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  • 1. STRATEGIC PLAN 2007-2009 N H M R C W O R K I N G T O B U I L D A H E A L T H Y A U S T R A L I A
  • 3. © Australian Government 2007 Paper-based publication This work is copyright. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the Commonwealth available from the Attorney-General’s Department. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to the Commonwealth Copyright Administration, Attorney-General’s Department, Robert Garran Offices, National Circuit, Canberra, ACT, 2600 or posted at: ISBN Print: 1864962577 © Australian Government 2007 Electronic documents This work is copyright. You may download, display, print and reproduce this material in unaltered form only (retaining this notice) for your personal, non-commercial use, or use within your organisation. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved. Requests for further authorisation should be directed to the Commonwealth Copyright Administration, Attorney-General’s Department, Robert Garran Offices, National Circuit, Canberra, ACT, 2600 or posted at: Online: 1864862631 To obtain information regarding NHMRC publications contact: Email: Phone: Toll free 13 000 NHMRC (13 000 64672) or call 02 6217 9000 Internet: N H M R C
  • 4. NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 3 CONTENTS Message from the Minister 5 NHMRC –THE NEW ERA 6 Challenges for Australian Health and Medical Research 6 Our Structure 8 Major National Health Issues 9 How NHMRC will Address these Health Issues 14 NHMRC STRATEGIC PLAN 15 Mission 16 Values 16 Strategic Objectives 16 Meeting Tomorrow’s Health Challenges 23 EXCELLENCEEXCELLENCE EXCELLENCEIn all we do.
  • 5. NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 5 Message from the Minister The National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) strategic plan for 2007-2009 should help to keep Australia at the forefront of health and medical discovery. Our ability to use these discoveries to address the health issues impacting on our community has been built on an internationally recognised research sector, which includes six Nobel Prize winners for Physiology and Medicine. Now, more than ever, we need to support our researchers and health professionals as they strive to tackle the unseen and emerging health challenges of tomorrow. This strategic plan outlines the major objectives of the NHMRC over the next three years, the major health issues that may emerge in the coming years and the steps needed to address them. To ensure Australia is well placed to meet emerging health challenges, the NHMRC has developed five key objectives to: Support the best research; Produce the highest quality evidence and advice; Pursue research at the highest of ethical standards; Encourage new avenues of investment; and Build a better NHMRC. The Government is committed to the ongoing support of the NHMRC, and in strengthening Australia’s health and medical research capacity. This was confirmed in May 2006 with a $905 million increase in spending towards health and medical research, including $500 million over four years to increase support for medical research, $170 million over nine years for the prestigious Australia Fellowship to support Australia’s best researchers, and $235 million to support our medical research institutions. I look forward to receiving reports on progress against the initiatives in the current plan and wish the NHMRC success in its ambitious endeavours. The Honourable Tony Abbott MP Federal Minister for Health 19 February 2007 • • • • • RESEARCHRESEARCH ADVICE
  • 6.  NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 NHMRC – THE NEW ERA Challenges for Australian Health and Medical Research Good health and wellbeing is something we wish for. If we do become ill, we want the health system to provide us with the best possible care. Overall, Australians experience good health, but we still suffer from the major health burdens of the developed world (e.g. cancer, heart and vascular disease, mental illness, bone and muscular diseases, obesity and diabetes), and in some communities, most notably many Indigenous communities, diseases of the developing world. Our health system is unique and often faces unique challenges. It is a combination of public, private and community-based health care and relies on many different professions. It extends from primary care to tertiary hospitals, from dense inner urban to remote low density locations. It needs to provide care to all members of our community from the very young to the very old, address the health needs of both sexes, the chronically ill, and people from diverse backgrounds and places of origin. Individuals have widely differing expectations of the system. It is understandable then that the health care system, perhaps our single largest industry, also relies on health research to develop, expand and improve. Research provides the evidence base to improve prevention, treatment and the effectiveness of health care. It leads to innovations that transform diagnosis and treatment, and generates the growth of new industries. It helps us understand ourselves as human beings. Internationally, health and medical research delivers new insights into the human condition