Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any enquiries that are not addressed in the Frequently Asked Questions, please contact us by email.

General Questions

Is this Academy part of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS)?

No. Each of the learned Academies operates independently.

There has been close consultation with the Australian Academy of Science during the development phase. The AAHMS held its first Council meeting at the Shine Dome of the AAS, in Canberra. There will be some distinguished scientists who are Fellows of both Academies, and there will be projects on which the AAS and the AAHMS work together.

How much control does the Government have over the Academy?

The Academy is completely independent of the government. It is not answerable to government, nor will the government control its programs and activities (except that governments may commission and pay for the Academy to undertake particular projects, as an independent and expert body).

That said, the Academy was developed with the explicit and strong support of both the Commonwealth Department of Health and the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Aren’t there already a lot of medical research lobby groups?

The Academy is not a lobby group or peak body. It is an independent, authoritative source of information and advice, informed by evidence. It will not be politically partisan. However, while Fellows will not “lobby” in the name of the Academy, they may make representations to government or other organisations in other roles they may hold.

What does the Academy actually do?

As a newly established Academy, a core task will be to initiate and grow a strong Mentorship Program, to promote academic medicine and translational health and medical sciences in Australia. Moving forward, the role of the Academy will also be to provide independent advice to government, industry and the community on issues relating to evidence based medical practice and medical research.

How will the Academy help to train health and medical scientists for the future?

The Academy’s one-to-one Mentorship Program will provide an independent avenue for career, personal and leadership development to young scientists to help individuals realise their full potential. Future programs will also include career development for mid-career scientists.

What is the difference between this Academy and the specialist medical colleges?

As the primary representative of health and medical sciences in Australia, the Academy has a very broad base. The Academy brings together individuals who may be members of Australia’s diverse specialist colleges and associations along with researchers and medical educators with a clinical and translational focus.

The Academy plans to engage with all professional colleges and academies.

Is the establishment of the Academy the first step towards the government closing down the NHMRC?

No. The Academy and the NHMRC have completely different roles. NHMRC may seek advice from the Academy on a range of issues, but has a continuing role in determining priories for research, administering research funding programs, and advising government on issues within its mandate.

Aren’t Australia’s medical research institutes already doing what Academy proposes to do?

The Academy is a leadership body and seeks to bring together key stakeholders of the health and medical sciences, including the medical research institutes and other key organisations.

The Academy will act in an advisory role to the government, providing objective policy advice relating to medical practice and research.

What is the relationship between the Academy and the various universities?

While Fellows of the Academy may have affiliations with various universities, the Academy itself is impartial and independent of all universities.

However, the Group of Eight universities have supported the development phase of the Academy generously. For the first round of elections the Academy invited proposals for fellowship from many universities, in addition to many other key stakeholders (the Australian learned academies; medical research institutes; the Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges and the medical colleges, and some peak health professional organisations).

How will the Academy respond when asked for its opinion?

The Academy will have a coordinating role for responses, and would seek a consensus from the Fellowship before giving its opinion.

What would success look like for the Academy in 5 years?

The Academy has a strategic plan. In five years, success would include:
– wide acknowledgement as a learned academy
– effective interactions with other national and international academies
– a strong and representative Fellowship of 300+
– 100-200 people under mentorship at any time
– submission of at least one government and one Academy commissioned report each year

Does the Academy offer scholarships?

Not at this stage.

Are Junior or Associate Fellowships available?

The Academy aims to be inclusive and will encourage mentees to consider becoming Associate Members of the Academy when the conditions for associate membership are finalised.

Fellowship Questions

Do you need medical qualifications to join the Academy?

No. Fellows are elected on the basis of their expertise, contributions and achievements in their discipline or field of research or practice. Many are medically qualified, but the Academy includes Fellows from diverse health fields.

What age do you have to be to join the Academy?

There are no (lower or upper) age constraints. Health or medical scientists, broadly defined, who are active may be elected to Fellowship. The intention is that a high proportion of Fellows will be at the peak of their scientific endeavours, and that the Academy will be marked by a high level of professional energy, a dynamic program of activities, and a focus on significant achievements.

What qualifications are needed to join the Academy?

No formal qualifications are specified for election to fellowship. However, to be elected as a Fellow, a health and medical scientist would be expected to be highly qualified and have substantial experience consistent with being an Australian and international leader in his or her field.

How many Fellows does the Academy have?

There are 132 Fellows at present.

