Reviewing the structure of NHMRC’s grant program

The NHMRC CEO, Professor Anne Kelso, has announced a review of the structure of NHMRC’s grant program.

NHMRC awards grants worth around $800 million each year from the Medical Research Endowment Account (MREA). In recent years, rising application numbers to NHMRC schemes and rising costs of research have presented new challenges as we seek to support excellence across all research sectors – from knowledge creation to translation into better healthcare – and provide opportunities for researchers at different stages of their careers.

“We have a vibrant, highly productive and internationally competitive research community. However, we are also aware that the increasing number of applications places a heavy burden on applicants and on the many members of the research community who peer-review applications,” NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso said. “Concerns have also been raised that opportunities for early and mid-career researchers and for exploration of new areas of research are being affected.”

“We are therefore commencing an over-arching review of the structure of NHMRC’s grant program to determine whether we can streamline the current suite of funding schemes, while continuing to support the best Australian research and researchers for the benefit of human health.”

“The review will consider previous work, such as the information received from the Fellowship Consultation conducted by NHMRC last year. A number of submissions to that consultation suggested there is a need for a strategic, whole-of-system review of NHMRC’s funding program.”

“I have established an Expert Advisory Group to assist me in the review and I am delighted that Professor Steve Wesselingh has agreed to chair the Group,” Professor Kelso said.

In addition to the Expert Advisory Group, external consultation will be undertaken through institutional round-tables and a period of public consultation. It is expected this will occur around the middle of 2016.

It is anticipated that the review will take most of 2016. Further information is available on the NHMRC website