Multidisciplinary and multi-institution research is often the key to scientific advancement. NHMRC supports collaborative approaches to health and medical research. We provide assistance to Australian researchers in collaborative research projects, facilitate collaborative networks and international research partnerships, and researchers can explore opportunities to work with NHMRC or use our facilities.

Guided by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Corporate Plan, NHMRC will endeavour to support collaborative approaches to health and medical research internationally, including:

  • connecting, supporting and encouraging links with researchers in health and non-health related disciplines,
  • supporting a full breadth of health and medical research through international research partnerships, and
  • engage in collaborative and multidisciplinary approaches to solving health problems.

NHMRC International Engagement Strategy

Within the framework of the Corporate Plan, the NHMRC has established a strategy for prioritising new and existing activities with our international partners. 

The NHMRC International Engagement Strategy 2020-2023 outlines NHMRC’s approach to working with our international partners over the three year period.

The Strategy identifies four key principles for international engagement:

  • collaborate to address research gaps, build capacity and increase impact
  • marshal international research expertise and resources
  • engage with and contribute to international health research policy agendas, and
  • participate in Australia’s science diplomacy effort

NHMRC International Engagement Strategy 2020-23 

International Affiliations 

European Research Council (ERC)

The European Research Council is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. ERC’s mission is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support investigator-driven frontier research across all fields, on the basis of scientific excellence.
 
NHMRC and ERC signed an Implementing Arrangement in October 2018. The arrangement aims to help NHMRC-funded researchers join ERC supported research teams in Europe (for a period when possible) or work remotely during their grant and enables the exchange of ideas and experiences in cutting-edge science.

Current status

Project abstracts are now available for the ERC Implementing Arrangements call for Expression of Interest 2020. NHMRC-funded researchers can apply to work with European research teams. For more information about the latest ERC opportunities available, see this list (See 'Downloads' section) and contact ERC for further details. 

For further information on the implementation Arrangement, see the FAQs.

If you take up this opportunity please let us know by emailing the following details to international@nhmrc.gov.au

  • ERC team you are collaborating with
  • Project name
  • Length of collaboration.

Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH)

The overarching goal of the global alliance is to accelerate progress in medicine by encouraging widespread access to genomic and clinical data by developing a common framework of international technical, operational and ethical standards needed to ensure the interoperability of genomic research platforms in a secure and responsible manner.

The global alliance will work to:

  • bring together the research, clinical, and disease advocacy communities and the private sector to support and promote the responsible sharing of genomic data and
  • collaborate with interested parties to create an information platform that is open and accessible, and provides common standards, formats and tools to stakeholders in the genomic research community.

Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) website

Current status

NHMRC’s membership on the GA4GH provides Australia with an opportunity for international collaboration and information sharing of genomic and clinical data to help unlock potential advancements in medicine and science.

Global Genomic Medicine Collaboration (G2MC)

G2MC is a collaboration among global leaders in the implementation of genomic medicine in clinical care. Arising from the 2014 Global Leaders in Genomic Medicine Summit, the purpose of G2MC is to identify opportunities and foster global collaborations for enabling the demonstration of value and the effective use of genomics in medicine. Engaging multiple stakeholders across the globe, the G2MC group, under the auspices of the Roundtable on Genomics and Precision Health, seeks to improve global health by catalysing the implementation of genomic tools and knowledge into health care delivery globally.

Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R)

GloPID-R is the only alliance of its kind to bring together research funding organizations on a global scale to facilitate an effective and rapid research of a significant outbreak of a new or re-emerging infectious disease with epidemic and pandemic potential.

NHMRC is a member of two GloPID-R working groups. The Data Sharing Working Group aims to develop strategies and principles to expedite sharing of data during a public health emergency and the Response Plan Working Group is developing a Response Plan which includes complementary practical tools and solutions.

Specific objectives:

  • facilitate the exchange of information
  • address scientific, legal, ethical and financial challenges
  • implement a ‘One Health’ approach with close cooperation between human and animal health researchers
  • establish a strategic agenda for research response
  • connect infectious disease research networks
  • actively involve developing countries.

The Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness

Current status

NHMRC’s membership on GloPID-R provides Australia with an opportunity for international collaboration and information sharing in preparation for an outbreak of a new or emerging infectious disease health threat.

Human Frontier Science Program

The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) is an international organisation funding frontier research on the complex mechanisms of living organisms. Research is funded at all levels of biological complexity from biomolecules to the interactions between organisms.

Australia is a member of the HFSP through a formal Government agreement.

The HFSP is funded by contributions from the European Union and 11 other countries, including Australia.

Current status

HSFP funding opportunities are not administered by the NHMRC.  Interested parties should refer to the HFSP website for definitive information on the HSFP Research Grant Program. 

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) website

Current status

NHMRC and ICMR signed a Memorandum of Understanding on research collaboration in February 2016. 

International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders (IAMHRF)

The International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders (IAMHRF) is a collaborative group of mental health research funding organisations from around the world. The mission of the IAMHRF is to accelerate progress in the mental health landscape by increasing the impact of mental health research investments.

Members are diverse in their scope and mandate and fund across the mental health research spectrum ranging from the basic biomedical sciences, translational and health services research as well as health promotion and illness prevention research.

Member organisations comprise government organizations, private enterprises, foundations and charities.

Current status

NHMRC accepted an invitation to join the IAMHRF in August 2014. For further information refer to the IAMHRF’s website.

International Cancer Genome Consortium

The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) has been organised to launch and coordinate research projects that have the common aim of elucidating the genomic changes present in many forms of cancers that contribute to the burden of disease throughout the world.

The aim is to obtain a comprehensive description of the full range of genetic events associated with these tumour types and make the data available to the entire research community as rapidly as possible, and with minimal restrictions, to accelerate research into the causes, diagnosis and control of cancer.

Countries participating in the ICGC include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea the United Kingdom, the United States and many European nations.

Current status

There are now 18 countries involved with ICGC, the database has over 24,289 donor samples and over 57,900 mutated genes analysed.

The next phase of the ICGC focuses on the Pan Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG), which defines similarities and differences between cancer types. Previously, the consortium explored Accelerating Research in Genomic Oncology (ICGC-ARGO) where key clinical questions and patient clinical data drive the interrogation of cancer genomes. NHMRC recognises the value of ICGC and remains on the ICGC Executive and Scientific Steering Committees.

Tripartite Agreement on International Indigenous Health Research

The NHMRC, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) are committed to working both within and between their agencies 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. In December 2017, the agencies renewed their commitment to work together for another five years on mutual Indigenous health research priorities. This is the third five-year agreement which builds on a relationship from 2002.

View the Media release - May 2018.

2019 Tripartite Agreement International Indigenous Workshop

A building and strengthening capacity workshop with First Nations peoples was held in New Zealand in December 2019. One of the objectives of the partnership is to strengthen the capacity and capability of Indigenous health and medical researchers. 

Current status

Building and strengthening the capacity of Indigenous researchers is a key focus of the agreement.

The International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS)

ICLAS is an international scientific organisation dedicated to advancing human and animal health by promoting the ethical care and use of laboratory animals in research worldwide.

The International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS) website

Current status

Membership of ICLAS allows NHMRC to work with international organisations such as the World Health Organisation and the World Veterinary Association, to ensure world-wide improvements in the ethical and humane use of animals in research.