSIS guidelines for ethical research in Australian Indigenous studies

The Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) is conducting a review of the Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies. One major revision is the change from Guidelines to a Code of Conduct.

AAMRI supports the development of the new AIATSIS Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research. The Code is thorough, well thought through and provides a solid framework for undertaking ethical Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research. We have put forward points for consideration in our submission, which can be read in full on our website.

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 eight active AAMRI staff networks – HR, Research Governance, Research Strategy, IT, Research Administration Officers (RAO), Philanthropy & Fundraising, Legal Counsel and Finance. For information on AAMRI Networks, upcoming network events and how to join, visit the AAMRI website.

2.  Government update 


Invitation to provide feedback on a draft guide supporting the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018

The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018 articulates the broad principles that characterise an honest, ethical and conscientious research culture. The Code is co-authored by NHMRC, the ARC and Universities Australia. The co-authors are seeking input on the structure and content of this guide. Closes 5pm (AEST) 27 September 2019. Any members who would like to participate in developing AAMRI’s submission, please email AAMRI Policy Director, peter.thomas@aamri.org.au.

Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, health sector technology readiness project

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering is undertaking a project to assess the readiness of the Australian health industry sector to develop, adapt and adopt new technologies over the next decade to address these challenges and achieve positive health outcomes for Australia.

The project is currently in the consultation phase, and they invite interested stakeholders to take our readiness survey. (The survey should take only about 5-10 minutes.) Their are also upcoming roundtables, which will be in Brisbane (11 September) and Sydney (24 September). You can find more information about the project on the ATSE website.

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 Commission 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.

Data Sharing and Release – Issues Paper

As part of the response to the Productivity Commission Review of Public Data Availability and Use, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is developing Data Sharing and Release legislation. This will provide a framework for Government Departments to more effectively share data and facilitate access to data for researchers. The Department has now released a discussion paper outlining its proposed approach to the legislation, and it is open for feedback until 15 October 2019.

3.  Sector news

National Drug Discovery Centre – call for applications and info session, Mon 9 Sept, Melbourne

WEHI has expanded its early stage drug discovery capacity to create the National Drug Discovery Centre (NDDC). The Centre will increase medical researchers’ access to advanced robotic high-throughput screening. The NDDC invites applications from researchers around Australia to fast-track their scientific breakthroughs into new medicines to treat disease. Successful applicants will benefit from accessing the latest technologies and a fully staffed team at a highly subsidised rate (of 90 per cent off actual costs). An information session is being held on Monday 9 September, 8.45am-11am, WEHI, Melbourne. Please register via their website.

Become a Women in STEM Decadal Plan Champion

The Women in STEM Decadal Plan Champions build on the efforts already underway across STEM organisations, providing a platform to share knowledge, act, evaluate and create accountability. Your organisation can become a champion by:

  1. Submitting a written response aligning your gender equity activities to the six opportunities outlined in the decadal plan, which will be hosted on the STEM Women website
  2. Agreeing to submit a progress update in 12 months’ time.

Responses are due by 16 October 2019.

Funding announcements:

4.  NHMRC update

Amended minimum data date for 2020 Investigator Grants Peer Review Round

Due to the 2019 Research Administration Officer Seminar coinciding with the Investigator Grants minimum data date of 30 October 2019, the minimum data date has been extended. The new minimum data closing time and date is 5pm (AEDT) 31 October 2019.

5.  MRFF update

AMRAB recommends establishing a UK style National Institute of Health Research

The Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) has released a communique of their meeting of 26 July. The communique outlines AMRAB’s consideration of its future role with respect to MRFF programs, as well as recommending the establishment of a UK style National Institute of Health Research.

Genomics Health Futures Mission – Flagships – Pathogen Genomics – deadline extended

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. The application round has been delayed and now closes 5pm ACT local time, 12 September 2019. This grant opportunity is the first round of the Flagships stream. Grants range from $1-10 million for a maximum length of four years.

MRFF International Clinical Trial Collaborations (ICTC) Program

The ICTC Grant Opportunity will provide support for Australian research teams to conduct clinical trial research in collaboration with international counterparts. This program has a continuous application process. For this round, applications are now open and Minimum data due date is 20 November 2019.

MRFF Investigator Grants

$32 million will be available from the MRFF for Investigator Grants for early to mid career researchers who can demonstrate experience turning research into positive outcomes for patients. Timed to coincide with the next round of NHMRC Investigator Grants, applications will open on 2 October and close on 27 November. Guidelines for the Grant Program are not yet available, but are anticipated to be available closer to the opening date.

Register on GrantConnect to receive MRFF funding alerts

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

MRFF funding opportunities

We’ve made a handy table to help you keep track of what funding schemes are open and where to go for further information.

6.  Other funding & award opportunities

Applications open for visit to the National Institutes of Health in the USA by a junior scientist 

The Australian Academy of Science invites applications from junior scientists to visit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States of America in 2020. The deadline for applications is 9am (AEST) Friday 13 September 2019.

