AAMRI e-news | April 2021

AAMRI e-news | April 2021

8th April, 2021



April 2021


In this issue

  1. AAMRI news – Join the Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Network
  2. Government update – New Industry, Science and Technology minister
  3. Sector news – Chief Scientist calls for open access to research
  4. NHMRC update – Synergy Grant scheme now open
  5. MRFF update – Consultation on MRFF Missions
  6. Other funding and award opportunities – REDI 2.0 now open
  7. Reports and resources – Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder report
  8. Events and courses – Australian Science Policy Fellowship Program webinar

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’s Submission to Inquiry into Australia’s Migration Program

AAMRI’s submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Migration’s inquiry into Australia’s Migration Program emphasises the importance of the international exchange of people and ideas for the future success of Australia’s world-class medical research sector.

Join the Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Network

We are connecting staff with an interest in advancing gender equality, diversity and inclusion in the MRI sector to discuss major issues and how institutes and the sector are seeking to address them.

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 

New Industry, Science and Technology minister

In last week’s cabinet reshuffle, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the Hon Christian Porter MP will take on the Science, Industry and Technology portfolio, replacing the Hon Karen Andrews MP who is moving to the Department of Home Affairs..

National Clinical Quality Registry Strategy released

The Department of Health has released the National Clinical Quality Registry and Virtual Registry Strategy 2020-2030.

New company to administer the Breakthrough Fund

A new company will be established to administer the $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria Fund, with an interim independent expert board to oversee it led by former Victorian Premier John Brumby.

Accelerating research and development in NSW

A new body, Investment NSW, will collate funding opportunities across government agencies under one roof, pointing businesses towards where they can invest their cash. The new body will also roll in Research and Development NSW to streamline collaboration opportunities.



Critical Technologies Discussion Paper: Health

The Critical Technologies Policy Coordination Office (CTPCO) is seeking insights on the future of critical technology in the health sector to better understand their impact and to help shape future government policy and decision-making. Closes 9 April

Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan

The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (2017-22) outlined plans for a National Mental Health Research Strategy which is currently being developed with further consultation to occur in the second quarter of 2021.

University research commercialisation

Submissions are invited on the University Research Commercialisation Scheme consultation paper to help maximise the social and economic benefits of Australia’s multi-billion-dollar university research sector. Closes 9 April.

Critical Technologies for Australia – Agriculture & Health Sectors

The Australian Government, through the Critical Technologies Policy Coordination Office (CTPCO), is undertaking consultation on the future of critical technologies in the Australian agriculture and health sectors. Closes 9 April.

National Preventive Health Strategy Consultation

The Australian Government is seeking feedback on the draft National Preventive Health Strategy which aims to help all Australians improve their health. Areas of focus for the next 10 years are identified in the Strategy as well as evidence-based policy achievements. Closes 19 April.

Genomics Health Futures Mission consultation

MRFF’s Genomics Health Futures Mission is seeking feedback on its draft Roadmap and Implementation Plan, which provides $500 million for research to deliver better testing, diagnosis and treatment. Closes 23 April. 

Stem Cell Therapies Mission consultation 

MRFF’s Stem Cell Therapies is seeking feedback on its draft Roadmap and Implementation Plan, which provides $150 million for research to develop innovative, safe and effective treatments accessible to all Australians. Closes 23 April.  

Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Mission consultation 

MRFF’s Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Mission is seeking feedback on its draft Roadmap and Implementation Plan, which provides $185 million for research to support older people to maintain their health and quality of life as they age. Closes 23 April.  

Indigenous Health Research Fund consultation 

MRFF’s Indigenous Health Research Fund is seeking feedback on its draft Roadmap and Implementation Plan, which provides $160 million for research to support the health of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. Closes 23 April. 

Australian Strategy for International Education 2021-2030

Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge has invited submissions on an Australian Strategy for International Education 2021-2030. Closes 12 May. 

ANAO audit into the management of the MRFF

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is seeking submissions to its audit of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). Closes 30 May. The report will be tabled in September 2021. 

Software based Medical Devices survey

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is conducting an education campaign in order to help stakeholders understand the new framework for regulating software as a medical device. This includes the areas of the framework in which stakeholders need more information and how this information should be presented. Closes 24 November.  

3.  Sector news

Chief Scientist calls for open access to research

In her inaugural National Press Club Address at the Science meets Parliament event, Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley, emphasised the need to improve open access to research. She said that developing an Open Access Strategy could help address this foundational issue.

CSIRO moves towards Open Access for national benefit

Research aimed at solving Australia’s greatest challenges will be made increasingly accessible as part of a shift towards ‘Open Access’ models at the national science agency, CSIRO.

