AAMRI e-news | November 2020

AAMRI e-news | November 2020

12th November, 2020



In this issue

  1. AAMRI news – Register for the AAMRI Convention 9-11 December
  2. Government update – MRFF grant outcomes published
  3. Sector news –  Academy elects 28 new Fellows
  4. NHMRC update – the latest NHMRC news
  5. MRFF update – New priorities to put consumers first
  6. Other funding & award opportunities – Medal for Outstanding Female Researcher
  7. Reports & resources – Cancer data in Australia

Do you have something that you would like featured in a future newsletter? Send it through to communications@aamri.org.au

1. AAMRI news

AAMRI Convention 9-11 December 2020 – Registrations open!

The AAMRI Convention & CSL Florey Next Generation Awards will be held online this year, allowing us to increase capacity and extend the event to three days. Free event registration is open to all staff and students working at AAMRI member MRIs.

The Health Minister, the Hon Greg Hunt MP and the Shadow Health Minister, the Hon Chris Bowen MP, will address the Convention.

We will also be joined by Dame Sally Davies (former UK Chief Medical Officer), Dr Michael Strong (President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research) and Kate Jenkins (Sex Discrimination Commissioner). There will be sessions on MRI commercialisation, cyber security risks, financial challenges, as well as the launch of the AAMRI gender equity and diversity strategy.

For the CSL Florey Next Generation Awards, we will be joined by special guests Bernie Hobbs and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. Register on the AAMRI website.

The 2020 AAMRI Member Report

The 2020 AAMRI Report is a unique opportunity for us as a sector to benchmark and demonstrate the impact we have. In this year’s report, we provide a snapshot of the medical research institute sector’s workforce, revenue and expenditure, funding the full cost of research, and research translation. We have created a short animation, covering the highlights, key figures and some interesting facts. Read our full report here.

Revisions to National Statement for Ethical Conduct in Human Research

AAMRI has provided feedback from the medical research institute sector to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)’s consultation on proposed revisions to the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, 2007 (updated 2018). Read our full response here.

Inquiry into approval processes for new drugs and novel medical technologies

AAMRI has provided feedback from the medical research institute sector to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport is conducting an inquiry into approval processes for new drugs and novel medical technologies. Read our full response here.

Inquiry into Health and Medical Research in South Australia draft report 

AAMRI has responded to the draft report from the South Australian Productivity Commission (SAPC) on the Inquiry into Health and Medical Research in South Australia. AAMRI’s response to the draft report builds on AAMRI’s earlier submission to the inquiry in May 2020. Read our full response here.

VicAAMRI urges Victorian Government to secure MRFF funding

The Victorian Chapter of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (VicAAMRI) is urging the Victorian Government to use medical research investment in the upcoming budget to kick-start the state’s economic recovery. Read more in their media release.

AAMRI Member Networks

AAMRI operates a variety of member networks in key business areas that discuss issues, share ideas and come together at events.

How to join our Networks

AAMRI’s staff networks connect professional staff at AAMRI member institutes with their counterparts to discuss common challenges and issues facing the medical research sector. There are currently ten active AAMRI staff networks – HR, Research Governance, Research Strategy, IT, Research Administration Officers (RAO), Philanthropy & Fundraising, Operations Network, Legal Counsel, Finance, and COVID-19. For information on AAMRI Networks, upcoming network events and how to join, visit the AAMRI website.


2.  Government update 

Department of Health publishes MRFF grant outcomes

The Department of Health has published the grant outcomes of Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). The report shows that 90% of grants, representing 73% of funding, have been awarded competitively since the inception of MRFF. The release of these funding outcomes has shown that more than $1.3 billion has been invested in new medical research projects.

Changes to ARC programs

As flagged at the Budget the government will shift some funding from the ARC Discovery program to the ARC Linkage program.

FHRI Fund Advisory Council announced

The McGowan Government has announced the make-up of the Advisory Council of WA’s Future Health Research and Innovation (FHRI) Fund. The council will be chaired by HBF CEO John Van Der Wielen, while members come from a range of diverse sectors such as business, Aboriginal and regional health, and medical research and innovation.

New chief scientist appointed

Dr Cathy Foley has been appointed as the new chief scientist. She has been the CSIRO’s chief scientist for the past two years and has worked there for 36 years. She will take over from Dr Alan Finkel, who finishes his term in December 2020.

Innovative medical research hub in Perth 

The McGowan Government has announced $13.3 million in funding to establish a health and medical ‘innovation hub’ in Perth. The hub was a 2017 election commitment which now forms part of the WA Recovery Plan from COVID-19.

Indigenous Evaluation Strategy released 

The Indigenous Evaluation Strategy provides a whole-of-government framework for Australian Government agencies to use when selecting, planning, conducting and using evaluations of policies and programs affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.



Inclusion of Class I medical devices in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) 

Medical devices have been incorrectly included as Class I or applications have been found to be incomplete or inaccurate. As such, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has undertaken amendments to the Class I medical devices inclusion process. Closes 1 Jan 2021.

Global Harmonisation Task Force draft updated 

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) invited comment on a draft International Medical Device Regulators Forum document on Post Market Clinical Follow-up Studies. This draft document is part of a series on Clinical Evaluation and aims to strengthen the role of PMCF studies. Closes 11 December 2020. 