and the processes that lead to ill health. Australia has contributed strongly to this international effort, and this has benefited both individual and community health here at home. Our health faces many challenges, both old foes and new and emerging threats. NHMRC is the leading health research agency for the country and so to meet the health challenges facing Australia, NHMRC must: Fund the best and most relevant research to improve the health of all Australians and adopt the outcomes of health research conducted elsewhere around the world; Influence and support the infusion of evidence from research into improving the actions of health professionals and the health care system, and into public health policies; Provide leadership in the ethical framework in which Australian health is delivered and research is conducted; and Work to ensure the discoveries of health and medical research contribute to growth of an innovative industry sector. • • • • TheNHMRCistheleadinghealth researchagencyforthecountry
  • 7. NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009  This Strategic Plan casts NHMRC’s triennial strategies within a longer term context, sets a series of objectives that challenge and stretch our organisation, and drives health and medical research and innovation into the future. NHMRC will serve Australia through the support of excellence in all we do. This Strategic Plan emphasises the translation of research into policy and practice, by supporting research ideas that improve clinical and public health policies and practices, clinical applications, and national wealth, via the Virtuous Cycle1 . Figure 1 – The Virtuous Cycle Advances in health research make possible new treatments not dreamed of until now, but also produce new ethical dilemmas previously not thought of. NHMRC is the only organisation charged with national responsibilities in health ethics and this plan presents a stronger commitment to action in promoting and ensuring the best ethical behaviour in Australian health and medical research. We work for the Australian community, accountable to the Government. We aim to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians and people around the world, now and into the future. Professor Warwick Anderson AM Professor Michael Good Chief Executive Officer Chairman THEVIRTUOUS CYCLE Research Investment Knowledge Creation Healthier Australians Improved Health Care National Wealth Generation GOVERNMENT RESEARC H OUTCOMES 1 Commonwealth of Australia (2004) Sustaining the Virtuous Cycle – for a healthy, competitive Australia – Investment Review of Health and Medical Research, Canberra.
  • 8.  NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 Our Structure NHMRC is Australia’s peak body for supporting health and medical research; for developing health advice for the Australian community, health professionals and government; and for providing advice on ethical behaviour in health care and in the conduct of health and medical research. NHMRC became an independent statutory agency within the Health and Ageing Portfolio on 1 July 2006. This change brought with it an amended National Health and Medical Research Act 1992 (the NHMRC Act), which defines the NHMRC as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Council and Committees, and the staff of the NHMRC (see figure 2). 1 July also brought with it new members of Principal Committees and Council, and a new CEO. Figure 2 – Structure of the National Health and Medical Research Council The NHMRC Act requires the CEO to develop a strategic plan setting out: The CEO’s assessment of the major national health issues that are likely to arise during the period; and The manner in which the CEO proposes to perform his or her functions in dealing with those issues during the period. Each NHMRC strategic plan must contain a national strategy for medical research and public health research. • • CEO MINISTER for Health & Ageing Council Staff Research Committee Australian Health Ethics Committee National Health Committee Human Genetics Advisory Committee Embryo Research Licensing Committee
  • 9. NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 9 RELEVANCERELEVANCEIn meeting the needs of all Australians. Major National Health Issues The NHMRC Act requires an assessment of the major national health issues likely to arise during the triennium. In developing this assessment the CEO has consulted with the Council, each Principal Committee of NHMRC and the staff. These issues are considered in developing NHMRC’s work plans to implement this Strategic Plan, through coordination of activities in research, research synthesis and guidelines, and health advice. NATIONAL HEALTH ISSUES: Australian governments have identified the following as major health issues: Arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions; Asthma; Cancer and cancer prevention; Cardiovascular health; Diabetes; Health workforce; • • • • • • Human influenza pandemic; Indigenous health; Injury prevention; Mental illness; Stem cell research; and Water quality. • • • • • • These issues will continue to receive strong research attention from NHMRC, and will be a major focus of activities where NHMRC provides evidence–based advice to governments and the community.
