1. About the Programme

1.1 Description

The Northern Australia Tropical Disease Collaborative Research Programme (the Programme) will support innovative high quality teams to undertake research into the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of tropical disease that translate research findings into outcomes for health in Australia and the region.  The Programme will build strong collaborations, new research capability and capacity in the health and medical research workforce, and promote effective translation of this research into health policy and practice.

This investment is part of a broader Government strategy to build Australia’s primary research capacity and support the development of Northern Australia as outlined in the White Paper on Developing Northern Australia, released on 18 June 2015.

Funded through the NHMRC under the ongoing direction of a Scientific Advisory Panel, the Programme will be a geographically diverse network linking across more than one institution. A physical presence in Northern Australia is expected for significant components of the team.

1.2 Objectives

In the context of tropical disease research, the specific objectives of the scheme are to:

  • support the conduct and development of innovative, high quality, collaborative research;
  • promote effective commercialisation and translation of research into health policy and/or practice;
  • foster and build capacity in the health and medical research workforce; and
  • provide opportunities to expand and improve collaborations between research teams.

The primary objective of the Programme is to support a single, multidisciplinary, nationally focussed team who will establish a collaborative network (involving key institutions, existing national and international networks researching tropical diseases, and other relevant bodies) to progress innovative high quality research into the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of tropical diseases in Northern Australia. The funded team will develop a strategic framework for tropical disease research in Northern Australia and the region, drawing on inputs from policy makers.

In particular, the Programme’s research should be directed towards the following outcomes:

  • long term partnerships that translate research findings into outcomes for health nationally and internationally;
  • developing and extending widespread collaborative networks, in Australia, the region and internationally;
  • building new tropical health research capacity, including early career researchers and Indigenous researchers;
  • identifying and addressing tropical health research and health system gaps, such as the need for public health and health services research (to inform a tropical disease research strategy);
  • developing a strong evidence base to inform health policy and/or practice that minimises the health and economic impact of tropical diseases at a national and international level;
  • potential for securing partnerships and leveraging funding; identifying and exploring commercialisation opportunities; and
  • identification of future risks in the region.

Applications will not be considered that address:

  • individual state or territory focussed tropical disease response research; or
  • research that does not have a “strong footprint” in Northern Australia; or
  • research without a strong and demonstrable translational link to the health system;
  • research that duplicates current investments; or
  • research focused on development of infrastructure (for example, databases).

For applications submitted to this Programme, the Grant Review Panel (GRP) may recommend that relevant applicant teams combine their applications into a single endeavor in order to be funded. If so, this would be identified as a condition of funding.

It is critical that applicants demonstrate a strategy that encompasses transitioning to funding self-sufficiency at the conclusion of this funding Programme.