The creation of knowledge through research underpins improvements in Australia's health service delivery and intervention. This research can be of the most fundamental nature or can be applied, directly addressing clinical problems, public health issues or how health services are provided.
The creation of knowledge does not, of itself, lead to widespread implementation and positive impacts on health. The knowledge must be translated into changes in practice and policy for the benefits to flow to Australians.
It can also take many years for research evidence to reach clinical practice. In response to the challenges of research translation, NHMRC aims to accelerate the transfer of research into policy and practice through targeted funding schemes and the establishment of the Research Translation Faculty.
The NHMRC’s role in research translation
The NHMRC is charged by its legislation, the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992, with raising the standard of individual and public health throughout Australia and fostering the development of consistent health standards, research and training, and the consideration of ethical issues. It achieves this end by making recommendations, issuing guidelines and funding research.
The functions of the CEO are to inquire into, issue guidelines on, and advise the community on, matters relating to:
(i) the improvement of health; and
(ii) the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease; and
(iii) the provision of health care; and
(iv) public health research and medical research; and
(v) ethical issues relating to health.
What NHMRC is doing
One of NHMRC' primary responsibilities is supporting the effective and rapid translation of research findings into health care policy and practice.
Specific measures include:
Advanced Health Research and Translation Centres (AHRTCs)
NHMRC’s AHRTC initiative identifies and recognises the leading centres of collaboration in health and medical research, research translation, research-infused education and training, and outstanding health care.
Centres for Innovation in Regional Health (CIRH)
NHMRC’s CIRH initiative recognises leadership in health research and translation of direct relevance and benefit to regional and remote areas of Australia.
- Partnerships for Better Health, to support the transfer of research into policy and practice. This initiative has two elements:
- Partnership Projects – the NHMRC offers funding for research to answer the research questions of organisations such as state health authorities, non-government organisations, the private sector and other organisations
- Partnership Centres – new Policy and Practice Centres partner NHMRC with other governmental and non-government organisations in large scale policy and practice research and evidence-based research
- Funding to Centres of Research Excellence in policy and practice
- Funding to the Cochrane Collaboration
- Translating Research into Practice (TRIP) Fellowships
- Targeted Calls for Research
- Practitioner Fellowships
- Clinical and public health guidelines
- Setting standards for the development of high-quality, implementable clinical guidelines in Australia.
The Cochrane Collaboration
The Australian Government funds the work of the Cochrane Collaboration in Australia through the National Health and Medical Research Council.
- Research Translation Faculty - established to assist the NHMRC in addressing the key challenges for translation of health and medical research in Australia.