4 May 2015

National Health and Medical Research Council

Australian Research Council 



The Australian Research Council (ARC) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) are working together to streamline application processes where possible.

This communique is to provide an update on some of the issues we are considering.

  • The CEOs meet regularly to discuss relevant issues and have been examining many options
    • our focus is to find best practice and to adopt processes that minimise regulatory burden on researchers.
  • Different fields of research—we keep in mind that our funding schemes are relevant to very different fields of research. Approximately 10% of ARC-funded researchers have overlaps with NHMRC.
  • No funding gaps—it is sometimes asserted that there are ‘funding gaps’, i.e. areas of research that neither agency funds. We do not believe that this is the case. The NHMRC funds “any research relevant to health”, with no specific areas of exclusions.  The ARC does not fund overlap with NHMRC responsibilities and defines those areas of health and medical research which are ineligible for its programs. In short:
    • NHMRC funds any research relevant to health
    • ARC has a clear policy on what medical research they do not fund.
  • Application processes—we have compared the processes used in our funding schemes to consider how we can simplify our processes and our staff have attended each other’s peer review meetings.
  • Common researcher ID number—we recently released a joint statement encouraging all researchers applying for funding to have an ORCID identifier so that we can more easily share information on researchers and monitor research outcomes across the two funding agencies
    • this would also allow researchers to add their information into ORCID data fields and then (with IT modifications at our ends) to transfer this straight into our IT systems.
  • Curriculum vitae—we are working on how to provide a common CV approach and have compared data fields used in our respective CVs and have explored adopting international common CV options
    • this led to discussion on a common ID number (see above) as a partial solution to a common CV approach.
  • IT systems—we are sharing information on our respective IT systems for grants management at a time when both systems are undergoing significant reforms.
  • Open access—we have very similar policies on open, public access to research publications and are discussing similar policies on open access to research data.
  • Post-award—we have shared information on post-award requirements (e.g. final reports) so that good practice is adopted, differences are minimised, and duplications are avoided.