AAMRI e-news January/February 2019

AAMRI e-news January/February 2019

30th January, 2019


In this issue

  1. AAMRI news – Australia Day Honours Recipients, 2018-19 MYEFO update
  2. Government update –  Consultations underway and new government appointments
  3. NHMRC updates – Gender equality strategy
  4. Sector news –  recent election promises, MRIs succeeding with commercialisation, and recent major funding announcements
  5. Reports & resources – Guidelines for complying with the amended Commonwealth Electoral Act
  6. Grant & award opportunities – Key deadlines for NHMRC, MRFF and other funding opportunities
  7. Events, conferences & training opportunities – ACTA workshops

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

1. AAMRI news

2019 Australia Day Honours recipients

Congratulations to all the recipients of Australia Day Honours. A number of our member institute directors, scientists and supporters were awarded honours: Kathryn North AC (Director, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute), Olivia Newton-John AC (supporter of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute), Peter Schofield AO (Director, NeuRA), Helen Christensen AO (Director, Black Dog Institute), Sharon Lewin (Director, Doherty Institute), and Carol Armour AM (Director, Woolcock Institute).

We’ve compiled a list on our website of all those awarded honours for their services to medical research and education.

2018-19 MYEFO update

The Treasurer has released the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) for 2018-19.

There were no changes announced to either the capitalisation of the MRFF, funding of the NHMRC, or funding of the ARC. This means the MRFF remains on track to be fully capitalised by 2020-21.

While it was a quiet MYEFO for medical research, some details relating to the previously flagged reduction in future growth to university research block grants has also been outlined. A summary of the main announcements is provided on the AAMRI website.

AAMRI Networks: connecting medical research institute professional staff

AAMRI Networks provide a forum for professional staff working at our member MRIs to connect and share ideas, as many staff members face common challenges that are often specific to medical research institutes. AAMRI currently has five active networks – IT, HR Managers, Research Administration Officers (RAO), Research Governance and Research Strategy. Each network has an annual event for members to meet in person. For more information about AAMRI networks and how to join

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.

2018 AAMRI Convention: photos and presentations

Presentations from the 2018 AAMRI Convention are now available on the AAMRI website. This includes talks on digital transformation, protecting digital health data, and new funding models for MRIs, as well as addresses by both the Health Minister and the Shadow Health Minister.

2.  Government and policy update 


Priorities for the 2019-20 Budget

The Assistant Minister for Treasury and Finance called for submissions from individuals, businesses and community groups seeking their views regarding priorities for the 2019-20 Budget. Closing date 1 Feb 2019. AAMRI will be putting forward a submission calling for the full $20 billion capitalisation of the MRFF, as well as continued strong support for the NHMRC.

TGA consultation: Good Clinical Practice Inspections Program

The purpose of this consultation is to outline the rationale for introducing a domestic GCP Inspections Program for clinical trials conducted in Australia under the Clinical Trial Notification (CTN) or Clinical Trial Exemption (CTX) schemes. Consultation documents are available on the TGA website and comments should be sent through to the TGA by 22 February.

Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety invites interested members of the public and institutions to make submissions to the Royal Commission. The Royal Commission will continue to accept submissions until at least the end of June 2019.

Victorian Royal Commission into Mental Health

The Victorian Government has announced a Royal Commission into Mental Health. Prior to its commencement, the Government is consulting on the Terms of Reference. AAMRI has put forward a submission calling for mental health research to be used to guide the findings of the Commission. Further details on the submission process will be made available in due course.

Mental Health Inquiry Issues paper – The Social and Economic Benefits of Improving Mental Health

The Productivity Commission is undertaking an inquiry into the social and economic benefits of improving mental health. Initial comments on the Issues Paper are due by 5 April 2019.

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Review

The Australian Qualifications Framework is now under review. This framework covers all qualifications, including research degrees. Submissions close on 15 March 2019.

Draft for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Advisory Committee Report

NHMRC’s ME/CFS Advisory Committee draft report is now available. Comments on the report should be provided by 18 February 2019.

Potential reclassification of active medical devices for diagnosis and patient therapy

The TGA are consulting on the potential reclassification of active medical devices for diagnosis and patient therapy. Submissions close on 18 February 2019.

Proposal to introduce a Unique Device Identification (UDI) system for medical devices in Australia

The TGA are exploring the feasibility of introducing the UDI System in Australia, including options for development of the UDI database (AusUDID). Feedback is due by 18 February 2019.


New members appointed to National Science and Technology Advisory Council

Six prominent scientists have been appointed to the new National Science and Technology Advisory Council. The Council will focus on the key science and technology challenges facing Australia, providing expert advice on issues such as health, emerging technologies and education.

New Board Chair and five Board members for Innovation and Science Australia

  • Mr Andrew Stevens has been appointed as incoming Chair
  • New Board members are Dr Alan Finkel AO, Professor Elanor Huntington, Professor Raoul Mortley AO
  • Ms Maile Carnegie and Mr Paul Bassat have been reappointed.

