AAMRI e-news December 2019

AAMRI e-news December 2019

10th December, 2019

In this issue

  1. AAMRI news – AAMRI announces new Board, and Convention wrap up
  2. Government update – Consultations currently open
  3. Sector news –  Govt moves on plan to cut R&D tax incentive
  4. NHMRC update – Development Grants closing soon
  5. MRFF update – New funding rounds and grants announced
  6. Other funding & award opportunities – Women in Leadership Awards 2020
  7. Reports & resources – First Report – Victoria’s Mental Health System
  8. Events, conferences & training opportunities – Catalysing Gender Equity 2020

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 announces new Board and steps up to gender equity goals

AAMRI welcomed five new Board members in November from around Australia at our AGM in Canberra. AAMRI is delighted to announce their Board better represents the diversity of talent in medical research from women, with women now making up more than half of Board members (five women, three men). Read the full media release on our website.

L-R: Prof Jonathan Carapetis AM (President), Prof Alison Venn, Prof Sarah Robertson, Prof Peter Schofield AO, Scientia Prof Helen Christensen AO, Prof Thomas Kay, Prof Maxine Morand, Prof Elizabeth Hartland

2019 AAMRI Convention – Wrap up

Our 2019 AAMRI Convention was our biggest yet. An impressive number of our members’ staff and Boards, industry leaders, MPs and guest speakers joined us in Canberra over two days to analyse the big issues in our sector.

Our Strategy Meeting, attended by more than 120 delegates representing 44 of our 54 members, were joined by Chief Executive of the NHMRC, Professor Anne Kelso AO, as well as Professor Sir John Savill.

Above left: The Hon Greg Hunt MP at the AAMRI Dinner
Above right: AAMRI Dinner, CSL Florey Medal winner Prof David Vaux with Bernie Hobbs
We were joined by nearly 200 guests for the AAMRI Annual Dinner, with Professor Carapetis opening proceedings with a speech addressing areas we can work on together as a sector, and guest speaker the Minister for Health the Hon Greg Hunt MP spoke on celebrating successes in medical research and his vision for the future. You can read Prof Carapetis’s speech, and Minister’s Hunt’s speech online.

Congratulations to this year’s CSL Florey medallists, Professor Andreas Strasser and Professor David Vaux from WEHI for their work on the molecular mechanisms for cell death and their continued contributions to the development of cancer treatments.

Above left: CSL Florey Medal presentation with CSL Limited’s Prof Andrew Cuthbertson AO, The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Prof David Vaux
Above right: AAMRI President’s Breakfast with The Hon Chris Bowen MP
The Convention rounded off the next day with the AAMRI President’s Breakfast, with guest speaker the Hon Chris Bowen MP, the Shadow Minister for Health. Mr Bowen discussed his priorities in strengthening the Medical Research Future Fund, summing them up as:

  1. how the MRFF’s priorities are determined
  2. how grants themselves are awarded
  3. increasing transparency

A full transcript of the speech is available here.

AAMRI Submissions

AAMRI feedback on the 2019 NHMRC Investigator Grants Peer Review process

In this submission, AAMRI put forward feedback from medical researchers on the first round of the Investigator Grant scheme, particularly regarding the peer review process. The intention is that this feedback will assist the NHMRC with ongoing development and improvement of the grant program over the coming years. Read in full on our website.

The Research Impact Project

Last year AAMRI established a Research Impact Working Group to develop a framework that will enable medical research institutes to measure how their research contributes to knowledge, society, health and the economy. They are now recruiting for Phase 2 of the Project, if you would like to participate, please read below and register your interest.

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.

Fundraising and Philanthropy Inaugural Event – Feb 2020

One of AAMRI’s newest Member Networks has now locked in their inaugural event in Sydney early next year. The group are creating an exciting agenda for the day, covering key topics and also developing the strategic direction for the group. If your institute is not already involved, please contact Aimee Sanderson at AAMRI to join – all welcome with an interest in Fundraising and Philanthropy.

How to join our Networks

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 


Accelerating R&D in NSW

The NSW Government is inviting submissions from organisations and individuals in the R&D space in NSW to address how to get the most of our of the NSW Government’s R&D activity as well as support and improve it. Closes 13 Dec 2019.

Supervised Practice Framework

National Boards (excluding psychology and pharmacy) and AHPRA are carrying out a public consultation on the proposed Supervised practice framework as part of their project to enable a consistent, responsive and risk-based approach to supervised practice across the National Scheme. Closes 17 Dec 2019.

2020-21 Pre-Budget Submissions

The Government is calling for submissions from individuals, businesses and community groups seeking their views regarding priorities for the 2020-21 Budget. The Pre-Budget Submission Process for the 2020-21 Budget closes 20 Dec 2019.

Current barriers to patient access to medicinal cannabis in Australia

The committee will be examining the appropriateness of the current regulatory regime, the suitability of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for subsidising access to products and the training and education of doctors in relation to treatments. Closes 17 Jan 2020.

Mental Health Productivity Commission draft report – submissions invited

This is a draft report prepared for further public consultation and input. The Commission will finalise its report after these processes have taken place. The Commission welcomes post-draft submissions from interested parties by 23 Jan 2020.

Select Committee on Autism

In November 2019, the Senate resolved to establish a Select Committee on Autism to inquire into and report on the services, support and life outcomes for autistic people. The closing date for submissions is 14 April 2020.

