The National Health and Medical Research Council annual plan is out, replete with references to integrity and excellence. The report renews the council’s commitment to its long-planned and much-discussed new grants scheme and cites priority areas, notably Indigenous health, gender equality in research funding and dementia research.
The Council also picks up on the present push for documenting research impact. It wants funded research to have a 150 per cent citation rate of the norm for articles in relevant journals. And it wants an app “that lists and verifies” all patents linked to funding plus case studies demonstrating commercialised research and statements showing economic benefits of new clinical practice guidelines funded by the NHMRC.
As for the rich and popular Medical Research Future Fund, the NHMRC is all friendly feelings, promising to, “continue its support of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), sharing its expertise in grant administration to help ensure funds are directed to high-quality research and transformational projects.”
But the bit that will interest researchers who struggle with cumbersome grant applications is the coming of Sapphire a, “high-performing system for grant applications and data management,” … “a system that is intuitive for researchers and administrative officers and supports better use of data by NHMRC.”