AAMRI e-news December 2018

AAMRI e-news December 2018

13th December, 2018

In this issue

  1. AAMRI news – Welcome new AAMRI President Professor Perkovic
  2. Government update –  Updates and consultations in progress
  3. NHMRC updates – Awards now open
  4. Sector news –  Funding updates and appointments
  5. Reports & resources – Aust Govt funding arrangement for non-NHMRC research
  6. Grant & award opportunities – Key deadlines in December and early 2019
  7. Events, conferences & training opportunities

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

1. AAMRI news

Welcome new AAMRI President – Professor Vlado Perkovic

On 27 November at the 2018 AAMRI AGM, Professor Perkovic was officially appointed President of AAMRI. He brings a wealth of experience, having led The George Institute for Global Health, Australia, since 2011. He leads major international clinical trials and has been involved in developing Australian and global treatment guidelines. He also played a central role in the development of an affordable dialysis system and was a Eureka Prize finalist in 2017.

His broad clinical and research experience combined with his extensive leadership experience make him an ideal President of AAMRI. Read more on our website.

2018 AAMRI Annual Convention & Dinner Nov 26 & 27 – wrap up

Over two big days in Canberra our annual Convention was attended by more than 130 delegates, covering a broad range of topics from cyber risk, data management and funding models, to a strategic overview of innovation, science and research and predictions of what’s next in medical research.

On monday afternoon we held a live-recorded panel discussion for ABC Radio National Health Report, hosted by Dr Norman Swan titled ‘What Can Medical Research Achieve Over The Next 25 Years’? You can listen to it now on the Health Report Podcast.

The Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare, The Hon Catherine King MP spoke to the 190 guests at the AAMRI Dinner at Parliament House. We also announced the winner of the CSL Florey Next Generation Award, Dr Hamish Graham from MCRI, congratulations to Hamish and all three finalists on their excellent research and submissions. At the AAMRI President’s Breakfast we also heard from the Health Minister, the Hon Greg Hunt MP.

Recordings of select talks from the conference will be available on our website shortly.

Pictured below (L-R), Image 1: Dr Andrea Douglas (CSL), Dr Hamish Graham (MCRI), Dr Naomi Clarke (ANR) and Dean Picone (Menzies).
Image 2: AAMRI Dinner in the Great Hall at Parliament House, Canberra.
Image 3: Professor Tony Cunningham AO, The Hon Catherine King MP, Professor Vlado Perkovic.

AAMRI welcomes amended Electoral Funding Bill

AAMRI welcomed the news that medical research institutes and other charities will not, as earlier feared following the release of proprosed legislation, lose the ability to speak out on public policy issues or be administratively hampered when receiving vital international research grants. AAMRI had previously raised concerns about the Bill in its submission to and appearance before a parliamentary inquiry.

AAMRI submissions:

AAMRI feedback on the NHMRC’s draft guides for Authorship and Management of Data and Information in Research

AAMRI provided feedback to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) on two draft guides that support the 2018 Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research:

  1. Guide to Authorship
  2. Guide to Management of Data and Information in Research.

These two guides form part of a series of guides supporting the Code. Our submission can be read in full on our website.

AAMRI submission to NHMRC targeted consultation on the draft guide for Payment of Participants in Research

AAMRI has responded to the NHMRC’s targeted consultation on the draft guide, Payment of Participants in Research: information for researchers, HRECs and other ethics review bodies. In response to survey questions, AAMRI supports the non-market based approach to payment outlined in the guide, as it reinforces the partnership and collaboration between researchers and participants in research.

2.  Government and policy update 


Public consultation is underway on draft IP regulations

IP Australia has released draft regulations for public comment. These regulations are associated with the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission Response Part 2 and Other Measures) Bill 2018.

Review of the Higher Education Provider Category Standards

The Standards define different categories of higher education providers, and requirements expected of them, for registration by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency. A review is now underway into the standards, including what standards need to be reached to be classified as a university. A discussion paper has recently been released and submissions are due by 8 March 2019.