  • 10. 10 NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 2 priorities/default.htm). In particular, NHMRC will concentrate on health inequalities in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with a focus on prevention, delivery of care and governance, and will consider the social, cultural and economic factors which contribute strongly to the health of individuals and communities. NHMRC remains committed to achieving five per cent funding from the Medical Research Endowment Account for research relevant to Indigenous people. NATIONAL RESEARCH PRIORITIES: The Australian Government has adopted the following four National Research Priorities2 : An environmentally sustainable Australia; Promoting and maintaining good health; Frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries; and Safeguarding Australia. NHMRC has a particular responsibility for the National Research Priority, Promoting and maintaining good health, and the priority goals of: A healthy start to life; Ageing well, ageing productively; Preventive health care; and Strengthening Australia's social and economic fabric. NHMRC will support the Government’s efforts under the National Research Priorities. • • • • • • • • CURRENT HEALTH ISSUES There are other health issues in Australia in addition to those identified above. Some of these issues are outlined in Table 1. NHMRC anticipates that these issues will be subject to ongoing consideration by governments, non-government organisations, research organisations, and the community over the period of this Strategic Plan. NHMRC will assist government and community consideration of these issues in a variety of ways, including the development of research activities. In particular, NHMRC will work closely with the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, and the State and Territory governments to develop the research program and present the evidence required in advising governments. EMERGING HEALTH ISSUES In addition to the current issues identified above, there are issues of emerging importance that NHMRC will consider during the current triennium. Some of these are outlined in Table 2. NHMRC will direct its research activities and advice to inform government and community consideration of these issues.
  • 11. NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 11 3 Complementary Medicines in the Australian Health System, Expert Committee on Complementary Medicines in the Health System - Report to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing; September 2003 Table 1 – Major health issues during this triennium ISSUES COMMENT Effective health care Changing demographics, quality care and the impacts of new therapies and diagnostics will increase the pressure on Australia’s health care system, particularly resulting from increasing numbers of very elderly people requiring health care, the growing incidence of chronic illness, health inequalities in Indigenous communities, and the need for continuity of care and community support. There is a need for the health workforce, including allied health workers, to be skilled and experienced to be able to introduce research evidence into practice and policy. There is concern about a decline in research trained health professionals. Advances in research will impact on the cost of health care. There is pressure for taxpayers to subsidise an increasing range of new therapies, bolstered by an increasingly health literate population. NHMRC will support activities, with the Department of Health and Ageing, to provide the research base for dealing with the major issues, including quality of care, and through the National Institute of Clinical Studies and partnerships, develop strategies for the implementation of research- informed approaches in health practices and policy development. Obesity This represent a serious and growing national health concern and an increasing burden on the health care system. There is a need to examine the key risk factors that lead to obesity, and actively pursue opportunities to provide the scientific support for holistic national strategies to reduce the individual and community health burdens. NHMRC will make obesity prevention and treatment a major focus for the triennium to support a comprehensive national strategy. Complementary and alternative medicines One in two Australians3 regularly use complementary and alternative medicines with Australians spending more on complementary and alternative medicines than prescription drugs. NHMRC will initiate new approaches to research and the provision of evidence based advice in complementary and alternative medicines during this triennium. Depression, dementia and addiction These are major health issues which, over recent years, have reached increasing prominence. There is national interest in depression (e.g. the establishment of beyondblue and other initiatives), dementia (in an ageing population) and addiction (including to newer “recreational drugs”). NHMRC will target research to develop the evidence base in this area during the triennium. Social and environmental effects on health Research shows that strong cohesive societies have better health than dysfunctional communities with the health of the individual inextricably linked to the health of their community. Community and individual health is affected by local social and lifestyle factors and the physical environment, including food and nutrition, alcohol, smoking, recreational drug use, exposure to environmental extremes, isolation and loneliness, sexual health, access to and knowledge of health information, and many others. Of particular significance, disadvantage in the first years of life, including in foetal life, may have long lasting effects and directly influence health in adulthood. NHMRC will support research and evidence building in this important area.