UKRI-NHMRC Built Environment and Prevention Research Scheme

The Scheme will support Australian participation and collaboration in world-leading prevention research seeking to address the shared burden of non-communicable diseases influenced by the built environment. Total amount available in $4m over three years. UK Principal Investigator must submit the Intention to Submit on behalf of the research collaboration to the UKRI’s MRC by 23:00 BST 17 September 2019. Final closing date is 16 October 2019.

Travel Grants from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Applications can now be submitted from early-stage researchers, mid-career researchers and allied health professionals for grants of up to $2,000 for domestic travel or up to $4,000 for international travel to research institutions or scientific meetings, for the purpose of furthering expertise in the field of type 1 diabetes. Travel must take place between 18 September 2019 and 20 April 2020. Applications close 5pm AEDT Wednesday 18 September 2019.

MRFF – Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry Initiative

The Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry Initiative has been reopened to allow tax exempt entities to apply. The objective of the fund is to strategically fund research and address national priorities in a cohesive and coordinated way. Total amount available is $32m. Closes 5pm ACT local time, 19 September 2019.

NBCF-OCRF collaborative grant 2020

The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) and the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF) are currently accepting applications for their collaboration scheme on a joint biomedical research funding opportunity. NBCF and the OCRF have come together to jointly fund high impact translational research that spans both ovarian and breast cancers to improve outcomes for women. Applications close at 5pm (AEST) Friday 27 September 2019.

Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) Grants – Round 8

CRC-P grants support short term industry-led collaborations to develop important new technologies, products and services that deliver tangible outcomes. Estimated values are between $100k – $3m. Closes 5pm ACT local time 24 September 2019.

2019 Victorian Cancer Agency Funding Round

The Victorian Cancer Agency’s research grants have been supporting innovation and excellence in cancer research since 2006, investing more than $200m into translational research and infrastructure. Various schemes are now open and will close at 5pm on 25 September 2019.

2020 Premier’s Awards for Health and Medical Research

Applications are currently open for the 2020 Premier’s Awards for Health and Medical Research, recognising the exceptional contributions and capabilities of Victoria’s emerging early career researchers in their PhD studies. Recipients of the Premier’s Awards for Health and Medical Research category awards receive $5,000 and an additional $15,000 is granted to the Premier’s Excellence award winner, receiving $20,000 in total prize money. Applications close 30 September 2019.

2020 Australia Harvard Fellowships are Open

These Fellowships primarily aim to bring prominent senior Harvard researchers to Australia to share their knowledge with Australian researchers. Return visits by Australian researchers who have previously hosted Harvard researchers is also permitted. Applications close 09 October 2019.

Australia–India EMCR fellowships 2020

These Early- and Mid-Career (EMCR) fellowships provide financial support of up to A$16,500 for Australian researchers to travel to India and work with leading researchers at major Indian science and technology organisations for a period of between 1 and 3 months.The deadline for applications is 9 am (AEDT) Wednesday 9 October 2019.

Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF)

The AISRF aims to increase the uptake of leading science and technology by supporting collaboration between Australian and Indian researchers in strategically focused, leading-edge scientific research and technology projects. $5 million is available over 3 years. Closes 5pm (ACT local time) 23 October 2019.

Indigenous internship program

The NHMRC offers opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in an Undergraduate or Masters degree in a health or medical research related field to take up an internship in the agency. A limited number of places for internships are available in their Canberra and Melbourne offices. Applications close 5pm, Friday 25 October 2019.

2020 Clunies Ross Award

The Clunies Ross Awards have a proud 28-year tradition of recognising contributions by dedicated individuals who have shared their vision and knowledge with others to apply technology for the benefit of Australia. In 2020 the Clunies Ross Awards will be awarded in three categories with a single winner in each category. Nominations are now open and must be submitted by 9am AEDT on Friday 25 October.

7.  Reports and resources

AAMRI OIS Report 2019 – Victorian Independent Medical Research Institutes show impressive results

In 2017–18 the Victorian Government provided $34.3 million to 12 independent research institutes through the Operational Infrastructure Support (OIS) Program. The OIS Program helps fund services and infrastructure that support research activities but are not covered by research grants. The reports results include 765 active clinical trials involving Victorian Medical Research Institutes, 7 new start-up companies, $276M in competitive grant income, More than 900 partnership agreements, 147 outreach events and more than 4800 staff & students. Read the full report online.

Long Term National Health Plan

Launched in August, The Long Term National Health Plan recognises that depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and psychosis are health problems to be treated just like diabetes, asthma and broken bones. It charts the way forward over the next three and 10 years in the key areas of mental health, primary care, hospitals, preventive health and medical research.

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018

The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018 establishes a framework for responsible research conduct that provides a foundation for high-quality research, credibility and community trust in the research endeavour.

