Retaining women in health and medical research is a key issue internationally and is a strategic priority for NHMRC. Our vision is that all researchers have equal opportunity to participate in NHMRC funding schemes and are supported to reach their full potential. This requires environments which are free from bias, discrimination and sexual and all other forms of harassment.
Latest news from NHMRC on gender equality
Since 2015, NHMRC has required Administering Institutions to have policies and procedures in place to meet NHMRC’s gender equality requirements. These requirements address the underrepresentation of women at senior levels in health and medical research in Australia.
The wording of the requirements has been updated to reflect contemporary language. In line with NHMRC’s Gender Equality Strategy 2018–2021, an additional requirement about supporting environments that are free from bias, discrimination and sexual or other harassment has also been added. Further information
NHMRC's Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2021
NHMRC is proud to present its inaugural Gender Equality Strategy 2018–2021 (the Strategy), which has been developed with advice from NHMRC’s Women in Health Science Working Committee. Action plans will outline activities that NHMRC will undertake to implement the Strategy each year. Now available with the Strategy are a summary of:
- the progress made against the 2018–2019 Action Plan, and
- the 2019–20 Action Plan (see downloads)
NHMRC's CEO is advised by the Women in Health Science Committee
The NHMRC Women in Health Science Working Committee was established to gain a better understanding of the issues that women researchers face in health and medical research and barriers to career progression. Further information
NHMRC is building on existing gender equality initiatives
NHMRC has a suite of strategies aimed at improving the retention and progression of women in health and medical research which include:
- gender equality policy requirements for all NHMRC Administering Institutions
- using strategic funding to support, through Project Grants, 34 additional female Chief Investigators in 2017 and 31 additional female Chief Investigators in 2018
- the Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship, awarded to outstanding female Research Fellows
- policies to take career disruption and ‘relative to opportunity’ considerations into account during peer review
- part-time opportunities across all NHMRC schemes
- operational improvements to support those with carer responsibilities, e.g. not sending out emails with deadlines attached on Friday afternoons or after 2pm
- videoconferencing, which facilitates the participation of people with carer responsibilities on NHMRC peer review panels
Want to see the data?
NHMRC is tracking application rates, funded rates and peer review panel participation by gender:
- NHMRC publishes all scheme outcome data by gender
- NATSEM data - see attachments
- Archived data (2013-2015) - See attachments
- NHMRC endorses the Australian Academy of Science’s Athena SWAN pilot – the Athena SWAN Charter evolved from partnership between the Athena Project and the Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN). Further information
- NHMRC’s gender equality work aligns with the Australian Research Council and other government initiatives.
- See Professor Kelso’s presentation: Designing the future for women in research