How large is the Academy expected to become?

The Council of the Academy anticipates that it will grow, over the next few years, to a fellowship of some 350 to 400 Fellows. The size of the Academy will ultimately be determined by the quality of candidates, not by quotas.

What role do the Fellows play in the Academy?

The Academy is only as strong as the contribution of its Fellows to the business of the Academy.

Fellows are encouraged to actively engage with the Academy at every opportunity, to assist in achieving our goal to promote health and medical research and its translation and to enable a healthier community. Fellows may do this by;

– Providing quality mentorship and role models to the next generation of health and medical researchers
– Projecting an authoritative image of health and medical research and its purpose in the community and to government
– Providing a forum for recognised health and medical researchers to meet and to debate issues and provide authoritative and unbiased advice to the community and government to facilitate progress in health.

Will entry into the Academy from other streams, eg industry contributions, be possible?

The Academy will have broad reaching selection committees and this will be directed by the Fellowship.

What do I need to do if my nomination is unsuccessful?

Candidates who are unsuccessful will automatically remain eligible for election for 4 years, though their documentation may be updated each year. The Secretariat will contact the Proposer/Nominator to initiate this process.

Mentorship Questions

How will the Academy mentor early to mid career researchers?

This will be the primary role of the Academy in the first few years, and will involve one-on-one pairing between experienced health and medical researchers who are Fellows of the Academy and health and medical researchers in training.

Do mentees need to be clinician researchers?

No. The Mentorship Program is open to any person already holding a primary degree in a health related area [eg. medical, biomedical science, allied health professional, nursing] and currently professionally employed or enrolled in a research higher degree, and to any person with a research higher degree on a biomedical topic currently working in a health related area of research.

Is there an age limit for mentees?

It is expected that most mentees will be under the age of 40 and will be aiming for a career in health and medical research.

Will the Academy be offering any other Programs in future?

Yes, the Academy plans to develop other programs focused on career development for early- and mid-career scientists in the coming years.

Will Mentors and Mentees be expected to meet in person?

Where possible, Mentees will be paired with local Mentors to facilitate face-to-face meetings, if preferred. Mentors and Mentees will not be chosen from the same facility or institution, to prevent conflicts of interest.

Will Mentors be paid?

No. Mentorship will be entirely voluntary.

Will Mentees have a choice in who their Mentors are?

Mentors and Mentees will be paired by the Mentorship Program Officer, based on their location and research interests. There will be an opportunity to revise pairings on the basis of significant conflicts of interest or logistical challenges.

How long do mentorships typically go for?

It is envisaged that formal mentorship would generally be for between 2 and 4 years.

How often should Mentors and Mentees meet?

Once pairing is finalised, the details of each one-to-one mentoring relationship will be negotiated and agreed by the mentor and mentee.

Will Mentors and Mentees receive training?

Future capacity development programs will include training opportunities for mentees.

Supporting the Academy

How is the Academy funded?

The Academy will be resourced in three ways.

First, all elected Fellows pay fees.

Second, the Academy is a registered Charity, with gifts eligible for taxation deductibility.

Donations, bequests and gifts may support specific programs and projects of the Academy, such as the Mentorship and Development of Health and Medical Scientists program; or they may be for the general support of the operations and activities of the Academy.

Third, given that the Academy seeks to be independent, expert and authoritative, it expects that it will be commissioned by governments and industry to prepare and release statements and reports on health and medical issues.

Why should I donate to the Academy?

Academies like the AAHMS rely substantially on gifts and legacies from Fellows and Friends. These enable the Academy to support and expand programs, policy development, publications, education, public awareness and outreach, international activities, awards and fellowships.

We plan to expand our work to respond to the demands we are facing from society, the health care sector, government and industry.

Your (tax deductible) donation will help us to do that.

Please contact Prof Ian Frazer, President; Prof Ingrid Scheffer, Vice President; or Prof Nick Talley, Hon Treasurer if you would like further information about supporting the Academy.

How do I make a donation to the Academy?

The Academy is endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as a Deductible Gift Recipient. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the Treasurer, Prof Nicholas Talley

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (02) 4921 5855

How do I make a bequest or leave a legacy to the Academy?

As an independent and not-for-profit registered charity, the Academy deeply appreciates every donation received. For a confidential discussion about naming the Academy in your will, please contact the Treasurer, Prof Nicholas Talley

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (02) 4921 5855

Does the Academy have any funding programs?

Not at present.