AAMRI eNews 8th edition 2016

AAMRI eNews 8th edition 2016

11th October, 2016

In this issue

  1. AAMRI news – AAMRI Convention, submissions, and more
  2. Government update – Potential new innovation fund, Innovation Australia, and more
  3. NHMRC & ARC updates – NHMRC review panels, AHRTCs, and more
  4. Sector news – AAHMS Fellows appointed, and more
  5. Reports & resources
  6. Funding & award opportunities
  7. Events & conferences

1. AAMRI news

AAMRI Convention and Annual Dinner – 9 & 10 November
The AAMRI Convention program is now online, with one or two minor changes anticipated. Registrations have now closed and all accommodation at the Hyatt is booked out. Highlights include Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, speaking at our dinner on 9 November, and Professor Tony Cunningham from the Westmead Institute taking over as AAMRI President at our AGM on 10 November.

Public consultation on the R&D Tax Incentive Review report
The long anticipated review of the R&D Tax Incentive has been released by the Government for comment. The review puts forward six main findings, including a cap on the annual cash refund payable, an R&D intensity requirement, incentives to work with public sector research organisations (including MRIs), and incentives to employ PhD graduates. AAMRI is working with members to develop a response to the consultation.

AAMRI submission to the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap Capability Issues Paper
As part of the process to develop a National Research Infrastructure Roadmap, an Issues Paper was released for comment. AAMRI put forward a submission in response highlighting the importance of long-term and stable investment to deliver maximum value-for-money as well as the best scientific outcomes. The submission notes that to gain access to overseas research infrastructure Australia needs to have high quality research infrastructure of its own to make available in return.

2.  Government update 

New Innovation Fund on the horizon?
Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, is considering the launch of a new Commonwealth-backed venture fund to support Australian high-growth scale-ups and mid-tier innovators that have found it hard to raise capital in this country. The fund is expected to be at least $500 million, launched in early 2017, and would become the third such government-backed venture capital fund to be announced through the National Innovation and Science Agenda, following the creation of the $200 million CSIRO Innovation Fund, and the $500 million Biomedical Translation Fund.

International clout added to Innovation Australia Board
The Federal Government has added international experience to the board of Innovation Australia, appointing two overseas members to provide their perspective on the nation’s innovation and science agenda. Elizabeth Comstock (USA) and Saul Singer (Israel) have been appointed to the board until 2019.

Commonwealth Science Council fourth meeting
The Commonwealth Science Council held its fourth meeting in Canberra on 14 September. Members supported the Government’s decision to deliver a National Science Statement to articulate a strategic policy framework and vision for science and research.

Expert panel to help take higher education reform from paper to policy
The Minister for Education and Training has announced the establishment of an expert panel to help develop a future plan for Australia’s Higher Education system. The panel will work with the Minister to develop policy in response to the submissions received through the Driving Fairness, Innovation and Excellence in Australian Higher Education consultation paper released earlier this year.

Leap forward for Australian quantum computing
A $70 million agreement between the research community, business and the Federal Government has been signed for a consortium to develop a prototype silicon quantum integrated circuit – the first step in building a functional quantum computer. The Federal Government will contribute $25 million over five years, UNSW will contribute $25 million, and $10 million each will come from the Commonwealth Bank and Telstra.

Collaboration call from Bill Ferris
Bill Ferris AC, Chair of Innovation and Science Australia, has called for greater collaboration between Australian businesses and publicly funded research institutions in a speech delivered at the Westmead Research Hub.

Qld: Innovative approach to drive open data engagement in Queensland
Community feedback is encouraged as the Queensland Government shapes its first comprehensive Open Data Policy. In partnership with Open Data Institute Queensland, the government is using innovative techniques to generate broader engagement during consultation to capture more in-depth feedback.

WA: Training boost for WA researchers
Western Australia’s Chief Medical Officer has launched the first in a series of on-line training modules designed specifically to enhance the research skills of Western Australia’s health and medical researchers.

3. NHMRC & ARC

Nominate to participate in expert review panels for 2017 application rounds
Researchers are invited to nominate themselves to be considered for appointment to an NHMRC expert review panel(s) through RGMS. Nominations will close 28 October.

Advanced Health Research and Translation Centres (AHRTC): 2016 Call for submissions now open
In March 2015 the NHMRC recognised the first four AHRTCs. Submissions are now invited from further groups wishing to seek recognition as an AHRTC. Submissions close 6 December.

Centres for Innovation in Regional Health (CIRH): 2016 Call for submissions now open
The aim of the Centre for Innovation in Regional Health (CIRH) initiative is to encourage leadership in health research and translation of direct relevance and benefit to regional and remote areas of Australia. The NHMRC is inviting submissions from groups seeking recognition as a CIRH, with submissions closing 6 December.

