2016-17 budget outcome for NHMRC

I am pleased to provide an update on the 2016-17 Federal Budget that Treasurer Scott Morrison handed down on 3 May 2016. From this budget, NHMRC will manage similar levels of funding through the Medical Research Endowment Account (MREA) over the coming years, increasing slightly over the forward estimates in line with indexation. 

Funding through the MREA 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18


$m 796.3 807.4 819.4 831.6 846.6

In line with NHMRC’s Portfolio Budget Statement, our budgeted priorities for the coming year include:

Streamlining clinical trials

We will continue to work with Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and the Department of Health to simplify clinical trial processes in order to support the medical research and pharmaceutical sectors.

We will release an improved ethics application form to promote a nationally consistent ethical review for all human research, in particular clinical trials. New guidance on safety monitoring and reporting requirements for clinical trials will be developed and we will continue to raise awareness of clinical trials through the AustralianClinicalTrials.gov.au website.

Dementia initiative

Under the Government’s Dementia Initiative: Boosting Dementia Research, the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research (NNIDR) will support a range of research on dementia based on it's strategic research and translation agenda.

Tropical Health research program

In 2016-17, we will continue to implement a program of research that focuses on tropical disease and the effective translation of this research into health policy and practice in Northern Australia.

Structural Review of NHMRC's Grant Program

In recent years, research costs and total application numbers continued to rise. These challenges place a heavy burden on applicants and peer reviewers. Concerns have also been raised that opportunities for early and mid-career researchers and opportunities to explore new areas of research are limited.

To address these challenges, an overarching review of our grants program is being undertaken to determine whether the suite of funding schemes can be streamlined, while continuing to support the best Australian research and researchers for the benefit of human health.

We will complete the overarching Structural Review of NHMRC’s Grant Program by the end of 2016.

Advanced Health Research and Translation Centres (AHRTCs)

We recognise the importance of reliable and timely evidence for clinicians, consumers and policy makers to benefit patient care. In 2016-17, we will conduct a second call for recognition of AHRTCs to support collaboration between leading health care organisations, academia and research institutions to embed research in clinical care. The Research Translation Faculty Symposium in 2016-17 will have the theme of "Embedding research into health care: building a culture of quality."

Review of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2007

The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2007 (the Code) guides researchers in responsible research practices and promotes research integrity in Australia. It is a joint endeavour between NHMRC, the Australian Research Council (ARC) and Universities Australia. The Code is being reviewed to ensure it remains practical and relevant to research practice.

The review process involves three key steps: targeted consultation; public consultation; and approval and release of the final revised Code. The draft Code is expected to be released for public consultation by the end of 2016.

Professor Anne Kelso AO
NHMRC Chief Executive Officer

NHMRC Portfolio budget statement