3.  Sector news

Government moves on plan to cut R&D incentive

Legislation that would make changes to eligibility for the R&D tax incentive has been reintroduced to Parliament. Under the legislation a claim gap will bet set at $4 million, but with an exemption for clinical trials. AusBiotech has expressed its disappointment at the Bill’s reintroduction and has outlined the some of the changes. Read more from AusBiotech.

Winners of the 2019 Research Australia Health and Medical Research Awards

Congratulations to all nominees and winners of the 2019 Research Australia Health and Medical Awards. A special congratulations to our members who received acknowledgement. A full list of winners and those highly commended can be viewed here.

Funding announcements:

New appointments:

  • New appointment for National Science and Technology Council  – Professor Fiona Wood AM replaces Professor Ian Frazer AC
  • Prof Jason Kovacic has been appointed as the next Executive Director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute commencing March 2020, he replaces Prof Robert Graham

4.  NHMRC update

RAO seminar – presentation slides now available

The 2019 Research Administrators’ Seminar was held 29-30 October 2019 in association with the Australasian Research Management Society and in partnership with the Australian Research Council – the presentation slides are now available online.

Development Grants 2020 for funding in 2021

The objectives of the Development Grant scheme are to increase, facilitate and expedite the translation of health and medical research outcomes through to commercialisation. Minimum data date has passed, closes 5pm, 11 Dec 2019. Development Grants 2020 is now open for applications in Sapphire.

NHMRC Targeted Call for Research into Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

The intended aims are to develop a scientifically valid, evidence-based understanding of the pathophysiology and aetiology of ME/CFS. Minimum data closes 5pm (AEDT), 15 Jan 2020, closes 5pm, 29 Jan 2020.

Cochrane Round 8 Funding Program Guidelines 2019

The funding program will support one overarching organisation, to be known as Cochrane Australia, and at least six Australian based Cochrane Review Groups. Closes 5pm (ACT local time), 16 Dec 2019.

5.  MRFF update

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.

Four new Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) competitive grant opportunities opened in November that will fund new clinical trials through the Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Needs (RCRDUM) Initiative.

  1. Reproductive Cancers Clinical Trials – $15M
  2. Childhood Brain Cancer Clinical Trials – $5M
  3. Neurological Disorders Clinical Trials – $20M
  4. Rare Cancers Rare Diseases and Unmet Need Clinical Trials – $15M

All four application rounds are being managed through the NHMRC and will close on 5 February, 2020 (minimum data 22 January). Grant guidelines, eligibility and details on how to apply for each scheme are available on GrantConnect.

Other upcoming opportunities

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.

BioMedTech Horizons Program – round 3 application open

Expressions of interest are now open for grants of up to $1m to support development and commercialisation of cutting-edge new medical devices to address unmet clinical needs. Closes 5pm (AEDT), 16 Dec 2019.

6.  Other funding & award opportunities

Industrial Transformation Training Centres for funding commencing in 2020

The scheme fosters close partnerships between university-based researchers and other research end-users to provide innovative Higher Degree by Research and postdoctoral training, for end-user focused research industries that are vital to Australia’s future. Closes 5pm (ACT local time), 11 Dec 2019.

Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding commencing in 2020

The Industrial Transformation Research Hubs scheme engage Australia’s best researchers to develop collaborative solutions to Industrial Transformation Priorities and to train the future research workforce. Closes 5pm (ACT local time), 11 Dec 2019.

2020 Australian Science Policy Fellowship Program

The Science Policy Fellowship Pilot Program gives early- and mid-career scientists the opportunity to work in a Commonwealth Government department, to learn about the policy-making process and to provide a pathway for scientists to become skilled policy practitioners. Closes 13 Jan 2020.

Women in Leadership Awards 2020

These awards recognise and champion women, at different stages of their careers, who have made outstanding contributions to advancing the biotechnology, medical technology and pharmaceutical sector. Open to members of the BioMelbourne Network, nominations close 11 Feb 2020.

The Jian Zhou Medal – nominations open

The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences has launched its first honorific award, the Jian Zhou Medal, which will be awarded annually to a rising star of Australian health and medical science. Closes 30 April 2020.

7.  Reports and resources

First Report – Victoria’s Mental Health System

The Royal Commission has made its first recommendations for change in an interim report given to the Victorian Government on 28 November 2019. It includes better support for Aboriginal Victorians and the development of a Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

From the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

8.  Events, conferences & training opportunities

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

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.

Catalysing Gender Equity 2020 – 20-21 Feb 2020 (Adelaide)

The Australian Academy of Science, in collaboration with SAGE, invites you to save the date for Catalysing Gender Equity 2020, a two-day outcome-driven conference guided by the Women in STEM Decadal Plan. Event and dinner registrations will open 25 November 2019.

Molecular Approaches to Malaria 2020 – 23-27 Feb (Victoria)

The Molecular Approaches to Malaria Conference 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.

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

For the first time, Peter Mac will proudly host GAP2020 next year. It is a global forum for the exploration of impactful, innovative ideas and research that underpin the effort to eradicate cancer. GAP2020 is a unique opportunity to hear from experts from Peter Mac and MD Anderson, along with national and international guests.

Dementia Research: Discovery, Innovation and Translation – Abstracts now open – 31 May – 2 June 2020 (Adelaide)

The Forum will consider the discoveries and innovation achieved by Australia’s dementia researchers as well as look forward to the task of translating research outcomes into practice.