Health and Medical Research SIG

July 26, 2019

Health and Medical Research Special Interest Group

There is a rapidly growing expectation globally that health research must respond to the needs of the community, health services, government and other stakeholders.  Health care environments are getting increasingly complex – the cost base for providing a clinical service is increasing rapidly, community expectations of best practice care are increasing and research is perceived as a cost rather than a solution.  In addition, many health care settings in Australia have considerable challenges in attracting high quality clinical personnel as they do not provide the sought after sophisticated research-clinical environment. 

In Australia, with the emergence of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and Academic Health Research and Translation Centres (AHRTC) and a number of other state-based initiatives, the focus is on research that leads to community health benefits.  The concept of AHRTC’s has been adopted globally.  They are generally defined as a partnership between two or more universities, research institutes and healthcare providers focusing on research, clinical services, education and training. In Australia, the NHMRC has established a process to formally recognise leading centres of collaboration that excel in the provision of research-based health care and training as AHRTC’s or Centres for Innovation in Regional Health (CIRH).  This model presents unique challenges for research administrators working across university, research institute and health service sectors.

The Medical Research Future Fund is a $20B vehicle funded by the Australian Government for investment in health research and translation. The government’s ongoing investment aims to supercharge the growth in cutting edge HMR leading to new cures and treatments that are improving health outcomes across Australia. The four funding key streams include: patients, researchers, research missions and research translation.                      

In the recent NZ budget that was unveiled in June this year, the NZ Government has committed an investment of an additional $132 million of funding over 4 years for research, science and innovation. Combined with significant investment in the R&D tax incentive through Budget 2018, this is expected to grow total Government investment by 22% from $1.672 billion in 2018/19 to $2.047 billion in 2020/21. The Government has further introduced R&D tax incentive, available from the 2019/20 tax year, will also encourage R&D investment. Combined, these investments are intended to support a thriving nation in the digital age. They are designed to foster the kind of innovation that creates social and economic opportunities and improves the wellbeing of all New Zealanders.


In Singapore, under the RIE2020 Plan, the Singapore Government has committed S$19 billion to research, innovation and enterprise over the next five years i.e. 2016 to 2020.

The four technology domains, or ‘verticals,’ prioritized under RIE2020 are:

1. Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering

2. Health and Biomedical Sciences

3. Services and Digital Economy

4. Urban Solutions and Sustainability

The Health and Biomedical Sciences budget of $4 billion is approximately 20% of the overall RIE2020 budget of $19 billion.

These new changes present challenges and opportunities to the institutions (hospitals and research institute) and their research managers and administrators.

HMR SIG provides an international platform for healthcare/ biomedical research-related managers to influence and curate programs that better align with the specific interest and needs of this niche community in particular up to date policies, legislation changes and best research management practice.

Specifically, the HMR SIG will:

  • Provide a forum for health and medical research (HMR) managers and administrators to share best practice including issues relating to research innovation, translation, governance and commercialisation
  • Facilitate networking between members of the SIG
  • Identify learning and professional development needs for its member
  • Serve as an international platform for healthcare/ biomedical research-related managers to influence and curate programs that better align with the specific interest and needs of this specialised community

The Convenors of the HRM SIG are:

Dr Hannah Clark, Head of Preclinical Research Services and Education ACT Health (ACT)

A/Prof Tam Nguyen, Deputy Director of Research St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne (VIC)


To contact the SIG Convenors, please email with the SIG name in the subject line.