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

Further information regarding the process to apply for Administering Institution status and the applicable requirements is available from this website.

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)

Hear from one of our female researchers

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

Additional resources

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