AAMRI eNews 2nd edition 2017

AAMRI eNews 2nd edition 2017

15th March, 2017

In this issue

  1. AAMRI news – Health Minister visit, Research Conduct submission, and more
  2. Government update – Oz/NZ science and innovation treaty, and more
  3. NHMRC & ARC updates – NHMRC and ARC gender equity, and more
  4. Sector news – Diabetes innovation grants, and more
  5. Reports & resources
  6. Funding & award opportunities
  7. Events & conferences

1. AAMRI news

Health Minister visits AAMRI members

New Health Minister Greg Hunt toured Children’s Medical Research Institute and the Westmead Institute last week with AAMRI President, Professor Tony Cunningham AO and CMRI Director Professor Roger Reddel.
Minister Hunt had the following to say on Facebook after the visit:
“The integrated medical precinct at Westmead is one of the world’s biggest.
Today I met some of the key people responsible for delivering better health outcomes for people in Sydney and right across Australia.
They are doing excellent research work fighting the battle against ovarian cancer, diabetes and arrhythmia of the heart.
We not only believe in this approach, we back it.
That’s why, as part of our long-term National Health Plan, we have a rock solid commitment for hospitals and significant support for medical research, mental health and preventive health.”

AAMRI submission to the public consultation on the review of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
AAMRI has put forward a submission to the NHMRC public consultation on the proposed changes to the Code. Overall, the new approach to the Code is a great improvement and provides greater clarity and guidance to institutions, researchers and members of the community on how to ensure the good conduct of research. AAMRI’s submission outlines a number of areas where the Code could be improved further. In particular, AAMRI’s submissions calls for the retention of the term ‘research misconduct’ within the Code, and for external oversight of investigations into potential breaches of the Code.

AAMRI media releases on state government news
AAMRI put out three media releases on developments in state government funding and politics last month. Please see below in the Government Update for more information.

Video explainer on MRFF Priorities
AAMRI has released a new video explaining what the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities 2016-18 are. Please share this video far and wide.

Feasibility of developing an Australian PubMed Central
A sector working group has been established to consider the feasibility of developing an Australian PubMed Central. The PubMed model provides an opportunity for Australia to become a member of the global group of countries developing an open biomedical repository. The working group is keen to ensure medical research institutes are involved in the exploratory work, and have asked AAMRI to contact members and gauge interest. If you are interested in joining the working group please contact enquiries@aamri.org.au

AAMRI 2017 Convention and Dinner — venue confirmed
We have confirmed Hotel Realm as the venue for our 2017 Convention on 6 and 7 December, with the Dinner to be held in The Great Hall at Parliament House.
Please save the date in your diaries and we will confirm timings and open registrations soon.

2.  Government update 

Science and innovation treaty with New Zealand creates new opportunities
Industry, Innovation and Science Minister, Senator Arthur Sinodinos, and the New Zealand Minister for Economic Development, Transport and Communications, Simon Bridges, signed a treaty-level Science, Research and Innovation Cooperation Agreement at the Australia New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting in Queenstown on 17 February.
This is the first treaty of its kind between our countries and “formalises what has been a naturally close and enduring partnership”.

Plans to establish a women’s advisory roundtable
Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos will establish a women’s advisory roundtable to guide the Commonwealth policy related to gender diversity and equality issues in the science and innovation sectors. The advisory body will consist of female representatives from the private sector, research institutions and government including senior executives and practitioners, along with some “token blokes”.

Consultation: Reforms to the regulatory framework for complementary medicines: Assessment pathways
The Therapeutic Goods Administration is seeking comments from interested parties on a range of reforms to the regulatory framework for complementary medicines to address Government-agreed recommendations from the Review of Medicines and Medical Devices Regulation. Responses are due by 28 March.

Review of ATO advice on scholarships: discussion paper
This paper is to facilitate discussion and invite feedback so that the Australian Tax Office can provide clarity and certainty on the taxation of scholarships. It is anticipated the ATO will provide a ruling on the scholarship exemption, updating its guidance material on the ATO website, and adding further detail in the ATO tool “Is my scholarship taxable?”
The ATO seeks feedback on the approach suggested in this paper, and would benefit from knowing the details of current or contemplated scholarship arrangements.
Comments are due by 31 March.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Costs Issues paper
This paper outlines a range of issues about which the Commission is seeking information on costs associated with the NDIS. Initial submissions are due by 24 March. Opportunity for further comment will be sought upon release of the position paper in May 2017.

WA: medical research a winner in election of Labor Government
The election of a Labor Government on the weekend brings with it a promise of a $1.1 billion Future Health Research and Innovation Fund. According to the proposal, the current WA Future Fund would be re-purposed to create an investment fund, with the interest generated from this fund being made available, by application, for high quality research projects, and growing WA’s health and scientific communities as global leaders in medical research and innovation. AAMRI praised the proposal when it was first promised last month and congratulated the new government in a media release.

