AAMRI eNews – February 2018

AAMRI eNews – February 2018

8th February, 2018


1st edition – February 2018

In this issue

  1. AAMRI news – Ingham Institute joins AAMRI, 2018 AAMRI Convention, and AAMRI’s submission on electoral legislation
  2. Government update – Review of the ACNC, ovarian cancer funding pledges, new innovation plan
  3. NHMRC & ARC updates – New NHMRC Open Access Policy
  4. MRFF Update – $69M funding for rare cancer and rare disease research
  5. Sector news – Jacques Miller wins Japan Prize, two Directors to step down & new Go8 Chair.
  6. Reports & resources – Precision medicine road map, clinical trials report & the true cost of dementia
  7. Funding & award opportunities – latest funding and award opportunities
  8. Events, conferences & training opportunities – Ausbiotech 2018, ANDS workshops and more

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

1. AAMRI news

AAMRI welcomes newest member – Ingham Institute

Based in Liverpool, NSW, the Ingham Institute’s research focus is rooted in and driven by the needs of of individuals and families living in South West Sydney. The institute is led by Director, Darryl Harkness, and has over 40 research groups, and works in partnership with Liverpool Hospital, the South Western Sydney Local Health District, University of New South Wales and Western Sydney University. The institute undertakes research into the cancer, injury and rehabilitation, population health and health services, mental health, and undertakes clinical trials.

2018 AAMRI Convention – save the date!

The 2018 AAMRI Convention will take place on 26-27 November 2018 at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra, with the AAMRI Dinner held at Parliament House on the evening of the 26th. Please save the date in the diary and come and help us celebrate AAMRI’s 25th birthday.

2017 AAMRI Convention presentations now available

If you want to relive the 2017 AAMRI Convention, or perhaps if you couldn’t make it, you can now watch videos of presentations at the convention as well as download the speaker slides. There were great presentations from Prof Anne Kelso (NHMRC, CEO), Dr Alan Finkel (Chief Scientist of Australia), and Professor Ian Frazer (Chair, Australian of Medical Research Advisory Board).

AAMRI expresses concerns that proposed legislation could threaten public awareness on health issues

In its recent submission to a Parliamentary Inquiry, AAMRI expressed its concern that recently introduced legislation targeting overseas political donations could see medical research institutes involved in health promotion activities inadvertently be labelled as ‘political campaigners’. AAMRI is concerned that the impact of such a label could either hit philanthropic donations to medical research, or could see some institutes reluctant to participate in health promotion activities, such as public health awareness campaigns and health policy development. AAMRI’s submission was featured in numerous news outlets, including The Australian & The Times Higher Education.

New Research Management Strategy Network

AAMRI is establishing a new Research Management Strategy Network for AAMRI members. The network will provide a forum for discussion and the sharing of ideas relating to research management, governance and strategy. The network will be launched at an annual workshop in May this year (date tbc). If you are interested in joining the network please email communications@aamri.org.au.

2.  Government and policy update 


Review of Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission legislation

The Government has announced a review into the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission legislation. AAMRI will be putting forward a submission to the review and asks interested members to get in touch with any comments about the review, its terms of reference, their experience with the legislation and the ACNC. Submissions are due on 28 February 2018. Please send any comments through to communications@aamri.org.au

Draft clinical guideline for the diagnosis and management of work-related mental health conditions in general practice released for public consultation

The draft clinical guidelines have been developed by Monash University and are open for comment until Thursday 15 March 2018. Monash University will be seeking NHMRC approval of the guidelines under section 14A of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992.

Policy update

Federal Government providing $3 million for ovarian cancer project

The Turnbull Government will provide almost $3 million to support a new ground-breaking project that helps women identify whether they are at risk of developing ovarian cancer. Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, delivered a speech at the Ovarian Cancer Teal Ribbon breakfast on the 6 February 2018 where he announced the start of the TRACEBACK project which will run for four years and identify and then offer testing to women at risk of having detrimental mutations in BRCA 1 and 2 genes.

Labor Government pledges $12 million to fight ovarian cancer

Speaking at the Ovarian Cancer Australia breakfast on the 6 February 2018, Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten said that, if elected, the Labor Government will fund $12 million for ovarian cancer research. The funding will go towards setting-up new clinical trials, creating a National Ovarian Cancer Registry and launch new research into a cure.

New innovation plan prioritises investment in genomics research, precision medicine and national research infrastructure

The Australia 2030: Prosperity Through Innovation plan sees investment in genomics research, precision medicine and national research infrastructure as key components in ensuring Australia is a top-tier innovation nation by 2030. AAMRI welcomed the release of the plan through a media release, and has provided an overview summary of the main points relating to medical research.

3. NHMRC & ARC updates

NHMRC Open Access Policy

In January 2018, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) updated its Open Access Policy. The aims of the NHMRC Open Access Policy are to mandate the open access sharing of publications and encourage innovative open access to research data. This policy also requires that patents resulting from NHMRC funding be made findable through listing in SourceIP.

4.  MRFF update

$69 million funding for fight against rare cancers and rare diseases

The Australian Government has recently announced a $69 million funding boost for the Medical Research Future Fund’s Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Needs Clinical Trials Program, with the program set to become a permanent annual program. This funding boost includes more than $26 million for nineteen research projects, including for clinical trials for conditions such as acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in infants, aplastic anaemia, multiple sclerosis and Huntington’s disease.

