AAMRI e-news | August 2020

AAMRI e-news | August 2020

6th August, 2020

In this issue

  1. AAMRI news – 2020 Budget Submission focussing on EMCRs
  2. Government update – Pre-budget submissions closes 24 Aug
  3. Sector news –  Jobkeeper payments extended
  4. NHMRC update – Indigenous clinician researchers project
  5. MRFF update – MRFF potential audit
  6. Other funding & award opportunities – Victorian Cancer Agency Funding Rounds close soon
  7. Reports & resources – AIHW report: Australia’s health 2020
  8. Training, networking and courses – BioBusiness Insights: Opportunities in regenerative medicine

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 budget priority: secure the future of Australia’s next generation of talent

AAMRI has been raising the alarm about the precarious position facing our early to mid-career scientists in our 2020 Budget Submission. We have outlined the risk of losing the next generation of our brightest researchers, and are asking the Australian Government to fund 300 additional Investigator Grants.

We know early to mid-career researchers are the cohort mostly likely to struggle to find funding as there are not enough grants or fellowships available at this level. Instead many of these researchers are part funded through philanthropy and fundraising, and turn to their medical research institutes to fund the rest. Due to the economic downturn resulting from COVID-19 the holes in this imperfect system have turned into chasms.

Read more:

Victoria Stage 4 workplace restrictions: essential worker permits

The Victorian ‘Permitted Worker Scheme’ is now operational. Detailed instructions and a template to complete worker permits, for any Victorian institutes, can be found on the Justice and Community Safety site. Details of permitted industries and employment categories – see “guide for business, stage 4 restrictions” – can be found on the Dept of Health and Human Services’ website. Details regarding COVID Safe Plans and employer obligations can be found on Business Victoria.

Medical research sector applauds injection of MRFF funding

AAMRI welcomes the government’s decision to not only honour its election promise of meeting the next milestone payment in the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), but increase the initial amount promised from $2.52 billion to $3.21 billion. This payment meant the fund reached its target of $20 billion. Read the full media release on our website.

AAMRI Member Networks

AAMRI operates a variety of member networks in key business areas that discuss issues, share ideas and network at an annual event.

Save the date: 2020 virtual AAMRI Research Strategy Network Workshop – 02 Sept 2020

The AAMRI Research Strategy Network is hosting a half day virtual workshop  from 11am-2pm (AEST) Wednesday 02 September 2020. The workshop will provide an opportunity to discuss some of the issues faced by the research sector and a chance to meet some of your colleagues working at Institute’s across the country.

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 


Independent Review into the North West Tas COVID-19 outbreak

The Review will cover every aspect of the outbreak in the North West of Tasmania, including the actions and effectiveness of those actions taken in response. Closes 14 August 2020.

2020-21 Pre-Budget Submissions

The Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer called for further submissions from individuals, businesses and community groups on their views regarding priorities for the 2020-21 Budget. Closes 24 Aug 2020.

3.  Sector news

Jobkeeper payment and income support extended

The JobKeeper Payment will be extended by six months to 28 March 2021 and the temporary Coronavirus Supplement for those on income support will be extended until 31 December 2020.

Impact survey – The Australian Academy of Science’s STEM Women database

The survey is 18 questions long and should take approximately 5–10 mins to complete. Your responses will play an important role in helping the Academy to further develop, promote and improve STEM Women. Closes 13 Aug 2020.

International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders (IAMHRF) Survey

The IAMHRF is seeking to promote the uptake of a few shared measures that researchers use alongside any other instruments that may further their research interests so that data aggregation may be simplified across the mental health field. The survey should take you no longer than 20 minutes to complete. Closes 15 Oct 2020.

National Survey of Research Commercialisation (NSCR) to cease, replaced by SCOPR

Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) has independently introduced a new survey to collect data on research commercialisation activities in Australia and New Zealand. KCA’s Survey of Commercialisation Outcomes from Public Research (SCOPR) is currently live and results are expected to be published in September. AAMRI encourages all its members to take part in the survey.

New Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health in WA

WA’s first Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health has been appointed. Dr Sophie Davison will play an integral role in helping lead clinical mental health in WA, and the role will strengthen consumer and community focused clinical care.

New agency to manage Australia’s radioactive waste

The Australian Radioactive Waste Agency will be based in Adelaide and be responsible for all functions of the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, including engagement with the Kimba.

Funding announcements:

4.  NHMRC update

Changes to NHMRC’s Grant Schedule and Policies in Response to COVID-19

In consultation with Research Committee, NHMRC has adjusted dates for the 2021 grant program to provide applicants with as much time as possible to plan and prepare applications for the next round of funding, and to avoid scheduling clashes as a result of delays to the Ideas Grant and Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grant schemes in 2020. Visit the NHMRC website for all key dates.

NHMRC Funding schemes and calendar

This is a list of all NHMRC’s current and upcoming funding schemes with relevant dates. Use the funding finder to find tailored grants.

Indigenous Clinician Researchers Project

The NHMRC is undertaking a research project to determine if there are appropriately clear and supported pathways available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clinician researchers in Australia. For this project, independent research organisation ORIMA Research is looking to speak with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clinician researchers – that is healthcare professionals that both conduct research and provide direct clinical services; and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students interested in a career as a clinician researcher.  If you are interested in participating please email Isabella Frances from ORIMA Research, or ph (03) 9526 9000.