  • 12. 12 NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 Table 2 Emerging Health Issues ISSUES COMMENT Genetic testing The rapid growth in knowledge about human genetics has lead to the widespread introduction of genetic testing in medicine and in everyday life. NHMRC will address major issues in this area during the triennium, including: - The need for new guidelines and standards (e.g. disclosure of genetic information; ethical aspects of genetic testing; and genetic registers); - Ethical issues; - Implications for business; and - The possibilities of individualised medicine (e.g. pharmacogenetics, nutrigenetics, etc). Health disasters It is not possible to predict fully the disasters in health that we might face. However, the threats include new infectious diseases (especially the possibility of avian influenza pandemic), the possible impact of terrorism (e.g. biological, radiological and physical) and the effects of heat extremes (especially in the elderly). Water quality Australia is focussing on the water shortages that many urban and rural communities are facing. Public trust in the safety – immediate and long term – of their water supply is essential, and unsafe water supplies can and do cause much ill health and death worldwide. For Australia, it seems inevitable that the safety of recycled water (direct, through treated, or indirect through discharge from upstream towns and cities) will be important over this period. Regenerative medicine Research over the past several decades is providing us increasingly with the ability to manipulate cells for therapeutic purposes, to repair and regenerate diseased and degenerated tissues. A wide range of new possibilities has arisen, including the use of adult and embryonic stem cells. During the next few years, the aspects of this area that seem destined to dominate are: - The immense challenges that face research in this new cell biology area; - Regulation of new research endeavours; and - The ethical debate around the use of stem cells derived from human embryos. There are deep and sincere views held for and against the use of human embryos in research, and this debate seems set to continue and grow. RESPONSIVENESSRESPONSIVENESS RESPONSIVENESSAddressing Australia’s immediate and longer term health challenges.
  • 13. NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 13 ISSUES COMMENT Public confidence in research Public support for health and medical research demands that we maintain the highest possible transparency and standards in all we do. Recent events internationally (e.g. failures in clinical trials in UK, fraud in Korea, reports of ethical transgressions in Australia) put public confidence at risk. NHMRC will continue to strengthen ethical oversight in Australian health and medical research, and to promote high standards, including: - External, transparent review of all our processes and achievements; - Timely reviews where ethical guidelines have been breached in the conduct of health and medical research in Australia; - Better coordination and surveillance of human experimentation; - A strong code against research misconduct and fraud; - A coordinated national approach to multi-centre research; - Diligent and transparent regulation of stem cell research; and - Educational initiatives. Nanotechnology New nanotechnologies are ready to transform many aspects of manufacturing, and provide many advances in health diagnostics and treatments. New food technologies Good nutrition is the cornerstone of good health and there are many new issues that have arisen in recent times, such as; - Concerns about foods from genetically modified crops and animals; - The benefits and risks of nutriceuticals; and - Professional concerns about dietary and nutrition advice and advertising. Global health Australian researchers accept a responsibility to contribute to the improvement of health throughout the world, and to contribute to growing activities to address the health burdens of the developing world. LEADERSHIPLEADERSHIP LEADERSHIPLeading Australia’s national health and medical research efforts, setting authoritative advice, supported by high ethical standards.
  • 14. 14 NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 BALANCEBALANCE BALANCE How NHMRC will Address these Health Issues The issues listed above are broad and dealing with them successfully will involve cooperation and effort from all sectors of the Australian community, including governments, the private sector, research sector, non-government organisations including professional colleges, and the community. Having identified these major issues, NHMRC will target through its research, ethics, regulatory and advisory functions where it can add most value to the country in meeting these challenges. NHMRC will seek to work and make partnerships with relevant organisations as required. To help Australia meet tomorrow’s health challenges, NHMRC will give priority to addressing the challenges identified in the preceding section. NHMRC will not be limited to these identified issues and will continue to monitor and address major issues as they arise. NHMRC will develop a detailed business plan, outlining the role of the Council, Committees and staff, to address issues outlined above and NHMRC’s strategic objectives outlined in the Strategic Plan below. Supporting all forms of research including molecular, cellular, and clinical research targeted at individual health.