ADRI named WHO Collaborating Centre

In a world first, the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) based in Sydney has been designated by the World Health Organisation as a Collaborating Centre for the Elimination of Asbestos Related Diseases. This recognition confirms ADRI as a global leader in asbestos-related diseases.

Dementia, hearing loss and hearing care

A white paper commissioned by the Hearing Care Industry Association of Australia (HCIA) on the most current research into hearing loss, hearing care and dementia has been released.

Victorian women leading COVID-19 research charge

Victoria’s female scientists have been celebrated on International Women’s Day for their dedication and excellence as they spearhead the medical research response to coronavirus. Almost 60 per cent of Australia’s medical research community are women.

NSW Young Woman of the Year Award

Dr Samantha Wade from the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) has been named the 2021 NSW Young Woman of the Year. The award recognises her contributions to pancreatic cancer research, most notably her contribution to the invention of a device that can shrink pancreatic tumours.

Academy awards for outstanding scientists

Outstanding contributions to science have been recognised by the Australian Academy of Science with 24 current and future stars of science receiving prestigious 2021 honorific awards.


4.  NHMRC update

GACD Launches Implementation Science e-Hub

The Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) – a collaboration of major international research funding agencies – has announced the launch of the Implementation Science e-Hub: a free, virtual platform for knowledge and skill development in implementation research, particularly in relation to chronic and non-communicable diseases.

Synergy Grant scheme now open

The Synergy Grant scheme for funding commencing in 2022 is now open. Closes 21 April.

Ideas Grant scheme – key application dates

The Ideas Grant scheme for funding commencing 2022 is now open. Minimum data is due 7 April. Closes 5 May. 

Partnership Projects 2020 PRC2

Partnership Projects funding supports new opportunities for researchers and policy makers to work together. Minimum data due by 28 July. Closes 12 August. 

Postgraduate Scholarship applicant

Postgraduate Scholarship scheme will open for applications on 14 April. Applicants who do not yet have a Sapphire account need to lodge their user request form with the NHMRC Research Help Centre.

National Redress Scheme

The National Redress Scheme is in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. NHMRC funding will not be awarded to a relevant institution which has not joined the Redress Scheme.

NHMRC consultation on guidelines

NHMRC is currently seeking views of guideline developers about guideline impact: What does impact mean to you, how you collect or use impact data and how do you evaluate impact.

NHMRC funding calendar

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

$10 million for National Mental Health Research Centre

Funded by $10 million from the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Special Initiative in Mental Health, the new national centre, called ALIVE will establish an Academy of Lived Experience and Co-Design Living Labs at 14 universities across all states and territories.


5.  MRFF update

Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant recipients

The Department of Health issued the latest update on the MRFF grant recipients on 25 March. A total of 347 competitive grants valued at $264.3 million were awarded in 2019-20.

Consultation on MRFF Missions

Six of the Medical Research Future Fund’s research missions are currently undergoing national consultation. To assist the public in developing submissions, webinars are being held for each mission:

  1. Traumatic Brain Injury Mission Consultation
  2. Cardiovascular Health Mission Consultation
  3. Stem Cell Therapies Mission Consultation
  4. Genomics Health Futures Mission Consultation
  5. Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Mission Consultation
  6. Indigenous Health Research Fund Consultation

All submission close on 23 April.

Audit to assess the management of MRFF

The Australian National Audit Office is undertaking an audit to assess whether the Department of Health is effectively managing the MRFF under these three criteria:

  1. Are the MRFF governance arrangements effective?
  2. Has MRFF legislation, governance, strategies and priorities guided selection of medical research initiatives?
  3. Does Health effectively monitor, measure and evaluate MRFF’s performance?

Submissions close on 30 May. Report due in September.

Showcasing the Benefits of the MRFF

Research Australia is asking MRFF grant recipients to complete a survey about how MRFF funding has assisted or is assisting in their research.

$15 million for development of innovative therapies for mental illness

The Australian Government has announced a $15 million competitive grant round through the MRFF o kick start clinical trials exploring the use of combination therapies to treat mental illnesses.

$12.6 million for international clinical trial collaborations

The Medical Research Future Fund’s Clinical Trials Activity initiative will provide up to $12.6 million to support Australian researchers to lead, and participate in, international collaborative clinical trials.

$3.2 million to take medical devices from discovery to manufacture

As part of the MRFF’s Medical Research Commercialisation initiative, $3.2 million is available to help up to four partnership projects bring innovative medical devices to market.

Current funding opportunities

See AAMRI’s summary of current MRFF grant opportunities, open and closing dates for applications and how to apply.

Subscribe to the MRFF newsletter

To stay updated about MRFF-related changes, you can review the previous editions of the MRFF newsletter and subscribe to their email list.


