Closes on Thursday, 25 August 2016, 11:59pm (AEST)
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is inviting comment on the Structural Review of NHMRC’s Grant Program.
NHMRC awards new grants worth around $800 million each year from the Medical Research Endowment Account (MREA). Feedback from the research sector indicates that the work required to prepare and evaluate the high numbers of grant applications that will not be funded is placing an unsustainable burden on applicants and peer reviewers. Concerns have also been raised that many researchers, especially those at early and mid-career stages, are becoming discouraged from pursuing research and that there are disincentives to exploring new areas of research.
To address these challenges, an over-arching review of NHMRC’s grant program is being undertaken to determine whether the suite of funding schemes can be streamlined and adapted to current circumstances, while continuing to support the best Australian research and researchers for the benefit of human health. The review is being undertaken by the Office of NHMRC with the assistance of an Expert Advisory Group.
A consultation paper has been prepared for public comment. The aims of the review are to determine whether NHMRC can streamline its current research funding structure in order to optimise the significant public investment in health and medical research to achieve the best possible health outcomes. In optimising this investment, the NHMRC would seek to:
• reduce the burden on the research sector of grant application and review so researchers can spend
more time producing high-quality research
• encourage greater creativity and innovation in research
-- attracting and providing opportunities for the most talented researchers at all career stages
-- providing flexibility to respond to changing national health needs
-- fostering collaboration and partnerships in research and the translation of that research into improved individual and population health, and
-- meeting the major objectives of NHMRC’s grant program, including supporting excellence in Australian health and medical research.
The review is not looking at the details of the peer review process, which will be considered after the structure of the grant program is determined.
The paper sets out three possible alternatives to the existing grant program structure, with information about the existing grant program and the scope of review provided in Attachments A and B.
The paper seeks feedback on the different models, as follows:
Further information about the review, including public forums that will be held during the consultation period, is available on the NHMRC website.