Vic: $20 million for cancer clinical trials
The Victorian Government has committed $20 million over four years for the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) alliance to deliver new clinical trials for cancer patients, as well as an additional $12.2 million to support cancer research projects through the latest Victorian Cancer Agency funding round. AAMRI put out a media release congratulating the Victorian Government on this.

NSW: $11.6 million boost for cancer research
Researchers working on cures for some of the most aggressive and prevalent cancers affecting both children and adults will benefit from $11.6 million boost in funding from the NSW Government. The funding includes 12 early career fellowships and six career development fellowships, as well as a translational program grant.


Gender Equity – A Priority for NHMRC
NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso AO put out a statement on gender equity to mark International Women’s Day last week. Professor Kelso also spoke at The Florey Institute on the topic. See AAMRI’s Twitter feed for some of her comments and slides.

ARC Gender Equality Action Plan 2017
The ARC is committed to ensuring that all eligible researchers, irrespective of gender, have the opportunity to participate in National Competitive Grants Program funding schemes. The ARC posted its 2017 Gender Equality Action Plan on International Women’s Day.

Structural Review of NHMRC’s Grant Program public submissions now available
A summary of the public consultation feedback on the NHMRC Structural Review is now available, with submissions for this consultation that were not marked as confidential being published.

Targeted Calls for Research Online Pathway
The NHMRC has created an online pathway for community and professional groups to submit proposals for research topics that may be progressed as a Targeted Call for Research. The pathway is open for submissions all year, with proposals reviewed bi-annually. Eligible proposals will be prioritised and considered by the NHMRC’s Research Committee. The final submission date for review in Cycle 1 2017 is 7 April.

The National Ethics Application Form (NEAF) has been replaced by the Human Research Ethics Application (HREA)
From 31 March, users will no longer be able to create new proposals using NEAF. Users can access their NEAF accounts to copy or export any proposal data they wish to keep up until 30 June 2017. The NEAF website will be decommissioned on 30 June 2017 and users will no longer have any access to NEAF. NEAF proposal data will not be retained.

4.  Sector news

AAMRI members winners in Innovation Award grants for diabetes
The Federal Government has awarded $4.5 million funding for three new promising research projects, two of which were awarded to the Garvan Institute and St Vincent’s Institute. The Innovation Award grants from the Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Network support projects that include at least one researcher from outside the field of type 1 diabetes, and are meant to promote collaboration between different areas of research specialisation.

Dementia research and national strategy critical, international expert says
President and CEO of the American Alzheimer’s Association Harry Johns has highlighted the critical need for more investment in dementia research and joined calls for a fully-funded National Dementia Strategy in Australia ahead of a lecture tour to coincide with National Brain Awareness Week. Mr Johns, whose national tour started in Melbourne yesterday, said more dementia research is an urgent international priority.

Peter Mac joins global collaboration for immune-based cancer treatments
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre will join Bristol Myers Squibb’s International Immuno-Oncology Network (II-ON) – a peer-to-peer network that aims to accelerate the advancement of cancer immunotherapies, the emerging “fourth pillar” of cancer treatment. Peter Mac is the first Australian representative on the 15-member network, which includes 250+ researchers and clinicians; 12 clinical trials already underway and 150 research projects across 20 different tumour types.

Australian scientist in Forbes 30 Under 30
A 28-year-old neuroscientist was included in the science and healthcare category of the Forbes 30 under 30 Europe list. She was the only Australian named in any of the 10 categories.

The year that changed hepatitis C forever
Recent research from The Kirby Institute showed that more than 8,970 people in NSW – or more than 1 in every 10 people living with hep C in the state – started treatment on a drug that can cure hepatitis C between March and September 2016, after it was listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Adding the past five months, Hepatitis NSW estimates that around 1 in every 7 people living with hep C in NSW began their journey to living hep C-free.

5.  Reports and resources

Elsevier examines research performance through a gender lens in global, cross-disciplinary study
Gender in the Global Research Landscape was produced by Elsevier in partnership with global experts to provide an analytical framework for better understanding the role of gender within the structure of the global research enterprise. Based on 20 years of data from Scopus and ScienceDirect – across 12 geographies and all 27 Scopus subject areas – the report is an evidence-based examination of global research performance through a gender lens.

National key performance indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care: preliminary results from May 2015
These preliminary results capture summary data from around 240 primary health care organisations that received funding from the Australian Government Department of Health to provide services primarily to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as at May 2015.

The battle for CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology: what patent applicants need to know
This article provides a brief overview of the CRISPR gene-editing technique and analyses the patent strategies employed by the two lead groups claiming this technique. It also provides some guidance for patent applicants based on analysis of the patent strategies adopted by the CRISPR teams.