Review of the Quality Use of Medicines Program’s Delivery by the National Prescribing Service (NPS MedicineWise)

The Department of Health invites submissions to inform the Review of the Quality Use of Medicines Program’s delivery by NPS MedicineWise. The purpose of this consultation is to seek broad stakeholder and community feedback to inform future Australian government policy settings for the delivery of the Quality Use of Medicines program. Closes 24 January 2019.


External Conduct Standards regulations set to begin from July 2019

Late last year, the Federal Government announced a series of major reforms to the oversight of charities operating overseas and organisations with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status. Charities that work overseas will be subject to new standards of governance, called External Conduct Standards. In late November, the proposed External Conduct Standards were tabled in Parliament. Unless they are disallowed, the External Conduct Standards will come into effect on 1 July 2019 and operate in addition to the existing ACNC Governance Standards.

ACNC releases new guide on gifts and honorariums

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has released new guidance aimed at helping charities that wish to provide gifts or honorariums to people in their organisation. It contains a useful series of questions charities should ask themselves before providing a gift or honorarium.

Policy update

Review into Australian Government Funding Arrangements for non-NHMRC Research

The Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training tabled its report, Australian Government Funding Arrangements for non-NHMRC research on 26 November. The report identifies ways to simplify research funding application and assessment processes, particularly for university researchers. In line with submissions made by AAMRI, the Committee recommended that all government research funding opportunities should be open to all, irrespective of the type of research organisation applying.

Professional Scientists Employment and Remuneration Report

Science & Technology Australia (STA) and Professionals Australia conducted its annual Scientists Employment and Remuneration Survey of thousands of Australian science, technology, engineering and maths professionals earlier this year. They found the gender pay gap is more pronounced in science than the broader Australian workforce, and more than two-thirds of scientists believe cost-cutting is imperiling the nation’s capacity to stay internationally competitive.

Stillbirth Research and Education – Report

In March this year 2018 the Senate established the Select Committee on Stillbirth Research and Education to inquire into and report on the future of stillbirth research and education in Australia. The committee tabled its report on 4 December 2018.

3. NHMRC update

NHMRC Awards

NHMRC recognises excellence in the health and medical research sector through its annual Research Excellence Awards and celebrates leadership and outstanding contributions to the sector though its biennial awards. Award nominations are now open, details available on the NHMRC website.

Survey of clinician researchers – Invitation to participate

NHMRC has launched its 2018 survey of clinician researchers which is being conducted by ORIMA Research, an independent market and social research company. The survey is open to clinician researchers in medicine, nursing and allied health.

Guidelines for Guidelines

NHMRC is updating its advice on how to develop trustworthy clinical practice, public health and environmental health guidelines. Public consultation is now sought on a number of draft modules at NHMRC’s ‘Guidelines for Guidelines, developed for guideline developers wishing to meet the NHMRC Standards for Guidelines and improve the quality of their guidelines. Consultation closes 5pm (AEDT) on 6 February 2019.

NHMRC funding opportunities can be found in the grants and awards update below.

4.  Sector news

Fifteen institutions recognised for gender equity and diversity efforts

Fifteen Australian institutions have been recognised for their efforts to improve gender equity and diversity, receiving the inaugural Athena SWAN Bronze Awards from Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE). It was great to see AAMRI members the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute on the list of award recipients.

Superstars of STEM shoot for the stars

Sixty outstanding women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have been selected to participate in the second round of the Superstars of STEM program. Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the launch of the new group is a significant step in promoting gender equity in STEM.

Labor policy announcements

Medical research institutes welcomed Labor’s commitment to increase Australia’s research investment, and their plan to place science and research at the top of the political agenda. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced in late November that a Labor Government would seek to raise Australia’s R&D investment for research to 3% by 2030, currently at 1.9%. Internationally this would place Australia in the top investors by GDP.

On November 21, The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP also announced a proposed $8m to early childhood, health & social services research and data lab in Logan.

Funding awarded:


STA new Executive Committee members

Science & Technology Australia (STA) new executive members elected on 22 November 2018 include:

  • Dr Jeremy Brownlie – elected as President-elec
  • Dr Sue Barrell – elected as Vice-President
  • Associate Professor Sharath Sriram – elected as Chair of Policy
  • Dr Sumeet Walia – elected as Early Career Representative
  • Dr Darren Saunders – re-elected as Secretary.

