August 2018

HSRAANZ  Submission - The Medical Research Future Fund 2018-2020 Priorities Consultation


In July/August 2018 the independent Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) conducted a national consultation to inform the development of the second set of Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities (Priorities) for 2018-2020.

AMRAB was interested in hearing reflections on the first set of MRFF Priorities and how the next set of Priorities should extend or reset the direction of the MRFF.   They sought views on a number of specific questions:

1.    Are there any outstanding Priorities from 2016-2018 that need to be extended or re-emphasised?
2.    What are the unaddressed gaps in knowledge, capacity and effort across the healthcare continuum and research pipeline?
3.    What specific priority or initiatives can address any of the above deficits?
4.    How can current research capacity, production and use within the health system be further strengthened through the MRFF?
5.    Free text commentary with reference to the Discussion Paper.

The Medical Research Future Fund 2018-2020 Priorities Consultation Discussion Paper

April 2017

HSRAANZ  submission to SA Health’s draft strategic framework – Research Focus 2020.


In early 2017 SA Health undertook consultation on a draft strategic framework to support health and medical research in South Australia.

The draft Research Focus 2020 (PDF 135KB)(opens in a new window) documents was developed following extensive consultation with the South Australian health and medical research sector.

SA Health stated:

"SA Health recognises the important role of health and medical research in driving advances in health care delivery, policy and decision making and delivering significant benefits to the broader community.

South Australia is investing strongly in the Health and Biomedical Precinct in the West End of Adelaide, built on a strong partnership between the:

  • South Australian Government
  • South Australian universities
  • South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)
  • private sector.

It is imperative, therefore, that SA Health is able to identify the value proposition of health and medical research, and to establish appropriate strategic priorities that can inform further activity to foster a strong and innovative health and medical research sector in South Australia."

The final Research Focus 2020 document is expected to be released in mid-2017.

Structural Review of NHMRC’s Grant Program – HSRAANZ Survey Results and Submission

To inform its submission to the Structural Review of the NHMRC's Grant Program the HSRAANZ  undertook an online survey of health services researchers’ views on the three possible alternative models to the existing grant program.  The survey was completed by 50 individuals: 18 SRs (36%), 11 MCRs (22%), and 21 ECRs (42%). The responses were analysed quantitatively and qualitatively to inform the responses to the consultation questions.

Summary of key messages from HSRAANZ survey respondents
A consistent theme within respondents’ qualitative feedback was the inability to provide an informed opinion on the relative advantages of the three alternative models. The lack of detail within the Consultation Paper was noted as a major concern for many individuals, with many suggesting there is need for modelling or evidence on the advantages of each approach (Box 4). This lack of detail may have also led to some respondents’ belief that these alternative models are similar to the existing NHMRC structural approaches and will not achieve change. Furthermore, individuals reported some difficulty in determining the differences between the models; this was evidenced in the number of individuals who could not easily allocate rankings across the three models.

Overall, Alternative Model 1 was ranked first in the following four NHMRC objectives: reduce grant preparation time; encourage ECR and MCR progress; balance safe and innovative research; and provide opportunity across career stages. Alternative Model 3 was also ranked first in the four NHMRC objectives: reduce grant review times; balance health and medical research; provide funding support for health service research; and encourage translation of health service research into policy and practice. It is important to note, that Alternative Model 2 was not ranked first in any of the reviewed NHMRC objectives.

There was also conflicting feedback on the value of each structural approach in relation to achieving a balance between ECR, MCR and SR career stages. This balance was also discussed in relation to the size of the applicants’ research institutions; with those SRs within large centres likely to receive an inequitably higher proportion of research funds, while ECRs within smaller teams less likely to benefit from the opportunity to participate in applications.

HSRAANZ NHMRC Structural Review Survey Results

HSRAANZ Submission

We would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey and Dr Elizabeth Fradgley who prepared the final report.

Results of the HSRAANZ Data Availability Survey

The report of the HSRAANZ's survey on data availability has been submitted to the Productivity Commission.

Overall, key messages from HSRAANZ survey respondents were:

  • Imperative to improve the speed and ease in accessing data, to provide more up-to-date and relevant information for policy and practice to improve health and wellbeing.
  • Need to improve timeliness for approval and delivery of data, both for non-linked and linked datasets.
  • Potential to improve streamlining of processes to reduce delays and prevent duplication of effort, by researchers and data custodians.
  • Suggestions to improve standardisation and centralisation for cross-jurisdictional data linkage, to reduce duplication of same requirements with multiple gatekeepers.
  • Acknowledgment that access to linked data has been steadily improving.
  • Many examples provided by HSRAANZ survey participants of research projects with high impact and benefits, which highlights why access and use of data is important.

The full report can be viewed here.

Australian Medical Research and Innovation - Five Year Strategy

June 2016

HSRAANZ Submission

NHMRC Public Consultation - Principles of Peer Review

February 2013

Full Report

Submission to the Strategic Review of Health and Medical Research - Health Services Research Association of Australia and New Zealand.

October 2012

Full Report


Submission to the Strategic Review of Health and Medical Research - Health Services Research Association of Australia and New Zealand.

March 2012

Full Report



Celebrating the Achievements of Health Services Research in Australia and New Zealand 2001-2011

This publication represents the tangible celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Health Services Research Association of Australia and New Zealand. Bringing together a set of papers looking back over the past 10 years in terms of both research and policy seems a fitting means of commemoration for an Association whose purpose is to facilitate communication across researchers, and between researchers and policymakers, to promote education and training in health services research, and to ensure sustainable capacity in health services research in Australia and New Zealand.

Full Report

Facilitating Access to Routine Data for Research Benefiting Australian People



Full Report

National health reform needs strategic investment in health services research

Jane P Hall and Rosalie C Viney

Med J Aust 2008; 188 (1): 33-35.
  • With new funding for the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to provide an evidence base for policy and practice reform, it is timely to revisit Australia’s recent experiences with health services research and policy development.

  • We provide a broad review of the contribution of Australian health services research to the development of health policy over the past 20 years.

  • We conclude that three preconditions are necessary to influence policy:

    • political will;

    • sustained funding to encourage methodological rigour and build decisionmakers’ confidence; and

    • the development of sufficient capacity and skills.

Assessing the capacity of the health services research community in Australia and New Zealand

  • Jane Pirkis1Email author,
  • Sharon Goldfeld2, 3,
  • Stuart Peacock4,
  • Sarity Dodson1, 5,
  • Marion Haas6,
  • Jackie Cumming7, 8,
  • Jane Hall6 and
  • Amohia Boulton9
Australia and New Zealand Health Policy20052:4  DOI: 10.1186/1743-8462-2-4


The conclusions of a web-based survey was administered to members of the Health Services Research Association of Australia and New Zealand (HSRAANZ) and delegates of the HSRAANZ's Third Health Services Research and Policy Conference.



Health services research: saviour or chimera?

The Lancet

Volume 349, Issue 9068, 21 June 1997, Pages 1834–183

Prof Nick Black, FFPHMa



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