As the Australian Government's lead agency for funding health and medical research, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is committed to achieving gender equity in its grant program.

Since 2012, significant progress had been made towards gender equity across NHMRC's grant program. However, NHMRC remained concerned about the persistent lower representation of women as applicants and grant holders in certain grant schemes.

In October 2022, following national consultation process, NHMRC announced it would introduce new special measures under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 to address systemic disadvantage faced by female and non-binary applicants to its Investigator Grant scheme.

Information on all the actions NHMRC is undertaking to achieve gender equity is outlined in the table below. This occurs under the framework established by the NHMRC Gender Equity Strategy 2022–2025.

Actions taken towards gender equity

Table: Activities from 2012 to current (sorted by most recent)
ActivityActionYear when action was initiated
Strategy and adviceCommenced consultation process on drafting the NHMRC-MRFF Statement on Sex, Gender, Variations of Sex Characteristics and Sexual Orientation in health and medical research2023
  • Introduced new special measures under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 to address systemic disadvantage faced by female and non-binary applicants to its Investigator Grant scheme
  • Implemented changes to the gender field in researcher profiles in Sapphire to provide the option to self-identify as 'non binary', or to specify a different term
2022
Released Consultation report: Options to reach gender equity in the Investigator Grant scheme2022
Conducted national consultation process on Options to reach gender equity in the Investigator Grant scheme, including several webinars2022
Released Discussion Paper: Options to reach gender equity in the Investigator Grant scheme2022
Released CEO Communique – Gender disparities in NHMRC's Investigator Grant Scheme and held webinars with the research sector.2022
Released NHMRC Gender Equity Strategy 2022–20252022
Provided the Australian Women in STEM Ambassador information on the outcome of funding rounds from 2000 to 2020 (see Downloads section, below).2021
Released NHMRC's Gender Equality Strategy 2018–20212018
Established NHMRC's Women in Health Science Committee2012 to ongoing
Continuing to seek advice from NHMRC's Council and Principal CommitteesOngoing 
Peer reviewIntroduced the consideration of career context and life circumstances of all applicants when assessing track record, relative to opportunity, in the Investigator Grant scheme.2021
Revised the Relative to Opportunity Policy2021
Encouraged the use of gender-neutral language in grant applications and peer review discussions2020
Piloted completion of an implicit association test for gender and science for peer reviewers2020
Introduced actions to improve the representation of women on peer review panels2018
Facilitating participation of people with carer responsibilities in peer review panels by using videoconferencing2015
Introduced NHMRC's career disruption and relative to opportunity policy2012
Grant opportunitiesAdjusted the timing of grant rounds due to the COVID-19 pandemic2020
Altering timing of grant rounds to avoid school holidays2019
Introduced part-time opportunities across all new grant program schemes2019
Introduced reporting of grant outcomes by gender2015
Administering InstitutionsPublished better practice examples for how AIs are meeting the gender equality policy requirements2020
Established gender equality policy requirements for Administering Institutions (AIs)2015 (updated in 2019)
Reviewed how AIs are meeting the gender equality policy requirements2015 and 2018
Structural priority fundingUsing structural priority funding to support additional grants with female Chief Investigator As (CIAs)2017 to ongoing
RecognitionIntroduced the Elizabeth Blackburn Grant Awards for top-ranked women2013
Showcasing female researchers on website and in social mediaOngoing

Page last updated March 2023

Contact details

Email

gender.equity@nhmrc.gov.au

Downloads

File type
Size