3.  Sector news

Join Us – a new digital solution to recruitment challenges

Many research studies fail to meet recruitment targets because current methods are outdated, time consuming and costly. The George Institute and UNSW have launched Join Us, an online register aiming to recruit a million Australians who pre-consent to be contacted about studies relevant to them.

Take the Women in STEM survey 

Take the triennial survey of women in STEM by Professionals Australia to identify trends in the female STEM workforce. All responses are confidential. Results from the survey will be published in a report in 2021. Closes 6 December 2020. 

Academy elects 28 new Fellows, including 13 women  

The nation’s top 28 medical and health researchers have been elected as Fellows of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the health and medical research.

Edward Holmes named NSW scientist of the year

Professor Edward Holmes from the University of Sydney has been named as 2020 New South Wales Scientist of the Year in recognition of his research into emerging viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.

Winners of the inaugural Jian Zhou Medal

The Academy of Health and Medical Sciences announced Professor Sarah-Jane Dawson FAHMS and Professor Andrew Steer FAHMS as the winners of the inaugural Jian Zhou Medal. Professor Dawson’s research has pioneered fundamental advances in the clinical application of cancer genomics and Professor Steer is an international leader in paediatric and tropical infectious diseases research.

CSL Centenary Fellowship awarded  

Dr Alisa Glukhova, WEHI and Professor Si Ming Man, JCSMR, ANU have each been awarded a $1.25 million, five-year CSL Centenary Fellowship. Dr Glukhova is investigating if Frizzled proteins can lead to new cancer drugs and Dr Man is researching a new way to fight drug-resistant bacteria.

$500,000 support for clinical trial manufacturing in Brisbane 

A first-of-its-kind facility in Brisbane, the T3 Cleanrooms at the Translational Research Institute, will help Australian start-ups able to manufacture potentially life-changing products, to locally manufacture medical technology and pharmaceutical products for clinical trials.

Webinar & Workshops – Management of Data and Information in Research

The ARDC is hosting an event series for research administration staff working in Research Offices within Universities or Medical Research Institutes who are responsible for implementing research data management policies aligned with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. Register for the webinar and workshops through the following links:


4.  NHMRC update

Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grants 2020

NHMRC Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grants 2020 are now open for applications on Sapphire with round closing on 25 November.

Ideas Grants

The peer review stage has now been completed and the NHMRC expects to make funding announcements by the end of the year.

NHMRC impact case studies

The NHMRC publishes impact case studies of research it has funded. Organisations interested in producing an NHMRC case study should refer to this advice on the NHMRC website.

Centres of Research Excellence (CRE) 2021 grant opportunity opening 

The CRE 2021 grant opportunity will include four streams: Clinical Research, Health Services Research, Public Health Research, Dementia Research. Minimum data is due 18 November 2020, and applications close 2 December 2020.

Impact of COVID-19 on NHMRC funded research

The NHMRC has produced an update list of FAQs in response to the impact of COVID-19 on NHMRC funded research. The FAQs cover grant extensions and variations, re-focusing existing research, reporting requirements, and variations to time commitments.

NHMRC funding calendar

The NHMRC keeps an up to date list of funding opportunities on its website where you can find out which schemes will be opening soon.


5.  MRFF update

MRFF competitive funding outcomes

The release of MRFF funding outcomes has shown that more than $1.3 billion has been invested in new medical research projects in a range of potentially life-saving areas. More than 90% of the grants and three quarters of the funding awarded to date have been through competitive funding rounds.

New MRFF priorities to put consumers first  

The health needs of consumers are set to feature even more prominently in future Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) investments following the release of new funding priorities for 2020 to 2022 by the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB). These new priorities will help ensure that our research capacity is closely aligned with the needs of the health system and the Australian population.

MRFF funding opportunities

We’ve made a handy table to help you keep track of what funding schemes are open and where to go for further information.

Register on GrantConnect to receive MRFF funding alerts

MRFF funding opportunities are advertised through GrantConnect. Make sure you register so you receive the latest funding updates.


6.  Other funding & award opportunities

Funding opportunities

Award opportunities

Academy launches medal for Outstanding Female Researcher

The Medal will be awarded annually to a female researcher for one or more seminal discoveries in the health and medical sciences, primarily working in Australia. Nominations are welcome from all fields associated with furthering biomedical and health research, whether clinical or basic biomedical research. Closes 1 March 2021.


7.  Reports & resources

Cancer data in Australia

An interactive data-visualisation report shared by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, estimates just under 150,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed and just under 50,000 deaths from cancer in 2020.

Health care experiences of people with chronic conditions 

This report explores the experiences that patients with chronic conditions have with their health providers, particularly exploring the data on how GPs and other specialists communicate with their patients.

Indicators to improve the quality of maternity services in Australia 

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released the National Core Maternity Indicators (NCMI) 2018 summary report that presents information on measures of clinical activity and outcomes of maternity services in Australia.

Case Study published by NHMRC: Autism Assessment and Diagnosis Guideline 

National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Australia’s health expenditure 2018-2019

Spending on health goods and services grew by 3.1% to $195.7 billion in 2018-19, according to a new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The report, Health expenditure Australia 2018-19, presents spending data for the financial year before the first cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in Australia.

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