Harnessing Our Innovation Potential – Male Champions of Change STEM

Male Champions of Change STEM have released the Harnessing Our Innovation Potential report. The report shares new research conducted by Accenture, surveying over 3000 women and men working in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths (STEM) careers in Australia. The research has revealed that more than half of women have considered quitting the field, with gender inequality continuing to be a major issue. The Report is available online.

The economic case for investing in mental health prevention

The National Mental Health Commission has released economic modelling which shows that investing in mental health prevention initiatives yields positive returns. Analysis indicates that prevention interventions targeted to workplaces, schools and specific members of the community including new mothers and older persons can bring economic benefit. A summary of the research and more detail on the individual interventions is available online.

New guidelines to improve assessments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presenting to hospital with self-harm and suicidal thoughts

Menzies School of Health Research, commissioned by the Centre for Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention,  have developed evidenced-based the Guidelines for best practice psychosocial assessment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presenting to hospital with self-harm and suicidal thoughts to improve the quality of care and outcomes for people presenting with suicidal thoughts and behaviours. The Guidelines contain 227 evidence-based recommendations that have been endorsed by an expert panel of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous professionals and those with lived experience using the Delphi method for establishing an expert consensus on best practice.

From the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

8.  Events, conferences & training opportunities

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

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

Healthy People in a Healthy Environment symposium – September 17, 2019 (Brisbane)

Join leading experts from the medical, social sciences, Indigenous, NGO, government and industry sectors at this high-level event which will help focus Australia’s thinking on how to promote, protect and enhance the critical links between human health and social and cultural wellbeing, and the environment. Costs are between $250 – $495.

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.

International dementia research symposium – 25-27 September 2019 (Sydney)

Registrations are now open for the AAIC Satellite Symposium. The Symposium will bring researchers from around the world together to explore emerging dementia science.

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

This year’s theme is Better health through best evidence; the event will bring together national and international stakeholders to discuss global advances in the development of self-improving healthcare systems. The program addresses embedding clinical trials in clinical care, novel trial designs and conduct, maximising the value of clinical registries and improving public awareness and consumer involvement in clinical research. The Program, featuring Australian and International experts is available on their website.

SRNT-O Preconference workshops – 24 October, 2019 (NSW)

SRNT-O is hosting two preconference workshops delivered by international leaders in tobacco control research. Workshops are free. SRNT-O Inaugural Conference will be held on the 24-25 October, full details on their website.

CQR Forum – Save the date – 28 October (Melbourne)

The 2019 Clinical Quality Registries (CQR) Forum showcases the contribution of CQR’s to the quality and safety of Australia’s health care system. Formal invitations will be available shortly.

AusBiotech 2019 – 30 Octotber – 01 November 2019 (Melbourne)

AusBiotech 2019 will bring together Australian and international biotech leaders and stakeholders to Melbourne for three days of education, skills building, and networking. Register via the AusBiotech website. Registration online via the AusBiotech website.

As part of AusBiotech 2019, an Early Stage Investment Forum is held. Submissions are now open to research institutes, universities, hospitals and pre-series A companies in the area of human therapeutics and enabling technologies. Successful submissions will have the opportunity to present their technology to an expert investor panel that will include international big pharma representatives as well as corporate VCs and early stage investors.

Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre’s 2019 Psycho-Oncology Conference – 08 November 2019 (Melbourne)

With a conference theme of ‘Advancing Comprehensive Cancer Care’, this conference aims to address timely issues in research, education and practice and will showcase the best cutting edge work in psycho-oncology.

Research Australia 2019 Health & Medical Research Awards, 14 Nov (Melbourne)

Research Australia’s health and medical research Awards are an opportunity to shine a light on those who are work tirelessly to make incredible discoveries and advancements to improve the health of the nation and the world.

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

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. Early bird deadline is 18 October 2019.

Society for Ambulatory Assessment Conference – 15-18 January 2019 (Melbourne)

The Society for Ambulatory Assessment (SAA) will hold a conference in Australia for the first time in January 2020. The aim of the conference is to bring together researchers with expertise in Ambulatory Assessment, involving the use of methods to assess the ongoing behaviour, physiology, experience and environmental aspects of people in naturalistic or unconstrained settings. Ambulatory Assessment uses ecologically-valid tools to understand biopsychosocial processes as they unfold naturally in time and in context, with potential to improve understanding and treatment of physical and mental health.

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.

Save the Date: GAP2020 conference – 11-13 May 2019 (Melbourne)

For the first time, Peter Mac will proudly host GAP2020 next year. The conference originates with Peter Mac’s sister institution, the prestigious MD Anderson Cancer Centre (Texas, USA). It is a global forum for the exploration of impactful, innovative ideas and research that underpin the effort to eradicate cancer. From improving equality of access, to clinical and translational research, GAP2020 is a unique opportunity to hear from experts from Peter Mac and MD Anderson, along with national and international guests.

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 enterprises, 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.