FAQs on COVID-19 outbreak and NHMRC processes

These FAQs are intended to address frequently asked questions from NHMRC stakeholders about the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on applications for NHMRC funding, peer review, grant management and other NHMRC processes.

Grant Variations Policy

If grant holder’s circumstances have changed – for example, there has been a delay in Research Activity because of involvement in the clinical or public health response due to COVID-19 – RAOs can submit variation requests. More details on the NHMRC website.

5.  MRFF update

Medical Research Future Fund now worth $20 billion

The MRFF has reached maturity at $20 billion – an investment that will provide ongoing sustainable funding for ground breaking health and medical research. The final credit of $3.2 billion enabled the MRFF to reach its $20 billion investment target within five years of its establishment.

Potential audit: administration of the Medical Research Future Fund

The audit would examine the MRFF funding principles, strategy and priorities used to guide selection of medical research initiatives to fund, governance structures, and how well the department is monitoring and measuring the MRFF’s performance in meeting its goals. You can subscribe to receive email updates regarding the audit via the ANAO website.

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.

Funding announcements:

COVID-19 impacts on MRFF grants

If you have concerns, the MRFF ask you to contact the Grant Hub administering the relevant MRFF Grant Opportunity or Grant Agreement (NHMRC: help@nhmrc.gov.au or BGH: enquiries@industry.gov.au) to discuss the options available.

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

Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research – applications extended to Fri, 07 Aug 2020

The Metcalf Prizes, each worth $50,000, are awarded to: one male and one female stem cell researcher; working in Australia; between 5-10 years past their PhD or MD (research-based). Closes 07 Aug 2020.

2021 Gilead Fellowship Research Grants Program

The Research Grants Program enables Australian researchers to apply for funding across a range of therapeutic areas. The total funding available is $300k, and the number of projects may vary depending on how many applicants the judges decide to award funding to, last year it was seven projects. Closes 14 Aug 2020.

2020 Dementia Grants Program

Two Post-doctoral Fellowships are available for new and early-career researchers, across the broad areas of dementia prevention or treatment. The 3 year award includes salary (up to $110k pa) as well as a project grant to cover research expenses ($75k). Closes 21 Aug 2020.

2020 Victorian Cancer Agency Funding Rounds

The Early Career Research Fellowships and Mid-Career Research Fellowship are both currently open. They both have a biomedical and non-biomedical research stream. Closes 2pm AEST on 24 Aug 2020.

Australia-China Science and Research Fund (ACSRF) – Joint Research Centres – Round 4

ACSRF supports activities undertaken through Joint Research Centres. These virtual centres link Australian and Chinese research institutions doing research in a priority area. Up to $5 million is available. Closes 02 Sept 2020.

Business Research and Innovation Initiative – Priority Sectors Round

The Business Research and Innovation Initiative occurs in 3 stages: challenge selection; feasibility study, and; proof of concept. More details on grants.gov.au. $100k available. Closes 10 Sept 2020.

The Snow Fellowships

The Snow Fellowships target emerging global research leaders that show the potential to drive, manage and influence the next generation of health and medical innovation. Each Snow Fellowship is valued at up to $8 million over eight years. EOIs due 20 Sept 2020.

National Blood Sector Research and Development Program – Round 5

The Program is focussed on the following research areas: patient blood management evidence gaps and efficient and effective use of immunoglobulin products. Up to $1.275m available in 25k – 150k grants under Round 5 of the Program for single or multiple year projects. Closes 28 Sept 2020.

NHMRC-NIHR Collaborative Research Grant Scheme 2019 priorities for funding 2020 – Round 3

This scheme supports Australian participation and collaboration in leading international collaborative research through the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme. Total of $3m available over 5 years. Closes 20 Nov 2020.

7.  Reports and resources

Crime and Corruption Commission: Reducing the risk of research fraud

Lessons from an audit of governance, internal controls and corruption prevention measures at three Queensland universities.

Research Australia report: COVID-19 The impact of on health and medical researchers

This report is a compilation and analysis from Research Australia’s national survey of over 1200 researchers.

From evidence to practice: Exploring translation pathways for clinical medical science and public health research

From the National Foundation for Medical Research & Innovation, this report explores the translational pathway for these research streams, identifying challenges and opportunities for research to be of even greater value to the community.

Reports from the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare:

8.  Training, networking and courses

BioBusiness Insights: Opportunities in regenerative medicine – July – Oct 2020

BioMelbourne Network, in collaboration with CCRM Australia, will be delivering a series of stand-alone webinars focusing on the regenerative medicine industry. Find out more on the BioMelbourne website.

JBI LIVE free webinar – Criticisms of Evidence-Based Healthcare (Past & Present): A Response & Reflection – 26 Aug 2020

Join Associate Professor Zachary Munn, JBI Director of Transfer Science, online for a discussion about the criticisms of Evidence-based Healthcare (Past and Present), reflect on the validity of these critiques and provide a response, on Wednesday 26 August at 11am. More information or register here. For other events click here.