From the CEO

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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 also more...

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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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October grant announcements

Here are some statistics about the grants announced on 17 October 2014 by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health in Sydney. Project grants Total project grant funding: $419,982,953 ($423.5 million last year) Number of grants funded – 553 (646 last year) Total funded rate – 14.95% (553 out of 3,700) Total number of CIs on funded grants – 1998Of all CI applicants, 1378 were women, 2321 men Category scores for funded grantsCategory 7 - 1 Category 6 - 315 Category 5 - 235 (13.95% of the...

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CEO Diary – April to July 2014

CEO Key External Engagements for April 2014 1 – CEO Roundtable: New Insights into the Biology of Obesity 3 – Meeting with Professor Hugh McDermott and Linda Peterson, Bionics Institute 4 – Meeting with John Tuckwell, Senior Adviser Trade, Economics and Agriculture Research and Innovation Delegation of the European Union to Australia 5 – Presentation – The Rebecca L. Cooper Medical Research Foundation Dinner 8 – NHMRC Indigenous Capacity Building Forum 9...

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Building a healthier nation

An interview with Professor Warwick Anderson AM, CEO NHMRC, published in the October 2014 issue of International Innovation magazine. Building a healthier nation (PDF, 708KB) In the same edition of International Innovation is an interview with Dr Saraid Billiards, Director of Project Grants at NHMRC, about women in science. Exacting change (PDF, 5.9MB)

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Thoughts on peer review at the end of 2014 GRPs

This week marks the end of this year’s Grant Review Panels (GRP) here in Canberra, an epic month-and-a-bit that draws on the time and expertise of hundreds of researchers to peer review thousands of applications. Next, NHMRC’s Research Committee and Council will consider the year’s peer review processes and begin to finalise policies for the year ahead. Peer review is about spending public money responsibly. The people of Australia provide the funding through their taxes, via...

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Webcast: Grant Review Panel Briefing (Monday 11 August)

NHMRC's presentation to Grant Review Panel members was streamed live on Monday 11 August from 9:00AM. A copy of the presentation is available via the following link. Watch the presentation on-demand here Please note the Player Requirements information below if you have trouble viewing the presentation. For more information on how NHMRC Grant Review Panels work, I encourage you to watch the following short video and to read the summary of the GRP processes. Watch the NHMRC Grant Review...

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Building scale, scope and excellence in research and translation

Collaboration between researchers, heath care professionals and the private sector is essential if Australia is to get the most out of its public investment in health and medical research.  Increasingly, collaboration between institutions has become ever more essential to, it we are to maximise resources in pursuit of health benefits from research. We can learn much about how to foster this collaboration in Australia by looking at those who already do it well. The international powerhouses...

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New data set for comment: Project Grant outcomes by institution

Each year NHMRC publishes extensive data of our grant outcomes, including by gender, institution, national health priority area and many more (see also our annual Funding Facts Book). However, we recently received requests from Universities to provide more comprehensive feedback to help them understand their performance relative to others. In response we have prepared the following data set to complement the already publically available data. NHMRC 2013 Project Grant Outcomes (PDF, 228KB...

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Celebrating Indigenous health research during NAIDOC Week

To celebrate NAIDOC Week (6-13 July), NHMRC staff met yesterday to recognise the contribution of Indigenous Australians to our country, and to health and medical research in particular. As well as hearing from the fantastic Indigenous artist Greg Joseph, we were lucky enough to be joined by Indigenous health researcher Sean Taylor. Sean is a descendent from the Dowareb tribe from Mer Island in the Eastern Torres Straits and is currently completing his Doctorate of Public Health at James Cook...

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Want to know how NHMRC Grant Review Panels work?

Our aim is to do all we can to ensure peer review processes are rigorous and that grants are assessed in a way that is fair, independent and impartial. To do this requires the efforts of hundreds of researchers to conduct peer review. It is no simple task, and NHMRC is grateful every year for the ongoing commitment of our best researchers. To provide some insight of NHMRC GRPs, the 2014 GRP induction video is now available online.  The video is designed to provide applicants, panel members...

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Healthy, wealthy and affordable: How research can improve Australia’s health system

Medical Research Week and the Federal Budget have stimulated me to think more about how medical research can be used better to restrain health care costs and also to generate national wealth to support the health system. Restraining health costs Can we use health and medical research better? Can we harness research not only to discover new ways of preventing, and treating ill health, but also to restrain the escalating costs of health care? We all want the best health care for ourselves and...