Panel to advise on selection of next Australian Research Council CEO
A panel of eminent Australians will help identify a new CEO for the ARC. A national search will be undertaken by an executive recruiting organisation to identify potential candidates. A panel will then conduct interviews, before the Federal Government considers and makes a final decision on the new CEO.

Human Research Ethics Application (HREA) update
The NHMRC has an update on the beta testing phase; accessing the HREA after the beta testing phase, NHMRC’s work plan to develop the HREA following revision from the beta testing phase; and interactions with information management system vendors.

Draft NHMRC Information Paper: Effects of water fluoridation on dental and other health outcomes
The NHMRC’s draft Information Paper summarises its consideration of the evidence on the dental and other health effects of water fluoridation in Australia. Submissions close 13 October.

4.  Sector news

AAHMS appoints new fellows
The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS) held its second Annual Scientific Meeting at Translational Research Institute in Brisbane last week.  The meeting theme, “Bench to Bed and Back Again” reflected the needs to ‘join up’ the wide range of disciplines involved in health and medical research in Australia. Fifty new fellows were also appointed at the meeting, with many coming from AAMRI member institutes. Congratulations to the new fellows!

Collaborate with Texas Medical Centre
Austrade invites you to express your interest in attending an industry briefing on the US medical device and digital health sector from one of the largest concentrations of health institutes and organisations in the world, Texas Medical Centre (TMC). TMC will be in Australia 24 to 31 October to provide an overview of the American medtech ecosystem and introduce a collaboration opportunity to the Australian medtech sector.

New frontier in tropical health and medicine research
Australian research into tropical health and medicine received a major boost with the opening of a $31M world-class infectious diseases research facility at AAMRI member the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine last week.

Supporting regional collaboration on tropical disease research
In other tropical health news, the Federal Government announced $2 million over two years for Darwin’s Menzies School of Health Research to advance research into the prevention, detection and treatment of multi-drug resistant malaria and TB. The Menzies School will work with the Burnet Institute, both AAMRI members, as well as partners in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.

CSIRO to grow its investment in new areas of science to more than $52m per year
CSIRO will grow its investment in new areas of breakthrough science to more than $52 million per year by 2020. The creation of six Future Science Platforms will underpin innovation in health and biology, resources, agriculture and manufacturing, have the potential to support the reinvention and creation of new industries and new jobs for Australia.

Funding boost for heart transplant research
A $1.3 million funding boost will support research to improve the lives of Queenslanders with end stage heart and lung failure, and those needing a heart or lung transplant.

4.  Sector news

AAHMS appoints new fellows
The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS) held its second Annual Scientific Meeting at TRI in Brisbane last week.  The meeting theme, “Bench to Bed and Back Again” reflected the needs to ‘join up’ the wide range of disciplines involved in health and medical research in Australia. Fifty new fellows were also appointed at the meeting, with many coming from AAMRI member institutes. Congratulations to the new fellows!

Collaborate with Texas Medical Centre
Austrade invites you to express your interest in attending an industry briefing on the US medical device and digital health sector from one of the largest concentrations of health institutes and organisations in the world, Texas Medical Centre (TMC). TMC representatives will be in Australia 24 to 31 October to provide an overview of the American medtech ecosystem and introduce a collaboration opportunity to the Australian medtech sector.

New frontier in tropical health and medicine research
Australian research into tropical health and medicine received a major boost with the opening of a $31M world-class infectious diseases research facility at AAMRI member the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine last week.

Supporting regional collaboration on tropical disease research
In other tropical health news, the Federal Government announced $2 million over two years for Darwin’s Menzies School of Health Research to advance research into the prevention, detection and treatment of multi-drug resistant malaria and TB. The Menzies School will work with the Burnet Institute, both AAMRI members, as well as partners in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.

CSIRO to grow its investment in new areas of science to more than $52m per year
CSIRO will grow its investment in new areas of breakthrough science to more than $52 million per year by 2020. The creation of six Future Science Platforms will underpin innovation in health and biology, resources, agriculture and manufacturing, and have the potential to support the reinvention and creation of new industries and new jobs for Australia.

Funding boost for heart transplant research
A $1.3 million funding boost will support research to improve the lives of Queenslanders with end-stage heart and lung failure, and those needing a heart or lung transplant.

5.  Reports and resources

Australia’s Health 2016
Australia’s Health 2016 is the 15th biennial health report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). This edition profiles current health issues in a collection of feature articles and statistical snapshots that cover a range of areas, including: The health status of Australians; Health expenditure; The major causes of ill health; Determinants of health; Health through the life course; Health of Indigenous Australians; Preventing and treating ill health; and Health system performance.