6.  Other funding and award opportunities

Funding opportunities

Award opportunities


2022 Academy awards

Nominations are now open for the Academy’s 2022 honorific awards. Closes 1 May. 
Applications are open for research conferences, research awards and travelling fellowships. Closes 1 June.


7.  Reports and resources

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder report

The Senate Community Affairs References Committee released the report of its Inquiry into Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder on 17 March. The report, Effective approaches to prevention, diagnosis and support for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder contains 32 recommendations.

REDI Initiative Skills Gap Analysis report

MTPConnect has released the REDI Skills Gap Analysis Final (Second) Report: Driving skills development and workforce training for the future MTP workforce.

Coordination of health care for patients aged 45 and over

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released statistics from the Coordination of Health Care Study for Primary Health Networks across Australia showing how patients’ experiences of coordination and continuity of care vary across Australia.

Better Cardiac Care measures for Indigenous people

AIHW has released the fifth national report on the 21 Better Cardiac Care measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with updated data available for 15 measures.

Cancer screening and COVID-19

This AIHW report looks at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer screening in Australia in 2020.

Health system expenditure on cancer and other neoplasms

Health system expenditure on cancer and other neoplasms in Australia, 2015-16, presents estimates of cancer expenditure. In 2015-16, expenditure was $10.1 billion, including at least $2.7 billion attributable to health risk factors.

Mental health services in Australia

Mental Health Services in Australia (MHSA) provides a picture of the national response of the health and welfare service system to the mental health care needs of Australians. In 2018-19, $10.6 billion was spent on mental health.

Oral health services for Indigenous children

A report on the oral health outreach services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged under 16 in the Northern Territory from July 2012 to December 2019.

Oral health and dental care in Australia

This report presents key data, information and trends over time describing the oral health status of Australians and their use of dental care services.

Residential Aged Care Quality Indicators

Information submitted by 2,608 residential aged care services, 96% of those who received Australian Government subsidies, from 1 October to 31 December 2020. Report shows that 98% of people in aged care felt safe, treated with respect, and had their healthcare needs met most or all of the time.

New guidelines to improve quality of life for kids following cancer

Up to 80 percent of children treated for brain cancer or leukaemia go on to develop communication problems. In a world-first, new NHMRC endorsed guidelines provide recommendations to ensure that children are provided follow up care for communication and swallowing until adolescence.

Thin Melanoma Recurrence Risk Calculator

Clinicians and their patients can now determine the likelihood of their thin melanoma (≤1.0mm in Breslow thickness) spreading and potentially turning into a more deadly form of the disease using a new risk prediction model developed by Melanoma Institute Australia.

Podcast: The complexities of adjuvant therapy in melanoma

Medical Oncologists from Melanoma Institute Australia discuss the evidence for adjuvant therapy to guide clinical decision-making in their podcast series.


8.  Events and courses

The Story of our Bones

Free public seminar by Garvan Institute of Medical Research were osteoporosis expert, Professor Jacqueline Center, shares insights on what our bones do for us. When: 13 April, 12-12:30pm AEST.  

Australian Science Policy Fellowship Program webinar

The Office of the Chief Scientist are hosting a public information webinar on the Australian Science Policy Fellowship program 2021-22 to answer questions from prospective applicants. When: 13 April, 5:30-6:30pm AEDT.

Register for the Cicada Innovation Challenge launch event

CSL Behring, a leading biotech company, is collaborating with Cicada Innovations to launch an Innovation Challenge to unearth solutions that will make a huge impact on the lives of patients around the world. Prize money up to $40,000 with mentorship from CSL Behring and Cicada Innovations. When: 14 April, 7.30- 8.15am AEST.

Inaugural David Cooper Lecture

Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the U.S. National Institutes of Health will meet with Tegan Taylor, co-host of the ABC’s Coronacast, to discuss the past, present and future: learnings from the HIV/AIDS epidemic to the ongoing impact of COVID-19. When: 14 April, 6:30-7:30pm AEST.

Institute for Glycomics 21st Birthday Grand Ball

Join the festivities at Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics 21st Birthday Grand Ball. Funds raised through the event support the Institute’s research work. When: 14 August at RACV Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast. 

Melanoma research events

Precision Medicine conference

Registrations are now open for the Precision Medicine conference, which showcases the advances being made by local and international researchers in the advancement of precision medicine. When: 20-21 May, Westmead Sydney.

Menzies School of Health Research symposium

First Nations Languages & Health Communication Symposium on communication skills, media, ethics and more. When: 12-13 May, Royal Darwin Hospital.  

Your events!

Get in touch with us about your events and we’ll list them here.