Friday, 14 February 2014
Columbus IJ (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
NHMRC is Australia’s major governmental funding body for health and medical research and sets national standards for ethics in health care and research. To maximize the benefits to Australia’s health and prosperity NHMRC works in partnership nationally and internationally to direct its efforts towards the most pressing health challenges. New and emerging health threats such as infectious disease, environmental hazards and changes in the human environment were identified as a priority action area in NHMRC’s current 3-year plan. In November 2012, NHMRC reviewed its responses to previous major international infectious disease outbreaks (see http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/media/events/2012/h5n1-are-we-prepared ). It was noted that are always significant delays between onset of the situation, identification of research needs and commencement of research, to the detriment of obtaining effective research outcomes. These delays include setting up calls for applications and awarding of grants through to regulatory and ethics approval processes. In considering how to minimize delays between emergence of major disease threats and the commencement of essential research activities, NHMRC has been exploring mechanisms for having research ‘ready to go’, including agreed protocols, active participation in international networks, and a capacity to undertake research during ‘regular; disease outbreaks (seasonal influenza). This presentation will describe our new future funding model and partnership building strategy which aims to address delays in responding to health emergencies.