  • 15. NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 15 NHMRC STRATEGIC PLAN NHMRC will only support excellence in research, because the best outcomes flow from the best research. NHMRC is committed to all research relevant to health - including biomedical, clinical, public health and health services research. NHMRC recognises that multidisciplinary approaches are needed to solve the complex problems of health. NHMRC has developed and will implement a series of realistic and achievable strategies to meet the expectations of all levels of government, the health and medical research sector, and the community. To achieve these goals NHMRC will: Continue to support excellence in health and medical research, including - Supporting robust project and program grant research built on the best ideas of Australian researchers. - Developing strategic approaches to the major health issues likely to arise and other emerging issues. Support the best researchers in all research approaches, through competitive research fellowships schemes including for early and mid- career researchers. • • Support key national assets needed for research, such as gene and tissue banks, national animal welfare initiatives and access to large scale research facilities. Work to further implement the recommendations of the Investment Review of Health and Medical Research (the Grant Review) on policy and practice focused research, and to provide more active assistance in research to inform policy development in health. Continue its commitment to improving Indigenous health through building capacity and implementing the Road Map: a strategic framework for improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health through research. Increase its commitment to supporting the best ethical conduct in health care and in research. Provide evidence and informed advice to governments and the community. Ensure diligent and transparent administration of the regulatory framework established by the Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2002 and the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002, including implementing the amendments to those Acts passed by the Federal Parliament. Improve communications with all our stakeholders through a comprehensive communications strategy. • • • • • • •
  • 16. 16 NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 Mission Working to build a healthy Australia. Values The NHMRC adheres to and promotes the following values: Excellence: In all we do. Relevance: Meeting the needs of all Australians. Responsiveness: Addressing Australia’s immediate and longer term health challenges. Leadership: Leading Australia’s national health and medical research efforts, setting authoritative advice, supported by high ethical standards. Balance: Supporting all forms of research including molecular, cellular, and clinical research targeted at individual health. Working with others: Supporting research across in a wide range of research organisations. Impact: Promoting policy, practice and commercial impacts. Engagement: Collaborating nationally and internationally. Accountability: Operating at the highest professional, and transparent standards. Diversity: Embracing a richly diverse workforce, operating in a collaborative, open and sharing environment. Strategic Objectives This Strategic Plan covers the period 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2009 and has five strategic objectives: OBJECTIVE 1 THE BEST AND MOST RELEVANT RESEARCH OBJECTIVE 2 EVIDENCE BASE FOR HEALTH POLICY AND PRACTICE OBJECTIVE 3 HIGH ETHICAL STANDARDS OBJECTIVE 4 INCREASED INVESTMENT (THEVIRTUOUS CYCLE) OBJECTIVE 5 TO BUILD A BETTER NHMRC
  • 17. NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 17 These objectives have been established to meet the challenges of the current and future health environment. Achievement of these objectives is the combined responsibility of the CEO, the Council, the Committees and the staff of NHMRC. To ensure NHMRC achieves the targets established by the vision for the next decade, it will be essential to set, monitor and report against key quantifiable and achievable Performance Indicators that also significantly stretch the organisation. During the 2003-2006 Triennium, NHMRC developed its Performance Measurement Framework4 . NHMRC’s Performance Measurement Framework will be revised to align with the five objectives outlined in the new Strategic Plan. NHMRC will help Australia deal successfully with health issues as they arise. These include emerging issues for the health system or individuals, or new health and medical research developments. Some of these developments may arise as new ethical issues. NHMRC, therefore, needs to be flexible to meet unforeseen challenges that may arise during the period covered by this Strategic Plan. In addition to this Strategic Plan, the NHMRC is required to provide an annual Statement of Intent in response to the Minister’s annual Statement of Expectation. NHMRC’s annual Statements of Intent will be made publicly available on NHMRC’s website ( and should be read in conjunction with this Strategic Plan. To achieve all the objectives, NHMRC will encourage and promote involvement of Australians in getting skills, experiences and careers in research, policy development, evidence-based health practice and ethics. 4 see WORKING WITH OTHERSWORKING WITH OTHERS WORKING WITH OTHERSSupporting research across in a wide range of research organisations.
