AAMRI eNews – 8th edition – September 2017

AAMRI eNews – 8th edition – September 2017

19th September, 2017

In this issue

  1. AAMRI news – Remembering Connie Johnson, AAMRI Convention program, new member the Kirby Institute, and AAMRI submissions
  2. Government update – PhD experience to count as work experience, new Secretary of Department of Health, and more
  3. NHMRC & ARC updates – NHMRC consultation events on peer review, update on the New Grant Program, and more
  4. MRFF update –  Two MRFF applications open for applications
  5. Sector news –  $20M Zero Childhood Cancer Initiative underway, other funding announcements, and more
  6. Reports & resources – New ACNC factsheet for MRIs, results from the Research Australia survey, and tracking the impact of funds on global health
  7. Funding & award opportunities – The latest funding and award opportunitites
  8. Events & conferences

1. AAMRI news

Welcome to our new AAMRI member, the Kirby Institute!
A big welcome to the newest member of AAMRI, the Kirby Institute of Infection and Immunity, located at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. The Kirby Institute is a leading global research institute dedicated to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.

Program now available for the 2017 AAMRI Annual Convention and Dinner (6-7 December, 2017)
The program for this year’s Convention is now available! We have some great speakers including the Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, Chief Executive of the NHMRC, Professor Anne Kelso and Chief Executive of MTPConnect, Ms Sue MacLeman.

Connie: you will always inspire us – Remembering Connie Johnson’s role in making the MRFF a reality
Connie Johnson sadly died on 8th September. She was an inspiration to all of us in medical research, and what isn’t widely known is the role she played in advocating for the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund. A  piece by AAMRI was published in the Herald Sun on 14th September paying tribute to Connie and her enormous contribution to medical research. Her contribution to medical research was also highlighted in an interview with Samuel Johnson on the Project (Channel 10) on Monday 19th September (segment starts at 38:37).

AAMRI Response to the Policy Consultation paper – Visa Simplification – transforming Australia’s Visa System
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection released a consultation paper on how to build a modern visa system. AAMRI’s response outlines the need for appropriate migration pathways for highly skilled medical researchers.

AAMRI submission to the Inquiry into and report on all aspects of the conduct of the 2016 Federal Election and matters related thereto
AAMRI’s submission stresses the importance of ensuring that any ban on foreign donations does not inadvertently prevent medical research institutes from receiving philanthropic and other support from foreign citizens or other entities (such as from the Wellcome Trust, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the National Institute for Health).

2.  Government update

Policy update

Experience gained during PhD studies counted towards 2 years work experience for 457 visas
AAMRI has received confirmation that research experience gained during the course PhD will be recognised as relevant work experience for research professions in the changes to the Temporary Skills Shortage visa scheme (commencing March, 2018).

New Secretaries of the Department of Health and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
AAMRI welcomes Ms Glenys Beauchamp PSM as the new Secretary of the Department of Health, and Dr Heather Smith PSM, the new Secretary of the Department of Innovation, Industry and Science.

SA: State Cabinet changes announced in South Australia
Minister Peter Malinauskas has been sworn in as Minister for Health and Minister of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, while Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith will be sworn in as Minister for Health Industries. Several other ministerial appointments were also announced.


Consultation now open for proposed changes to the Therapeutic Goods Advertising code
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) invites comment on the proposed changes to the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code and a possible framework for the advertising of pharmacist-only medicines to the public. Consultation closes 13thOctober, 2017.

Call for comment on proposed changes to intellectual property system
IP Australia has opened public consultation on five IP policy matters. Of particular interest to the biomedical research sector is the possible increased threshold for the inventive step in Australian patents to align with the European Patent Office standards. Submissions should be received no later than 17 November 2017.

Consultation on Copyright Regulations 2017 draft – are they fit for purpose in a digital world?
An exposure draft on the new copyright regulations has been released for comment. Submissions are due by 5pm 6th October.

Open Consultation for the Third Review of the National Gene Technology Scheme
Submissions to the third review of Australia’s Gene Technology Scheme are due 29 September, 2017.

Consultation now open for proposed changes to the infant pneumococcal vaccination schedule (due 1 October, 2017)
The Department of Health on behalf of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is consulting with stakeholders on proposed changes to the infant pneumococcal vaccination schedule. Submissions are due before midnight on 2 October, 2017.

WA: Public Forums in September-October for Sustainable Health Review in Western Australia
10 public forums for the Sustainable Health Review will be held throughout WA in September-October, and public submissions have been called for.


NHMRC new grant program public consultation on peer review
The NHMRC will be hosting a series of public fora across Australia between 29 September and 24 November 2017 on elements of peer review. Registrations are open now.

Update of NHMRC Structural Review and New Grant Program
AAMRI has summarised the upcoming changes to the NHMRC grant program which is available on our website. This includes a summary of the four new programs, as well as the packages available in the Investigator Grants scheme.

Applications open for the 2017-18 NHMRC Indigenous Internship Program
NHMRC’s Indigenous internship program between provides a wide range of opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to gain insight into the work of NHMRC. Places are open in the Canberra and Melbourne offices.

NHMRC corporate plan now available
The NHMRC Corporate Plan 2017–2018 has been released, covering the period 2017–18 to 2020–21.

4. MRFF update

Two MRFF competitive schemes are currently open for applications – apply through NHMRC
Application rounds for the Lifting the Clinical Trials Capacity Grant Program and the Targeted Calls for Research on Antimicrobial Resistance are currently open through the NHMRC. Minimum data is due 20th September, final applications are due 4th October.