5.  Reports and resources

The Third Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation 2018

The Atlas, released 11 December 2018, investigates healthcare use in four clinical areas: paediatric and neonatal health, cardiac tests, thyroid investigations and treatments, and gastrointestinal investigations and treatments.

From the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

6.  Grant & award opportunities

ARC Future Fellowships for funding commencing in 2019

The Future Fellowships grant opportunity provides support for excellent mid-career researchers to undertake high quality research in areas of national and international benefit. Closes 5pm (ACT local time) – 21 December 2018.

Mito Foundation Booster Grants

The Mito Foundation has made funds available for research into mitochondrial disease (mito) as part of its new Medical and Research Funding Strategy. Closes 7 January 2019. 

Investigator Grants 2019

The objective of the Investigator Grant scheme is to support the research program of outstanding investigators at all career stages. It will consolidate separate salary and research support into a single grant scheme by offering a salary component (if required) and a research support package (RSP).
Minimum Data due by 5pm AEDT 16 January 2019. Closes 06 February 2019.

The Medical Research Future Fund – Keeping Australians Out of Hospital Grant

This grant opportunity will support research into evidence-based, implementable and scalable preventive health measures that aim to prevent the development, or promote better management of complex and chronic health conditions, improve quality of life for people with these conditions and keep them out of hospital. Minimum data due 5pm AEDT, 16 January 2019. Closes 30 January 2019.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Export Hubs

The SME grant opportunity will support SME Export Hubs in the development of local, regional and Indigenous brands through business collaborations in the identified areas of competitive strength. Closes 5pm (ACT local time), 21 January 2019.

Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF)

Provides Australian researchers with funding of up to $500,000 to support collaborative science and technology research projects with Indian counterparts that are of mutual benefit to Australia and India. Applications close: 5pm AEDT, 23 January 2019. 

Targeted Call for Research into Frailty in Hospital Care: Complex Health Care

This TCR aims to support research that addresses the following question: How can frail persons be supported to safely avoid hospitalisations, receive optimal care when admitted and achieve the best health recovery outcomes through integrated and coordinated in- and post-hospital interventions? Closing 5pm (ACT local time) 30 January 2019.

Medical Research Future Fund – Million Minds Mission Grant Opportunity

This grant opportunity will support multidisciplinary teams of researchers to undertake collaborative, patient-focussed research that is transformative, scalable and demonstrates the greatest improvement on health outcomes and translation into policy and/or practice. The grant opportunity will provide up to $25m over five years. Minimum data due 5pm, 06 February 2019, closes 20 Feb 2019.

Medical Research Future Fund – Targeted Health System and Community Organisation Research Grant Opportunity

This grant opportunity will support research to address questions that focus on comparative effectiveness of health services and areas of health system practice with low or insubstantial evidence, and gaps in knowledge and evidence relating to health system problems important to the public, providing opportunities to explore consumer-driven research. Closes 5pm (ACT local time) 06 February 2019.

NHMRC Targeted Call for Research into Nutrition in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

The aim of implementing this call is to provide funding for rigorous, culturally-safe and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led research into improving the nutritional health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Minimum data closes 5pm AEDT, Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019. Closes 6 March 2019.

Medical Research Future Fund Frontier Health and Medical Research Program Stage One – Research Plan

Provides medical researchers with up to $1m to develop detailed research plans for significant research projects in the health and medical research sector that are innovative at a global level and have great potential to have a transformative impact on health care. Applications close 5pm AEDT, 26 February 2019.

ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award for funding commencing in 2020

The grant opportunity provides focused research support for early career researchers in both teaching and research, and research-only positions. Closes 5pm (ACT local time) – 13 March 2019.

MRFF – International Clinical Trial Collaborations

Support for Australian research teams to conduct clinical trial research in collaboration with international counterparts. Provides $42m over four years. Closes 5pm (ACT local time) – 20 April 2022.

7.  Events, conferences & training opportunities

Congresses, Symposiums & Summits

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.