  • 18. 18 NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 OBJECTIVE 1 THE BEST AND MOST RELEVANT RESEARCH KEY STRATEGIES MECHANISMS • Identify and support the best research and researchers. • Peer reviewed, open, transparent and contestable processes. • Short and long term research support. • Funding across approaches relevant to health. • Fellowships in the best research approaches. • Improve research funding processes. • International review. • Match research outcomes with Australia’s needs. • A robust Request for Application process targeting major health issues. • Policy and practice focused research initiatives. • Commercialisation development support. • Increase support for Indigenous health research. • Build Indigenous research capacity and increase research support. KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS Objective evidence of excellence, transparency and quality, such as peer review of final reports and bibliometric analysis, as outlined in the NHMRC’s Performance Measurement Framework5 . International review completed by 31 December 2007. Growth in all research approaches relevant to health. Five per cent funding from Medical Research Endowment Account for research relevant to Indigenous people. • • • • 5 see: IMPACT IMPACT Promoting policy, practice and commercial impacts.
  • 19. NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 19 OBJECTIVE 2 EVIDENCE BASE FOR HEALTH POLICY AND PRACTICE KEY STRATEGIES MECHANISMS • Increase access to best research evidence. • Systems to develop the best advice on current and emerging health issues relevant to the Australian community. • Processes to rapidly identify evidence gaps. • Facilitate the utilisation of health advice. • Interactions with relevant Australian, State and Territory governments, and non-government organisations. • Promote effective uptake of evidence into practice. • Implement the NHMRC’s policy and practice plan. • Integrate the National Institute for Clinical Studies within the NHMRC. • Programs to evaluate uptake methodologies. KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS Relevance and usefulness of health advice. Partnerships with relevant organisations. National Institute for Clinical Studies integrated by the end of March 2007. • • • ENGAGEMENTENGAGEMENT ENGAGEMENTCollaborating nationally and internationally.
  • 20. 20 NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 OBJECTIVE 3 HIGH ETHICAL STANDARDS KEY STRATEGIES MECHANISMS Address important ethical issues. Develop a workplan to address the ethical aspects of NHMRC’s priority health issues. Address ethical dimensions of relevant current and emerging health issues. Drive best practice ethical review of research. Promote the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans and the roles of Humans Research Ethics Committees and Animal Ethics Committees. Streamline multi-centre research. Promote responsible conduct and governance of research. Promote the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Human and the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes. Ensure compliance with Australian ethical standards. Propose a national systematic approach to promote compliance with national research ethics guidelines following a review of existing processes. Investigate alleged breaches in conduct of health and medical research. Perform our functions under the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 and the Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2002 with diligence and transparency. KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS Relevance and usefulness of ethical guidelines and advice. Completion of an implementation plan for national harmonised system of ethical review of multi-centre research by August 2007. Development of a framework for a national systematic approach to promote compliance with national research ethics guidelines. • • • ACCOUNTABILITYACCOUNTABILITYACCOUNTABILITYACCOUNTABILITYACCOUNTABILITYACCOUNTABILITY ACCOUNTABILITYOperating at the highest professional and transparent standards.
  • 21. NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 21 OBJECTIVE 4 INCREASED INVESTMENT (THEVIRTUOUS CYCLE) KEY STRATEGIES MECHANISMS • Work with government to support the best investment in health and medical research. • Engage with relevant government and non- government agencies. • Encourage industry investment in research and development. • Undertake a review to identify where the NHMRC can provide the greatest impact. • Seek to promote researcher/industry/business sector interaction. • Encourage philanthropic investment in health and medical research. • Develop and expand relationships with private sector. • Working in regional and global partnerships. • Establish agreements to support multi-national research, and implementation of advice and ethics. KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS Total levered research support in Australia. Interaction between researchers and the private sector. • • DIVERSITYDIVERSITY DIVERSITYEmbracing a rich, diverse workforce, operating in a collaborative, open and sharing environment.
