Postdoctoral Reference Group

The Postdoctoral Reference Group (PDRG) was established early in 2012 to provide feedback to NHMRC on issues of relevance to those crucial years in a researcher’s career after obtaining their PhD.


The function of the group was to engage with and advise NHMRC on:

  • issues regarding the Early Career Fellowship and Career Development Fellowship schemes;
  • broader issues applying to all funding schemes, such as mentoring, balancing family, research and professional responsibilities; and
  • other matters that may affect developing researchers, such as international opportunities and developments in the higher educational and health care systems.


The membership term of the current PDRG has now concluded and NHMRC wish to thank all members of the PDRG for their participation. Their contribution has been valuable to the outcomes of the PDRG and for informing the deliberations of NHMRC’s Research Committee.


The PDRG has provided valuable feedback and insight to the NHMRC on significant matters relating to the crucial post- PhD years in researchers’ careers.  The PDRG has also provided the impetus for some important changes to NHMRC’s funding schemes, for example, having part-time fellowship awards as an available option in all People Support schemes, better implementation of ‘relative to opportunity’ principles and early career observers on Project Grant review panels. In addition, in response to concerns from the PDRG, NHMRC partnered with Administering Institutions to publish examples of best practice in gender equity policies with an aim to define, highlight and strengthen such practices.

Future Involvement

NHMRC is particularly interested in continuing to engage with early career researchers and we are investigating alternative avenues to do this in the future.  In the meantime, NHMRC is conducting a public consultation on current and emerging issues for its fellowships schemes and we invite you to make a submission through the NHMRC Public Consultation website.  Online submissions will close at 5:00pm on Tuesday, 30 June 2015.