Incidence of insulin-treated diabetes in Australia, 2015
This fact sheet provides the latest available national data on new cases of insulin-treated diabetes in Australia. The fact sheet is accompanied by a dynamic data display, which provides data on insulin-treated diabetes by age at first insulin use, Indigenous status, remoteness, and state/territory.

Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056
This report, commissioned by Alzheimer’s Australia, has found that if nothing is done to reduce the incidence of dementia, the condition will cost Australia more than $18 billion per year by 2025, in today’s dollars.

Low Vision, quality of life and independence: A review of the evidence on aids and technologies
This George Institute report highlights the evidence-base supporting the benefits of aids and technologies for those with vision loss and blindness in order to connect and engage with the world, maintain independence and enhance quality of life.

Hospitalisations for mental health conditions and intentional self-harm in 2014-15
Following the September 2016 release of the mental health report (2013-14), updated data for 2014-15 shows the rate of hospitalisations for mental health conditions and intentional self-harm increased compared with the previous year.

Healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections in 2015-16
This AIHW update includes new data on rates of healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections (Golden Staph) for Australian public hospitals in 2015-16. Major hospitals continue to record the highest rates of infections, which have been declining nationally over the past six years.

Deaths in Australian hospitals 2014-15
This AIHW report examines admitted patient care provided to those patients whose place of death was in an Australian hospital during 2014-15, noting just under half (76,856) of all deaths in Australia (153,580 in 2014) occurred in a hospital as admitted patients.

Discussion of ISA review
This article discusses the Performance Review of the Australian Innovation, Science and Research System 2016.

6.  Funding & award opportunities

Cooperative Research Centre Projects (CRC-Ps) grants
CRC-P grants support short term industry-led collaborations to develop important new technologies, products and services. CRC-Ps solve industry problems and deliver tangible outcomes. Applications for the latest round close on 22 March.

Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund grant applications open
This Victorian Government fund will support the translation of early stage health and medical research into better health outcomes for patients. Health services, industry, medical research institutes and education institutes with a focus on early research can now apply. The fund will also leverage funding from philanthropic, industry and international sources. Applications close 14 April.

2018 Australian Academy of Science Awards
Nominations and applications for the Academy’s 2018 honorific awards, research conferences, research awards and travelling fellowships are now open. The closing date for honorific awards is 20 April, the closing date for research conferences, research awards and travelling fellowships is 1 June.

Australian Gynaecological Cancer Foundation Fellowship
The successful applicant for this Fellowship will be an outstanding science, nursing, allied health or medical graduate who has completed a PhD within the past five years and seeks funding to undertake further research, directed towards improvement of understanding and/or management of gynaecological cancers. The Award will be a two-year grant allowing employment by a host institute with a salary package to the total value of $100,000 per year inclusive of superannuation. The Fellowship may also include an additional $10,000 per year for research support and up to $10,000 additional per year for conference travel and participation. Applications close 21 April.

Australian Museum Eureka Prizes now open
There are 16 awards in total, each sponsored by an Australian university, government organisation or industry partners, including awards for Outstanding Early Career Researcher, Innovative Use of Technology, Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers and Innovation in Citizen Science. Each award is a $10,000 prize.
To enter the awards, the team leader must be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident (but other team members do not have to be Australian) and the work must have been done within the last five years in Australia. Entries for all awards must be in by 5 May.

L’Oreal Australia: For Women in Science
Each year, this program recognises the achievements of exceptional female scientists at different stages of their careers and awards them with Fellowships to help further their research. There are four $25,000 Fellowships for early-career women scientists to consolidate their careers and rise to leadership positions in science. Applications are now open.

7.  Events & conferences

Epidemic Thunderstorm Asthma Symposium, Melbourne, 17 March, free
This symposium is for a wide range of disciplines including weather and pollen experts, asthma specialists, allergy specialists, primary care practitioners (GPs, practice nurses and chemists), scientists, government departments, asthma associations/ peak bodies health promotion professionals and academics.

CRC Business-Research Match-up expression of interest, Canberra, 24 May
Part of the Cooperative Research Centres Association annual conference, the CRC Association is inviting businesses to apply for the opportunity to attend the Match-up free of charge. The standard registration price for this day is $650.

2017 ATSE National Technology Challenges Dialogue, Brisbane, 14 June
The Dialogue will explore the health challenges of Australia’s ageing population. Entrepreneurs, decision makers, government officials, researchers, academics and business leaders will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and together explore topics including the opportunities and challenges of the shift towards personalised healthcare, and using technology to prepare for, adapt to, and mitigate the challenges of the evolving health sector.

Data61+LIVE, Melbourne, 28 June, free
Data61+LIVE brings together technology organisations, startups, universities and government to tackle nation-shaping issues. This year’s event will explore how data can be harnessed to create more jobs, generate deeper insights, and facilitate better decisions for Australia.