Stay up to date with what’s happening with the Medical Research Future Fund

If you want more information about MRFF funding opportunities and initiatives then visit the Department of Health MRFF webpage.

If you’re after a quick overview of what has been funded then AAMRI has produced a handy table and a summary diagram.

5.  Sector news

Hunter Medical Research Institute – Director, Prof Nilsson to step down in early 2018

Professor Michael Nilsson has announced his decision to step down as Director of Hunter Medical Research Institute after 7 years in the position. Professor Nilsson is accepting a position as Global Innovation Chair with the newly created Centre for Innovative Technologies in Rehabilitation Settings (CITRS) at the University of Newcastle in early 2018.

The Florey Institute – Director – Director, Prof Geoffrey Donnon AO to step down at end of 2018

After 10 years as Director of the The Florey Institute, Professor Geoffrey Donnon has announced he will step down as Director and transition back into research -related activities at the end of 2018. The search for Prof Donnon’s replacement is now underway.

Australian scientist wins prestigious Japan Prize for work in immunology research

Emeritus Professor Jacques Miller (WEHI) was jointly awarded the prize with American scientist Dr Max D Cooper for his discovery of the T-lymphocytes that attack virus-infected cells, paving the way for decades of developments in lifesaving immunotherapies.

Go8 welcomes new Chair

Professor Ian Jacobs, President and Vice-Chancellor of UNSW, has been appointed as the Group of Eight’s new Chair and took up the role on 1st February 2018.

Time to celebrate the achievements of Australian innovators and entrepreneurs

Science & Technology Australia (STA) has partnered with #AUSinnovates to share the success stories of Australian innovation and commercialisation. The project aims to highlight the significant contribution of Australian science and technology to innovative and life-changing inventions and applications for research. AAMRI would like to encourage our members to contribute to this through the Ausinnovates website.

6.  Reports and resources

Road map to better health care through precision medicine

A report released by the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) says that precision medicine has the potential to transform Australia’s health care system. The report sets out the current state and future direction of precision medicine, along with the opportunities and challenges, both in Australia and internationally. The release of the ACOLA report has proven to be timely, as the recently released Innovation and Science Australia 2030 Plan (Australia 2030: Prosperity through Innovation), recommended a $200 million over five years for a genomics and precision medicine national mission, with funding to potentially come from the Medical Research Future Fund.

New report spotlights Australia’s capability in clinical trials

Austrade’s new Clinical Trials industry capability report highlights why Australia is a leading destination for clinical research of new therapeutic products and medical devices. The report showcases Australia’s strengths in the sector that make it an attractive and competitive location for clinical trials.

Counting the true cost of dementia

It costs approximately AU$88,000 a year to provide health and residential care for a person living with dementia in Australia, according to new research led by Flinders University. This figure is much higher than previously thought and provides the most precise estimate to date of the cost of providing quality care to dementia patients living in aged care settings.

Seven new AIHW reports on spinal cord injury

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released seven new reports on spinal cord injury.

Incidence of insulin-treated diabetes in Australia

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released a new web report “The Incidence of insulin-treated diabetes in Australia” which presents the latest available data on new cases of type 1 diabetes, insulin-treated type 2 diabetes and insulin-treated gestational diabetes.

7.  Funding & award opportunities

EMCR Funding opportunity – Theo Murphy (Australia) Fund

The Theo Murphy (Australia) Fund is currently accepting funding proposals for activities that support early- and mid-career researchers. The activities can be held anywhere in Australia and can take any format. Support ranges from $5,000 to $50,000. Applications close on 18 February.

Grants to boost international collaboration in science, technology and innovation

Applications have opened for Global Connections Fund (GCF) Priming Grants to help Australian researchers and business to expand their work overseas. The grants of up to $7000 empower organisations to collaborate in the global arena, link with international counterparts and expertise, and explore collaborative projects in international markets.

Australian Rotary Health providing scholarships for medical research

Australian Rotary Health and Rotary Clubs and Districts across Australia will dedicate $521,068 towards 32 Funding Partner PhD Scholarships, 2 Research Companion PhD Scholarships and 2 PTSD PhD Scholarships in 2018.

8.  Events, conferences & training opportunities

2018 AAMRI Convention

Don’t forget to save 26-27 November in your diary for the 2018 AAMRI Convention in Canberra.

AusBiotech 2018 conference

The annual AusBiotech conference brings together Australian and international biotech leaders and stakeholders, creating a forum to reflect on the sector’s achievements and exchange ideas to further advance the sector’s standing both nationally and globally. The conference will be held in Brisbane on 31 October – 2 November 2018.

Workshops on research and data skills training

ANDS, Research Data Services (RDS) and National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (Nectar) are jointly running a series of workshops in February on research and data skills training, aimed at increasing the knowledge and confidence of people providing data training at universities and other institutions. Training includes case studies, hands-on problem solving, theory and examples to explore.

EPA event: Green chemistry – the missing elements

The next event in EPA’s Environmental Science Series will be held on 22 February 2018 in Melbourne, and will focus on the emerging practice of green chemistry – an increasingly coordinated effort by chemists all over the world to develop environmentally friendly products that are cheap and easy to use.

Universities Australia Higher Education Conference 2018

The Higher Education conference is an annual event on the Australian higher education calendar attracting more than 900 delegates, and will take place on 28 February-1 March. The 2018 conference theme – Future Fundamentals – will have speakers exploring the fundamental role of universities in teaching, learning and research as they reinvent themselves in a new political, economic and technological environment.