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Congratulating NHMRC Research Excellence Awardees

NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson AM congratulates the 2013 NHMRC Research Excellence Awardees in the Career Development Fellowships and Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowships categories.

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Gender equity in Australian health and medical research

NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson and Dr Saraid Billiards, Director of Project Grants, discussed NHMRC's efforts and future actions to improve gender equity in Australian health and medical research. Watch the video on NHMRC's YouTube Channel

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Promoting Research Excellence in Australia

An interview with Professor Warwick Anderson AM, CEO NHMRC, published in the May 2014 issue of International Innovation magazine. Promoting Research Excellence in Australia (PDF, 1.43MB)

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CEO Diary – February to March 2014

CEO Key External Engagements for February 20143 – Panel on science communication with Professor Aidan Byrne, CEO of the Australian Research Council at the Australian Science Communicators national conference, Brisbane6 – Population Health Research Network Review Panel meeting, Sydney7 – Meeting with Department of Education on EU 2020 and the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy10 – Population Health Research Network Review Panel meeting, Melbourne11...

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Additional commentary on the outcomes of the 2014-15 Federal Budget for NHMRC

I am pleased to provide an update on key announcements in the 13 May Federal Budget related to the National Health and Medical Research Council. The Government is providing additional funding for two budget measures: Boosting dementia research ($200.0 million) The Australia Government will provide an additional $200 million over five years to boost Australia’s dementia research capacity. NHMRC ($174M), working in close collaboration with the Australian Research Council ($26M), will fund a...

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Outcomes of the 2014-15 Federal Budget for NHMRC

I am pleased to provide an update on key announcements in the 13 May 2014-15 Federal Budget related to the National Health and Medical Research Council. NHMRC will receive additional funding for two budget measures: Boosting dementia research ($174.0 million) as part of the Australian government’s commitment to provide $200M for dementia research Simplified and consistent health and medical research ($9.9 million) that includes improving our research grants management systems and further...

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Q+A: 2014 Project Grants Peer Review

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) received 3810 Project Grant applications for funding this year – a 2.7% decrease on last year. This is the first decrease in application numbers since 2006. We will convene 37 Grant Review Panels (GRP) between 28 July and 5 September involving approximately 500 panel members, Chairs and Assistant Chairs and many thousands of external reviewers. The Project Grants scheme is NHMRC’s largest funding scheme, and in 2014 we have improved and...

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Partnership Projects for funding commencing in 2014

NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson discusses the outcomes of the latest Partnership Projects funding round (Third Call for 2013 for funding commencing in 2014). View the Media Release: $11.4 Million for Health and Medical Research

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Australia’s response to the threat of antimicrobial resistance

Presentation by Professor Warwick Anderson AM at 'Towards a Global Research Agenda for AMR', the launch of the JPIAMR Strategic Research Agenda. Australia’s response to the threat of antimicrobial resistance - powerpoint slides (PDF, 392KB) Professor Warwick Anderson AM Chief Executive Officer, NHMRC

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Crossing the bridge – working to translate research into health policy and practice

NHMRC recently held a meeting with Chairs of the NHMRC Research Translation Faculty Steering groups. The text below is an edited version of my introductory comments. The NHMRC Research Translation Faculty is unique in the world. I wouldn’t want you to think that we are making it up as we go along, but we really are in unchartered waters. I thank the Steering group Chairs and the couple of thousands of colleagues who are members of our Faculty and are contributing to this. We’re...

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Measuring the Impact of Research — Not Just a Simple List of Publications

This article originally appeared in the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) March 2014 newsletter. Ever improving citation performance. NHMRC has been conducting rigorous analyses of the citation performance of Australian health and medical research publications since the early 1990s. We released the latest version of this regular bibliometric analysis in mid-February (Measuring up 2013). The latest report covers publications from 2005 to 2009. Understanding bibliometric analyses is...

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Health and Medical Research – benefiting Australia

On 26 March 2014, NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson AM gave an update to the Western Australian health and medical research community at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. View the presentation below. Health and Medical Research – benefiting Australia (PDF, 2.3MB)

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NHMRC - a member of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health

The first face-to-face partner meeting of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) is taking place this week. There are now 148 organisations in the Alliance, including NHMRC. I have asked Professor Kathryn North, Chair of the NHMRC Research Committee to represent NHMRC on GA4GH, and GA4GH has appointed Kathryn to be the Vice Chair of the GA4GH Transitional Steering Committee. The Alliance aims to accelerate the responsible sharing of genomic and clinical data, with the goal of...

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