Peer review must remain principal basis for research funding decisions

The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences expresses concern regarding the news that Ministerial veto was applied to grants worth $4.2 million, which had been recommended for funding by the Australia Research Council, without communication of this decision or the reason for it to the applicants or their institutions.

The grants had been recommended for funding by the ARC, following rigorous peer review. This robust, independent process underpins the integrity of the research funding system.

The ARC funds valuable research across disciplines – indeed, many of the world’s most pressing challenges will only be solved through solutions that draw on insights and expertise from multiple fields.

Review by independent experts should remain the principal basis for decisions on competitive research funding.

MRFF: Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy and Priorities Released

The Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (Advisory Board) has released the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy 2016-2021 (the Strategy) and the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities 2016-2018 (the Priorities).

The Strategy provides a five year vision for the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and the Priorities identify a reference list for investments over the next two years. The Government will take both documents into account when establishing funding programs to be agreed through Budget processes.

The release of the Strategy and Priorities will allow the Government to commence the disbursements from the MRFF this financial year.

The Advisory Board consulted with more than 1,000 stakeholders, including the Academy, in the establishment of the Strategy and Priorities.

The key documents, along with further information on the MRFF, are available from health.gov.au/mrff.

President’s Newsletter
March 2015

Welcome to the first quarterly newsletter from the Academy, and a particular welcome to the new Fellows recently elected.

I imagine that many of you are wondering what the Academy is all about. To help you find your way around, I’ve provided some Information Sheets (click here), which outline what Fellowship is about, how the Academy is run, and what we’re trying to achieve as an Academy. This information replicates and adds to what’s available on our website www.aahms.org, which I commend to you as a source of information, and as a means to keep up to date with the Academy as it moves forward.

The Academy’s structure and function is a work in progress. It is however your academy, and your input is sought into each of the areas of Academy activity. To help you get to know the Fellowship, I’ve attached a list of current Fellows, listed by state. I hope that you’ll take up my suggestion to constitute a state branch in each state, and use meetings of these branches to find out what the Fellows in your state are up to. Our executive officer, Simone Yendle, can provide a list of email addresses for the Fellows from each state on request from a fellow in that state.

The launch of the Academy in Canberra last week was a great opportunity for networking amongst the new Fellows, and for letting government and the media know of our existence. We heard addresses from The Hon. Sussan Ley, MP, Minister for Health, and from Prof Warwick Anderson, oPM with Council small copyutgoing CEO of the National Health and Medical Research Council, each of whom saw great opportunities for the Academy, and wished us well in our endeavors. I’m particularly grateful to Robyn Williams who chaired the event, and kept us to time and whose remarks on what we have to achieve were clear and to the point. The success of the event reflected the hard work put into its planning and execution by Simone Yendle, Alan Mackay, and the Fellows organizing committee chaired by Prof Ingrid Scheffer. Council had the opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister before the event, who was keen to hear how the Academy progresses.

For those who weren’t able to make it to the launch, I’ve provided the text of my address to the Academy which outlines our goals and the challenges we face, and which, I hope will remind you that what we achieve is up to us. Its our Academy. Lets make it a useful one!

Best Wishes

Ian Frazer