3. NHMRC update

Additional funding from NHMRC for Australia’s top female researchers

To help tackle the disparity between male and female funding rates in the Project Grants program the NHMRC has announced it is funding an additional 31 women lead investigators in 2018. This reduces the difference in the funding rate between men and women to around one per cent.

Invitation to participate in the 2018 NHMRC Survey of Clinician Researchers

Participation in the project will assist NHMRC in building a better understanding of the clinician researcher population in Australia. For information on how to participate, click here to view the Participant Information Sheet. Access the survey here until 1 February 2019.

4.  Sector news

Election funding promises:

We’ll be tracking election funding commitments in the lead up to the federal election, which is expected to be in May. Recent announcements include:

National Survey of Research Commercialisation – great results from MRIs

The latest results of the National Survey of Research Commercialisation show that MRIs are outstanding achievers at commercialising medical research. This great work commercialisation work results in additional medical research dollars being reinvested back into new medical research projects. In the most recent survey 5 of the top 20 research organisations were medical research institutes.

Unlocking the value from publicly funded Clinical Research Data

CSIRO and the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) are seeking to engage with the medical research community in developing a ‘National framework for capturing value from clinical data’. They will be running a series of workshops to gain sector feedback. For more information please see the project proposal. If you or your organisation are interested in participating in these workshops please contact Kate LeMay at ARDC, kate.lemay@ardc.edu.au. Further details will be announced in early 2019.

Funding awarded:

5.  Reports and resources

Guidelines for complying with the amended Commonwealth Electoral Act

Some changes have been made to election funding and disclosure laws in the Commonwealth Electoral Act. Any organisations undertaking political campaigning should make themselves aware of the new requirements, particularly relating to electoral expenditure and foreign donations.

Australian Government response to Senate Select Committee interim report into Red Tape

The report ‘The effect of red tape on health services’ was released in December 2018 and is now available online.

From the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

6.  Grant & award opportunities

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.

NHMRC 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). Closes 6 February 2019.

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

This call 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.

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 February 2019. Closes 6 March 2019.

NHMRC Targeted Call for Research into Per- and Poly- Fluoroalkylated Substances

The aims of this call are to increase understanding of the acute and long term potential human health effects from exposure to PFAS chemicals and to inform appropriate responses to managing or reducing human exposure to PFAS. Minimum data closes 5pm (AEST) 17 April 2019, closes 01 May 2019.

NHMRC Participation in the next e-ASIA call for research

The NHMRC e-ASIA Joint Research Program scheme (NHMRC-e-ASIA JRP scheme) will support Australian participation and collaboration in leading international collaborative research through the e-ASIA Joint Research Program. A workshop for researchers to assist in developing collaborative research proposals for submission to the e-ASIA JRP health call is scheduled on 4-5 March 2019 in Singapore. Potential applicants to the JRP may be interested to attend. Minimum data due 03 April 2019, application close 14 May 2019.

MRFF – 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. Closes 30 January 2019.

MRFF – 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, 20 February 2019, closes 20 Feb 2019.

MRFF – 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) 6 February 2019.

MRFF 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.

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. Minimum data is due on 27 March 2019. 

Round 7 of the NSW Medical Devices Fund

More than $8 million in funding is available for this round. The Medical Devices Fund is a competitive technology program which helps encourage and support investment in the development and commercialisation of medical devices and related technologies in NSW. Closing date for preliminary applications – 5 February 2019.

JDRF 2019 Travel Grants & Phd Top-Up Scholarships 

Grants are now available for early-stage & mid-career researchers and allied health/nursing professionals for grants for domestic or international travel to research institutions or scientific meetings for furthering expertise in the field of type 1 diabetes. Please refer to the JDRF travel grants page for further information and application form. Applications are also open for the JDRF PhD Top-up Scholarships. Deadline for both is 28 February 2019.

European Union Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND)

JPND has opened a new funding call that will enable Australian researchers to join international collaborations and contribute to global dementia research. Pre-proposals must be submitted no later than 15:00h C.E.T. on 12 March, 2019, via the electronic submission tool.

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.

Ovarian Cancer Research Grants

The Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation has just opened their applications for the 2019 Research Grant Round – closing 5pm AEST,  22 March 2019.

7.  Events, conferences & training opportunities

Training opportunities

The BridgeTech Program – applications open

Queensland University of Technology, in collaboration with MTPConnect and 19 university and industry partners and organisations in the medical-biotechnology sector, will be delivering the second year of this education program. Registrations are now open for the 2019 offering of the BridgeTech Program which will select up to 100 participants from across Australia to take part in face-to-face and online training in the scientific, legal, financial, clinical, regulatory and reimbursement disciplines that contribute to research translation and the commercialisation of medical devices and diagnostics. Expressions of interest are due by 1 March 2019.


The Australian Clinical Trials Alliance – workshops and seminars

ACTA invite you to join your clinician-researcher peers and eminent experts for one or more of these workshops:

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.

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

This biennial forum hosted by the Heart Foundation will bring together health professionals from a wide range of disciplines to try and improve heart health outcomes for women.