  • 22. 22 NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 OBJECTIVE 5 TO BUILD A BETTER NHMRC KEY STRATEGIES MECHANISMS • Develop more responsive NHMRC. • Staff profile to better align with NHMRC’s new vision. • Implement Investment Review recommendations by recruiting additional staff experienced in health and medical research. • NHMRC Principal Committees to bring to the attention of NHMRC issues of national importance. • Coordinate internal strategic functions. • Integrate research, advisory, regulatory and ethics functions. • Improve NHMRC’s internal expertise and capacity. • Strengthen NHMRC’s internal scientific capacity. • Communicate effectively. • Improve communications with government, health professionals and the community. • Improve national and international cooperation and collaboration. • Develop broad ranging national and international multidisciplinary partnerships. KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS Improved community and government recognition and trust in the NHMRC as an authoritative health body. Greater recognition of the NHMRC as a value to the Australian community. • •
  • 23. NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 23 MeetingTomorrow’s Health Challenges There has never been a time when health research has been better poised to tackle human health problems and to stimulate the creation of new industries. We understand the fundamental biological mechanisms of life at a depth much more profound than even a decade ago, we understand the influence of the social and physical environment on health much better. We have many new and powerful potential diagnostic and therapeutic approaches opening up and a very able and flexible, internationally oriented research workforce. The challenges now are to continue to expand the frontier of knowledge across all research approaches – biomedical, clinical, public health and health services research – and maintain globally leading positions in the most important areas for the future. An even bigger challenge, is to ensure that new knowledge is captured for the benefit of health, through new diagnostics, new products, new therapies, evidence informed policy development, and evidence based best practice in care delivery. NHMRC will help Australia meet these opportunities because of our unique research, advice and ethics framework, but to do this the NHMRC will need to continue to evolve. We need to make sure that we can identify and support the best and most important research and researchers, build excellence in all research approaches, develop a more robust means of supporting priorities, and ensure that the gaps between knowledge generation and better health and national wealth are bridged more efficiently and effectively. We face many challenges, particularly the poor health of Indigenous Australians. We have also unique opportunities, not least of which will come from research and health engagement with the countries of south-eastern Asia. Its an ideal time then to seize these opportunities and build a stronger NHMRC for the future. A major task for the triennium will be to work with government to build a new vision for NHMRC as Australia’s peak health and research body. We will critically examine what Australia needs from the NHMRC in the future. We have an ambition to be the benchmark internationally for supporting research, providing evidence based advice to the community and setting ethical standards.
  • 24. 24 NHMRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 The National Health and Medical Research Council • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health • Aged Care • Blood and Blood Products • Cancer • Cardiovascular Health • Child Health • Clinical Practice Guidelines – Standards for Developers – Topics • Communicable Diseases, Vaccinations and Infection Control • Diabetes • Drug and Substance Abuse • Environmental Health • Ethics in Research–Animal • Ethics in Research–Human • Genetics and Gene Technology • Health Procedures • Health Promotion • Human Cloning and Embryo Research • Indigenous Health • Injury including Sports Injury • Men’s Health • Mental Health • Musculoskeletal • NHMRC Corporate documents • NHMRC Session Reports • Nutrition and Diet • Oral Health • Organ Donation • Poisons, Chemicals and Radiation Health • Research • Women’s Health The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) was established in 1936 and is now a statutory body within the portfolio of the Australian Government Minister for Health and Ageing, operating under the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992 (NHMRC Act). The NHMRC advises the Australian community, the Australian Government, and State and Territory Governments on standards of individual and public health, and supports research to improve those standards. The NHMRC Act provides four statutory obligations: • to raise the standard of individual and public health throughout Australia; • to foster development of consistent health standards between the States and Territories; • to foster medical research and training and public health research and training throughout Australia; and • to foster consideration of ethical issues relating to health. The NHMRC also has statutory obligations under the Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2002 (PHC Act) and the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 (RIHE Act). The activities of the NHMRC translate into four major outputs: health and medical research; health policy and advice; health ethics; and the regulation of research involving donated IVF embryos, including monitoring compliance with the ban on human cloning and certain other activities. A regular publishing program ensures that Council’s recommendations are widely available to governments, the community, scientific, industrial and education groups. The Council publishes in the following areas: NHMRC publications contact: Email: Internet: Free Call: 13 000 NHMRC (13 000 64672) or 02 6217 9000 To Order Publications: National Mailing and Marketing PO Box 7077 Canberra BC 2610 Email: Phone: (02) 6269 1000 Fax: (02) 6260 2770
  • 25. STRATEGIC PLAN 2007-2009 N H M R C W O R K I N G T O B U I L D A H E A L T H Y A U S T R A L I A