Latest health spending figures reveal mixed trends
Growth in Australia’s spending on health remains slow, but health now represents a greater proportion of the economy than ever before, according to a new report from the AIHW. Health expenditure Australia 2014–15 shows that $161.6 billion was spent on health goods and services in 2014–15. While this was $4.4 billion (2.8%) higher in real terms than in the previous year, it is the third consecutive year that growth was below the 10-year average of 4.6%. Despite this, health spending reached 10% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the first time.

Dementia deaths continue to rise as population ages
Heart disease has been Australia’s leading cause of death since the early part of the 20th century, but that could be set to change as dementia death rates continue to rise, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). There were 159,052 deaths in Australia, with the infant mortality rate at a record low (3.2 deaths per 1,000 live births) and the standardised death rate remaining low at 5.5 deaths per 1,000 people.

AIHW Report: Incidence of end-stage kidney disease in Australia 1997–2013
This report builds on an established method for estimating the incidence of end-stage kidney disease and indicates that for every new case treated with dialysis or transplant there is one that is not. The incidence rates of end-stage kidney disease are highest among those aged 75 and over.

6.  Funding & award opportunities

Dementia research scholarships
Four PhD Scholarships in dementia research are on offer in Round 2 of the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation 2016 Dementia Grants Program. The scholarships are each valued at $30,000 per year, over three years, and are available to new PhD students (enrolled or intending to enrol). Applications close 17 October.

Fellowships to travel to India
The Australia-India EMCR Fellowships provide support (up to AUD$40,500) for Australian researchers to travel to India and work with leading researchers at major Indian science and technology organisations for a period of between three and nine months. Candidates should have between three and 10 years of research experience since the award of their PhD degree or equivalent. Applications close 31 October.

The Harry J. Lloyd Charitable Trust grants
Applications for Lloyd Trust melanoma grants are open for a broad range of melanoma research projects, including those involving basic science, as well as clinical trials. Applications close 10 November.

Deeble Summer Scholarships
The Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research is offering six-week scholarship for postgraduate tertiary students. The scholarship is based in Canberra and is designed to support talented students to produce an Issues Brief on an important national health services or health policy topic. Applications close 17 November.

ARC Australian Laureate Fellowships 2017
Open to applications from outstanding researchers of international repute, the Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme encourages proposals involving Australian or international researchers by providing eligible Australian Laureate Fellows with project funding in addition to a salary supplement and salary-related (on-cost) support. Up to 17 Australian Laureate Fellowships may be awarded each year, including fellowships allocated to exceptional female researchers who will also undertake an ambassadorial role to promote women in research. Applications close 30 November.

7.  Events & conferences

HealthHack, locations in most Australian states, 14-16 October, free
HealthHack is national event that helps medical researchers, health professionals and students find solutions to their important problems. Domain experts are invited to pitch their ideas to talented hackers who form into small groups around each idea based on their interests and skills. Each expert works closely with their group for 48 hours in a friendly and productive environment before presenting their masterpiece on the final night.

Become a better researcher using social networks, Melbourne, 20 Oct, free
Building social networks in life sciences is an extraordinary career advantage and a skill that may mean the difference between employment or ‘seeking new opportunities’.  Michelle Gallaher is a master networker in life sciences in Australia, and will share her approach to networking for advantage. The event will be held at WEHI at 3pm on 20 October in Seminar Room 1.

Designing economic evaluation alongside clinical trials course, Sydney, 25 October
Run by Macquarie University in collaboration with Melbourne University, this one-day course will provide an overview of cost effectiveness analysis and examples of economic evaluations that have been conducted in clinical trials.

Science Gender Equity Seminar, Canberra, 25 October, free
AAMRI President Doug Hilton will be giving the second ANU Science Gender Equity Seminar for 2016 on October 25. The seminar will cover the suite of gender equality initiatives that have been implemented at WEHI and the challenges and opportunities that have arisen during this process.

Innovation from the university sector – to spin out or license?, Melbourne, 9 Nov, free
Hosted as part of Innovation Week 2016, this event will explore the different options for commercialising discoveries in medical research. The panel, with experience in venture capital, angel investing, start-up companies, industry and universities, will debate the merits and pitfalls encountered with each approach.

2016 ARC/NHMRC Research Administrators’ Seminar, Canberra, 14-15 Nov
The ARC and NHMRC, in association with ARMS (Australasian Research Management Society), will again be hosting the Research Administrators’ Seminar. This annual event will be held at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra on 14 (NHMRC Day) and 15 November (ARC Day) 2016.