Professor Anne Kelso AO
CEO, National Health and Medical Research Council
21 December 2018

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding will again boost Australia’s top female researchers through an initiative first introduced in 2017.

The initiative comes in response to the longstanding disparity in funded rates between men and women lead investigators for Project Grants - NHMRC’s largest funding scheme.

NHMRC is tackling this difference by funding an additional 31 women lead investigators in 2018, bringing the total to 162 and reducing the difference in the funded rate between men and women to around 1 per cent.

NHMRC’s Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2021 aims to achieve a gender-equal health and medical research workforce by increasing the retention and progression of women.

“Retaining women in health and medical research aligns with the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, is a key issue internationally and is a strategic priority for NHMRC,” said Professor Anne Kelso, Chief Executive Officer of NHMRC.

The funded rates for Project Grants have been higher for projects led by men compared to those led by women since 2001 (a difference of approximately 4 per cent each year).

The funded rate for men will remain unchanged at 17.6 per cent.

“NHMRC continues to fund research excellence. All funded applications, including the additional 31, were ranked as highly competitive,” said Professor Kelso.

“Over $469 million in research funding is being provided through the Project Grants scheme, continuing the government’s commitment to invest in the best health and medical research,” said Professor Kelso.

This announcement complements a suite of other initiatives, including working with universities and research institutions to ensure gender equality policies are in place to help keep women in research.

Further information on the grants and NHMRC’s gender equality initiatives can be found at: https://nhmrc.gov.au/research-policy/women-health-science.

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