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From the CEO

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CEO Diary August 2014 – January 2015

CEO Key External Engagements for August 2014 1 - Meeting with Dr Smith and Professor Kearney, PHRN 7 - Strengthened Export Controls Steering Group Meeting 12 - National Press Club Event (Melbourne) Conversation on Medical Research 14 - CPMC Meeting, Sydney 18 - Cooperative Research Centres Committee meeting 20 - Speaker at Australian Science-Industry Exchange 22 - Queensland Institutes of Health Research – Directors Meeting 24 - Speaker at the Society for Reproductive Biology, Annual...

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Have your say – RGMS performance and early triage

RGMS usability RGMS statistics showed that last year, applicants spent 40% less time on average in RGMS compared to 2013. This follows NHMRCs streamlining efforts which led to the removal of a lot of fields from Project Grant application forms. We hope that the reduction in administrative side of applications has helped but of course, this is just one part of applying to NHMRC and most time is spent developing and honing the Research Proposal. RGMS software has also been upgraded for this year...

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Health and medical researchers for the future - what does Australia need?

Right now, thousands of health and medical researchers across Australia are at their desks, developing applications to the NHMRC. At the same time, new and continuing PhD students are considering their future careers. Australia has never before had a policy discussion on the nation’s  needs for health and medical researchers, but the time has come to think seriously about how best to use Australia’s talent.  This a personal perspective on the role of Australia’s...

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Tribute to Emeritus Professor Donald Metcalf AC

It was with great sadness that I learned about the passing of Emeritus Professor Donald Metcalf. Professor Metcalf was a highly respected researcher whose discovery of, and work on, colony stimulating factors (CSFs) have saved millions of lives worldwide. His breakthrough work on CSFs began in the 1960s. Since CSFs were approved for clinical application in the early 1990s, they have been widely used to boost the immune system of patients undergoing chemotherapy. Professor Metcalf was devoted to...

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NHMRC peer review – debunking the myth of mates funding mates

In an article in yesterday’s Australian, David Uren alleged that ‘the distribution of NHMRC funds needs to be reformed before the pot is fattened.’ He continued, saying that ‘The peer-review process used by the National Health and Medical Research Council too easily descends into mates funding mates.’ Although our records show that Mr Uren has no personal experience in the NHMRC grant application or assessment process, it is important for us all to recognise that...

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A better way - NHMRC Advanced Health Research and Translation Centres

NHMRC’s ambition to recognise and support strong collaboration in research translation in the health system took another step this week with our international panel interviewing 8 shortlisted candidates for recognition as Advanced Health Research and Translation Centres. Applications for recognition covered most of Australia, showing the high level of national enthusiasm for this concept. Major progress towards realising NHMRC’s vision was very evident in the eight centres...

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Healthy, wealthy and affordable

Transcript of the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute 2014 Derrick-Mackerras Lecture, 21 October 2014. Transcript Each of us in this room, every one of us, has benefited from health and medical research. Our vaccinations in childhood – or maybe you’ve had the Hep B jab as an adult. I’ve had pneumococcal vaccine; probably some of you have as well. Some of you will be on hypertension control drugs, some of you will be like me; on a statin. Some of you will have been...

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Getting ready for the 2015 Project Grants funding round - applying for funding when success rates are low

It’s that time of the year. Christmas looms, university exam marking has been in full swing and many researchers are already thinking about their Project Grant applications for 2015. Funding rules for 2015 will be available shortly and RGMS itself will open for Project Grant  applications a little later than normal, once it has been thoroughly tested following its recent upgrade. When funding rates are low and the competition for funding is so hot, many researchers will be wondering...

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Translation, translation, translation

Plenty of low hanging fruit – NHMRC’s Research Translation Symposium I have written often about the potential for research to reduce the costs of health care especially a great deal of health services and clinical research funded by NHMRC. This was demonstrated in abundance at NHMRC’s Research Translation Faculty Symposium in Melbourne last week. This is an arm in the Virtuous Cycle that must be strengthened. While some research may indeed make health care more expensive (but...

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NHMRC’s leadership role in ethics of research involving humans

In Finland this week, a ceremony was held to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Helsinki. The Declaration is one of the most important documents in the history of human research ethics and is widely considered the landmark document governing the conduct of clinical research.  Most of the practices that were of grave concern in 1964 are happily rare today. However, researchers and participants now face new ethical dilemmas with the development of new technologies and...

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