Women in Health Science

The aim of the Women in Health Science Working Committee is to gain a better understanding of the issues that face women researchers in health and medical research in terms of career progression and retention to enable NHMRC to identify mechanisms that could be implemented to overcome these issues.

The Women in Health Science Working Committee was re-established in December 2014 with the following membership:

Name Institution
Professor Rosalie Viney (CHAIR) University of Technology Sydney
Professor Caroline Homer University of Technology Sydney
Professor Carola Vinuesa Australian National University
Professor Jenny Martin Griffith University
Professor Robert (Bob) Williamson AO University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Suzanne Miller Monash University
Associate Professor Tania Winzenberg Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania
Professor Dawn Freshwater The University of Western Australia
Professor Deborah White South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute
Associate Professor Geoffrey Faulkner Mater Research Institute

Recommendations proposed by the committee are considered by NHMRC’s Research Committee.

In working towards addressing some of the issues women researchers face NHMRC has introduced initiatives such as:

  • Providing opportunities and further guidance for career disruptions to be reflected in an applicant’s track record (for example: Project Grants Advice and Instructions to applicants for funding commencing in 2015);
  • aligning policies across all schemes to ensure consistency in career disruption advice;
  • working to achieve membership gender equity on peer review panels, where possible;
  • proposing part-time options across all schemes;
  • the introduction of the Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship as a form of recognition of outstanding women;
  • closer monitoring of funding outcome data by gender;
  • strengthening guidance for Peer Reviewers in 2014 in relation to assessing career disruption and relative to opportunity; and
  • reviewing of institutional gender practices across the sector to highlight good practice and draw attention to areas that could be improved. The review also provides an opportunity to examine ways of encouraging better gender equity practices for institutions.

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