NHMRC is committed to building and strengthening the capacity and capability amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health researchers. We do this through funding, events and educational opportunities. Read about some of the capacity and capability initiatives we are involved with.

On this page:

Indigenous Internship Program

Our Indigenous Internship Program offers opportunities for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students, enrolled in an undergraduate or master degree in a health or medical research or science related field, to take up a virtual internship in the agency.

There is a wide range of opportunities for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students to gain insight into the work of NHMRC, as well as to enhance their education through practical work experience.

Our Collaborations in Health Research (OCHRe) Network

NHMRC has provided funding for a National Network for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health researchers - it is now known as OCHRe.

OCHRe brings together unique skills across culture, knowledge and health research to address the health priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

It is led by some of Australia’s most eminent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers including Dr Janine Mohamed, Professor Sandra Eades, Professor Alex Brown, Professor Gail Garvey. OCHRe now has over 250 members who are kept engaged through regular newsletters and webinars. You can fill out an Expression of interest to join OCHRe.

The name Ochre, itself whilst it’s a mineral, it’s something that is important to many of our First Nations communities across Australia,

It’s a versatile and valuable resource to our communities, and has importance to many of us. The name Ochre is pertinent to many of us as a network.

Ochre also holds a depth of connection to culture, to people and to country; and this is critically important for the network and for the success of the network. It’s about us, it’s about our mob, and it’s about our connection to country. Professor Gail Garvey

'[OCHRe] is a collaboration of researchers across the country with links globally,' said Professor Garvey.  

'Our network application to the NHMRC, brought together more than 90 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers, with a focus on developing the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers with the vision of improving the health and wellbeing of our communities. 

'Having an application of over 90 of us mob, coming together in a single application is quite significant in itself but is also tells us the story that we are ready to come together, ready to collaborate to make a difference in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research,' she said.

The concept for the network was developed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health researchers through extensive consultation. The process involved an expression of interest process, seed funding, a workshop and a final full application assessed by an expert panel. The network was awarded $10 million over 5 years.

Tripartite Agreement

Logos of NHRMC, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and Health Research Council of New Zealand


Improving the health and wellbeing of First Nations Peoples in Australia, New Zealand and Canada is the goal driving a partnership between these 3 medical research funding agencies:

  • NHMRC
  • the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC)

In December 2017, the agencies renewed their commitment to collaborate on mutual health research priorities to improve the health of Indigenous Peoples – the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada, the Māori people in New Zealand and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia.  

The 3 agencies have built a solid working relationship that spans over 20 years. They are confident that positive and measurable outcomes with broader reach can be realised for First Nations Peoples and the research sector, while celebrating, reflecting and building on the gains that have already been made.

The last agreement expired in December 2022 and the agencies are working on renewing their commitment. Previous agreements were for a term of 5 years.

Sandra Eades Investigator Grant Award

NHMRC recognises excellence in the health and medical research sector through its annual Research Excellence Awards to top-ranked researchers.  

The NHMRC Sandra Eades Investigator Grant Award is named to honour Professor Sandra Eades AO FAHMS FASSA, who was the first Indigenous medical practitioner to be awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy (2003).  

  • You can find a list of awardees for each year from NHMRC Awards.

Workshops, forums and events

2022 NHMRC Research Translation Symposium (Embracing Diversity)

Dr Margo Greenwood, Indigenous scholar from Canada, visited NHMRC in November 2022. Dr Greenwood, along with PCIC Chair Professor Yvonne Cadet-James, presented a plenary session ‘Towards health equity for First Nations Peoples through co‑creation and co‑translation of health research’. 

Other presenters at the symposium included Professor Yvette Roe, Associate Professor Dan McAullay, Ms Heather D’Antoine, Associate Professor Kalinda Griffiths and Dr Odette Pearson.

Dr Margo Greenwood and Professor Yvonne Cadet-James in front of NHMRC banner
Dr Margo Greenwood and Professor Yvonne Cadet-James at the Symposium

2019 Tripartite Agreement International Indigenous Workshop

One of the objectives of the Tripartite Agreement partnership that NHMRC has with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Health Research Council (HRC) of New Zealand is to strengthen the capacity and capability of Indigenous health and medical researchers. 

As a part of this commitment, a building and strengthening capacity workshop with First Nations was held in December 2019.

Previous workshops and events

  • December 2018 - NHMRC National Network concept workshop  
  • May 2018 - NHMRC Strengthening and growing capacity and capability of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Researchers workshop
  • 2017 - NHMRC Symposium on Research Translation (The Butterfly Effect: Translating Knowledge into Action for Positive Change)
  • 13 November 2017 - Torres Strait Islander Yarning Workshop
  • 17 May 2016 - NHMRC Translating Research into Policy and Practice (TRIPP) Forum
  • 8 April 2014 - National Forum – Research Excellence through building capacity of Indigenous researchers
  • May 2013 - Tripartite Mentorship Workshop

Reports for workshops can be found in the Downloads section below.