AAMRI e-news: December 2020

AAMRI e-news: December 2020

9th December, 2020



In this issue

  1. AAMRI news – AAMRI 2020 Convention starts today!
  2. Government update – State budgets announced
  3. Sector news – Seqirus to build $800M influenza vaccine
  4. NHMRC update – Triennium nominations open
  5. MRFF update – Minister approves Monitoring Strategy
  6. Other funding & award opportunities – MRFF 2021 Frontier Health Initiative
  7. Reports & resources – Chat with a Nobel Laureate

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


1. AAMRI news

Last reminder – #AAMRI2020 Convention starts today!

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. This event is free for all AAMRI members and their associates. 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 hear from former UK CMO, Professor Dame Sally, and the President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Dr Michael Strong.

  • Registrations have now closed.
  • If you are a speaker: By now you would have received an email asking you to update your virtual profile on the Program website. If you haven’t yet, please activate your profile now.
  • If you are a delegate: We look forward to you joining us at the #AAMRI2020 Convention at 10am!

VicAAMRI welcomes medical research investment in 2020-21 State Budget

The Victorian Chapter of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (VicAAMRI) has welcomed the Victorian Government’s investment as part of the State Budget 2020-2021. Investment includes the $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria Fund; $155 million for a new infectious diseases institute; $36 million for the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance; $16.5 million towards COVID-19 research; $2 million for respiratory challenge trials project and, $1 million towards the National Centre for Inflammation Research.

VicAAMRI welcomes investment in new institute 

VicAAMRI has applauded Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ announcement today of a $155 million investment to establish the new Australian Institutes for Infectious Diseases and Global Health.

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 

Qld Budget outcomes

The Qld Budget 2020-2021, released on 12 December, announced an investment of $5.64m capital investment for QIMR Berghofer and an agreement with Vaxxas to manufacture needle-free vaccine technology at a new facility in Brisbane. This project is expected to create up to 139 jobs over 10 years and aligns with the Queensland Biomedical 10-year Roadmap and Action Plan.

NSW Budget outcomes

The 2020-21 NSW Budget, released on 17 November, announced an investment of $750M for redevelopment of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; $20M for COVID-19 research and clinical trials; $15.6M in total for various precincts; $8M for a Central Cost Medical Schools and Central Coast Research Institute and, funding for stage one of the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.

The Productivity Commission releases its final report on mental health inquiry

The report makes recommendations to the Australian and State and Territory Governments, to improve the mental health of people of all ages and cultural backgrounds. Recommended reforms extend across workplaces, schools and universities, the justice system, community groups and services for healthcare, psychosocial support, and housing.

$41.7 million boost to commercialise lifesaving medical discoveries

The Government, alongside Brandon Capital Partners has committed $11.7 million to test the INNA-051 nasal spray developed by Australian biotech company, Ena Respiratory. In addition, four further projects will also share in almost $30 million dollars to commercialise their ideas.

Investment of $22 million to tackle antimicrobial resistance

The Minister for Health has confirmed that the Australian Government has committed $22.5 million in this year’s Budget to address the priorities identified in Australia’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy – 2020 & Beyond.

Investment to support synthetic biology research

The Government is investing $8.3 million to establish BioFoundry, a synthetic biology research facility to accelerate research in areas such as biofuels, drought resistant crops, improved nutrition and human therapeutics.

Update on the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility 

The facility will support the ongoing development of our nuclear medicine and research industries. Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt said this will be a permanent facility to permanently dispose of low-level radioactive waste and temporarily store intermediate-level waste.



Submissions invited on the Productivity Commission Inquiry Report on Mental Health

The Australian Government is consulting with the public and key stakeholders on the Productivity Commission Inquiry Report on Mental Health. As part of its recommendations, the report outlines changes that can affect various areas of business, such as work health and safety, and employees. The Government is seeking views particularly with respect to priorities and implementation issues. Submissions due 10 February 2021

2021-22 Pre-Budget Submission

The Government is seeking submissions from individuals, businesses and community groups on their priorities for the 2021-22 Budget. To ensure that views can be incorporated into the Budget process, submissions are due by close of business on 29 January 2021.

Global Harmonisation Task Force draft updated 

The Therapeutic Goods Administration 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.

What are the priority research areas in Indigenous health? 

The NHMRC is asking for research priority areas in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, specifically where is there a significant research knowledge gap or unmet need. Submissions due 1 February 2020.


3.  Sector news

Survey on the ongoing impact of COVID-19

Research Australia is repeating the survey it undertook in May on the impact of COVID-19 on health and medical research and innovation. The first survey was completed by more thant 1,200 researchers and helped inform governments and policy makers about the effect COVID-19 was having on vital health and medical research. The new survey seeks input from everyone working in the health and medical research and biotechnology sector.

Final report on the South Australian Productivity Commission Health and Medical Research Inquiry submitted 

The report on Inquiry into Health and Medical Research in South Australia was delivered to the Premier on 13 November and will be published on their website three months later. It considers the potential for policy, regulatory, research governance and other reforms to improve the state’s performance in medical research.

Seqirus to build $800M influenza vaccine manufacturing facility 

Seqirus, the world’s second largest influenza vaccine provider, announced its plans to construct a new world-class biotech manufacturing facility in Australia to supply influenza vaccines to Australia and the rest of the world. The state-of-the-art facility will use innovative cell-based technology and will be the only cell-based influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in the Southern Hemisphere.

Meet Australia’s newest superstars of STEM   

Sixty women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics take on the spotlight as experts in their fields.

Survey on educating health workers about artificial intelligence  

The University of Melbourne and the Australian Alliance for Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare, are undertaking research to capture expert educators’ ideas and plans for educating the Australian health workforce about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in health systems and services. Closes on 21 December.

Vitex to expand into the Aeropolis 

The Australian company, Vitex Pharmaceuticals is planning to build two new facilities in the Western Parkland City, creating more than 1,000 jobs and training hundreds of students in pharmaceutical manufacturing.


4.  NHMRC update

Nominations open for 2021–2024 triennium

Nominations are being accepted for all positions on the Council of NHMRC and Principal Committees. Closes 31 January 2020.

Ideas Grant funding outcomes 

NHMRC released the Ideas Grant funding outcomes under strict embargo on Monday 30 November 2020. CIAs and relevant RAOs will have been notified of outcomes via email once outcome documents are available in RGMS. All grant offers must be accepted by 16 December 2020.

Changes to NHMRC’s grant schedule and policies

NHMRC has changed the timing of the 2021 Investigator Grant and Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies schemes. It has also changed its Relative to Opportunity policy to accommodate the impacts of COVID-19 on research.

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.


5.  MRFF update

Minister approves the MRFF Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Strategy 2020-2021 to 2023-2024

The MRFF Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Strategy 2020-2021 to 2023-2024 approved by the Minister for Health is now available. For more information, please email mrff@health.gov.au.

Updated list of MRFF grant recipients

This list is now updated regularly as successful grant recipients are announced. The latest update is correct as of 2 December 2020.


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.

Women in Leadership Awards 

Nominations for the BioMelbourne Network Women in Leadership Awards are now open. These awards recognise women who have made outstanding contributions to advancing the biotechnology, medical technology and pharmaceutical sector, and inspire more women to pursue leadership roles.


7.  Reports & resources

Professor Elizabeth Blackburn – Meet the woman behind the prize 

All are welcome to join the virtual event hosted by Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre with Nobel Laureate, Professor Elizabeth Blackburn hosted. Professor Blackburn, along with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009.

When: 10:00-11:00am, Friday 18 December 2020.

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