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Current and Emerging Issues for- NHMRC Fellowship Schemes submission

ID: 
20
Step 2 - Personal Details
First Name: 
Nicky
Last Name: 
Thomas
Step 3 - A. Some questions for you
1. Which of the following best explains your interest in NHMRC’s fellowship schemes: (select ONE only): 
I am currently working in the health and medical research sector
2. If you are a health and medical researcher, which of the following descriptions best classifies your research? (select ONE only): 
Basic science – please complete the next two questions
3. If you are a health and medical researcher, which of the following best describes the main source of funding that supports your salary? (select ONE only): 
NHMRC Scholarships and/or Fellowships
Step 3 - B. Consultations questions
Question 1: How should NHMRC’s funding balance between research grants and fellowships be adjusted as the total number of Project Grants available falls progressively over the next few years?: 
It is disappointing to see that the above would be the only options available. However, the one and only option is to increase funding in science, research, and education- not reducing those "expenses". After all they are an investment in the future of this great country.That way the balancing act might be overcome. Fellowships as the foundation of young researchers in Australia should be strengthened, while Research grants might be reduced (e.g. capped regardless of the application, reduced time frame). Industry engagement might be an alternative/complementary income source for such reduced. This form of funding is frequently seen in Scandinavian countries (e.g Denmark) and has been proven highly successful to promote industry relevant research.
Question 3: Are there too many Fellowship levels? Does this structure impede the career progression of rapidly rising stars in health and medical research?: 
I think the current structure is appropriate as it provides opportunities for researchers across different stages of their career. Genuine "Rapidly rising stars" will be perceived as such by the community and their positions are likely to be secured by headhunting institutions.
Question 4: Noting the implications outlined in the Issues paper, should NHMRC extend the duration of Early Career Fellowships to more than 4 years and Career Development Fellowships beyond 5 years (to 7 or 10 years)?: 
4 -5 years would be appropriate for ECRs, CDF might be extended for longer periods provided their performance is assessed and found worth extending. A possible solution might be a 5+2(or more) approach.

Page reviewed: 28 January, 2016