Funding Australia's top female health and medical researchers

Summary media release information

Date: 
06 December 2017
Type: 
Media Release
Contact for further information: 

NHMRC Media Team
M: 0422 008 512
E: media@nhmrc.gov.au

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding for Australia’s most talented female researchers will get a boost through a new initiative. The initiative will reduce the difference in funded rates between male and female lead investigators for Project Grants, NHMRC’s largest funding scheme.

Every year the funded rates for Project Grants are higher for men than women.

This initiative will reduce this gap by funding an additional 34 women lead investigators in 2017.

In 2017, 3345 Project Grant applications were received for funding with 550 lead investigators sharing in $471 million of funding.

Additional funding has enabled 34 more female lead investigators to be funded, bringing the total number of female lead investigators to 186.

The funded rate through the Project Grants scheme has now increased to 15.3 per cent for female lead investigators. The male funding rate remains unchanged at 17.1 per cent.

Professor Anne Kelso, Chief Executive Officer of NHMRC, said this strategy of funding Australia’s talented female lead investigators is a deliberate approach to keep more women in the health and medical research sector.

“Leading research provides an opportunity for women to contribute fully to the improvement of health and well-being through research and has a positive impact on their careers,” Professor Kelso said.

“NHMRC is continuing to fund research excellence. All applications funded as a result of this initiative were assessed as highly competitive.

“This initiative aligns with the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda and contributes to the Workplace Gender Equity Agency’s goal of achieving broadly equal outcomes for women and men in the workplace.

“Over $471 million in research funding is being announced through the Project Grants Scheme, continuing the Government’s commitment to invest in the best health and medical research,” Professor Kelso said.

This announcement represents a significant milestone in NHMRC’s gender equality journey.

It complements a suite of other NHMRC gender equality initiatives, including working with universities and research institutions to ensure gender equality policies are in place to keep women in research.

There are gender differences in funded rates for other NHMRC schemes but the data are most robust for the Project Grants scheme.

Further information on the grants and NHMRC’s gender equity initiatives can be found at www.nhmrc.gov.au.