ACTA is recruiting for three senior positions in MRFF-funded expansion
The Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) is recruiting for three new senior positions– CEO, Senior Program Manager and Operations and Finance Manager – as part of its expansion following the allocation of three-years of funding commencing in 2017-2018 from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

Stay in the loop on MRFF announcements and grant information
The AAMRI website has the latest news on the MRFF, including up-to-date information on MRFF competitive grant schemes and where to apply.

5.  Sector news

$20M Federal Government commitment to Zero Childhood Cancer Initiative
The Health Minister, Greg Hunt, announced the start of ground breaking clinical trials into childhood cancers. These clinical trials are supported by $20M from Zero Childhood Cancer initiative. Led by AAMRI Member, Children’s Cancer Institute and The Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick, the initiative brings together a national network of hospitals, research centres and clinicians across Australia.

NSW: $2.46 million government grant for genomic research into cause of bipolar disorder
NSW Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, and Minister for Mental Health, Tanya Davies, announced the $2.46m NSW Genomics Collaborative Grant for a project will use genetic mapping to determine if those affected with bipolar disorder could benefit from personalised treatment. This collaboration, led by Dr Janice Fullerton at NeuRA, as well as researchers at the Sax Institute, NeuRA, Black Dog Institute, UNSW and the Prince of Wales Hospital.

Labor promises to invest $20M in cancer research at the Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute
The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, Shadow Health Minister, Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services announced that a future Labor Government would make a $20M investment in AAMRI member, the Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute, to boost research into advanced breast cancer and brain cancer.

Congratulations to the Eureka Prize Winners for 2017!
The winners of the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes were announced on the 30th August. Among the winners was the Scabies research team, comprising researchers from Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, the Kirby Institute, St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, and Menzies School of Health Research, who were awarded the Eureka Prize for Infectious Disease Research.

$13.3M from the BTF will fund 3 new medical breakthrough technologies

A total of $13.3 million will be invested in 3 new breakthrough medical technologies – a hands-free robotic device to help severely disabled people walk (Rex Bionics – $5M), neuromodulation technology for people suffering severe back pain (Saluda Medical – $3.3M), and data services for makers of ‘smart’ medical devices (CHARM Informatics – $5M).

Major new measures to help combat rare cancers in children
The Health Minister announced that a new initiative, AIM BRAIN, which will help fight rare brain cancers, will be accessible to Australian kids on 31st October, 2017. The study will be co-funded by the Australian Government as part of a $79M Budget commitment and the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation.

Professional Scientists Australia remuneration and employment survey now open
The most comprehensive annual survey of scientists remuneration and employment conditions closes on 30 September.

6.  Reports and resources

New ACNC factsheet and FAQs for MRIs
The Australian Charity and Non profits Commission (ACNC) has put together a special factsheet for MRIs on their regulatory obligations.

Australia Speaks! report tells us that the Australian public values medical research
Research Australia has released their report, Australia Speaks!, summarising the findings from their annual public poll on medical research.

Check out AIHW’s new website!
The Australian Institute for Health and Welfare has a brand new user-friendly website, which went live on 6th September.

Bill & Melinda Gates release their Goalkeepers report to track impact of funds on global health
This report tracks 18 data points included in the sustainable development goals that are fundamental to people’s health and well-being.

7.  Funding & award opportunities

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Postdoctoral Fellowships
The Australian Academy of Science (AAS) invites applications from Australian researchers up to 6 years post-PhD for the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Postdoctoral Fellowships. Deadline for applications is 5pm (AEDT) Monday 30 October.

Two MRFF competitive schemes are currently open for applications – apply through NHMRC
Final applications are due 4 October.

National Science Week Grants now open!
Applications are now open for grants of up to $20,000 to support events in National Science Week 2018. Applications close 12 October, 2017.

Australia-China Science and Research Fund (ACSRF) Joint Research Centres
Applications are now open for Round 3 of the Australia-China Science and Research Fund (ACSRF) – Joint Research Centres (JRC) Apply via AusIndustry by 15 November, 2017.

8.  Events & conferences

Webinar on Connecting Open Access Movements (11am AEST Friday 22nd September)
The Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG) are hosting a webinar entitled From open access to access to knowledge: connecting movements to democratise knowledge. The webinar will explore how there are many different aspects of the open access movement that could benefit from joining together.

OneVentures is searching for transformative companies at AusBiotech 2017 (27 October, Adelaide)
OneVentures is looking for companies commercialising medical devices, diagnostics and pharmaceuticals to apply for a private meeting with members of the OneVentures $170M Healthcare Fund III team on Friday 27 October 2017 at AusBiotech 2017 in Adelaide (25-27 October, 2017).

Register now for the 6th Annual NHMRC Symposium on Research Translation co-hosted with the Lowitja Institute (14-15 November, Brisbane)
The theme for this year’s NHMRC symposium is The Butterfly Effect: Translating Knowledge into Action for Positive Change, bringing together expertise on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research translation. Early bird registrations close Friday 20 October 2017.

Science Meets Business – Win a spot for your Soapbox Pitch in Sydney
Science & Technology Australia (STA) invite you to submit a 150-word pitch for the chance to give your soapbox pitch at this year’s Science meets Business in Sydney (9th November). Three winners will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas at the event to create new partnerships and new commercialisation ventures. Submit your entry by Friday 22 September.

Medtech 17 (1-2 November, Sydney)
The Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA) Annual Conference (1-2 November, Doltone House, Jones Bay Wharf, Sydney) provides a unique opportunity for industry professionals to gather and exchange ideas and insights with their peers and other leaders within the medical technology community. The theme for 2017 is “The Value of Medical Technology to a Healthier Australia”.