The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) welcomed a new CEO, Professor Steve Wesselingh, this August. Prof. Wesselingh, a distinguished figure in infectious diseases research, is renowned for his work on HIV, vaccine development, and the exploration of the human microbiome’s effects on health.
A Legacy of Leadership
Before his appointment, Prof. Wesselingh’s illustrious career included serving as the inaugural Executive Director of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and leading the research efforts at Health Translation SA. His voice was also pivotal within the NHMRC Council, and he contributed significantly as the Chair of the Research Committee and as President of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS).
NARF and NHMRC: Aligning Visions for the Future
In a first meeting this November, the executive committee of the National Association of Research Fellows (NARF) convened with Prof. Wesselingh to forge a path for Australia’s biomedical research. The NARF president, Associate Professor Gina Ravenscroft, highlighted the association’s recent advocacy for increased research funding and the importance of consistency across funding bodies like the NHMRC and the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). She also emphasised the need for robust peer review of funding applications and transparent dates for funding announcements.
Addressing the Imperatives
Prof. Wesselingh asserted his commitment to leading the NHMRC in a direction that focuses on equity, quality, and recognition in research. Acknowledging the critical juncture at which the sector stands, he stressed the need for improved peer review processes, more research on how best to conduct and support research endeavours and the importance of strategic funding to meet the sector’s burgeoning challenges and opportunities.
The Road Ahead
The meeting set a constructive tone for future collaboration, and NARF is optimistic about working alongside Prof. Wesselingh. The discussions were characterized by a realistic approach to the challenges ahead, with an emphasis on the practical steps needed to foster advancements in the field. The opening of direct communication lines is a positive first step, and while the task ahead is substantial, the expertise of Prof. Wesselingh combined with the dedicated advocacy of NARF points towards a brighter future for Australia’s biomedical science researchers.Tags: Advocacy