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Helping NHMRC develop its Indigenous research strategy

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Helping NHMRC develop its Indigenous research strategy

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is Australia’s peak funding body for medical research, administering nearly $850 million in funds each year.

NMHRC sought a road map to guide its research priorities

Since 2003 the NHMRC has used road maps to guide strategy on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and medical research. The NHMRC, through its Principal Committee Indigenous Caucus (PCIC), engaged Nous as it developed Road Map 3, looking at the decade ahead.

Extensive consultation was essential

Nous consulted with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health experts and peak bodies to develop a framework for research areas and approaches that would most significantly improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes.

Following a literature review, we:

  1. consulted on how NHMRC and researchers could engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  2. designed and facilitated stakeholder workshops (more information below)
  3. sought stakeholder views online
  4. worked through the key resulting messages with the NHMRC and PCIC
  5. developed a Community Consultation Report and draft Road Map 3
  6. tested the draft road map through online public consultation
  7. finalised the report and road map with the NHMRC.

The stakeholder workshops involved researchers, health workers, government officials and community members. Held in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin and Thursday Island, the workshops sought to identify successes and lessons from previous road maps, possible NHMRC actions to support the sector and specific research priorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

As part of these stakeholder workshops, NHMRC staff and PCIC members set the scene and answered questions. Their presence made clear to workshop participants that their views were being heard.

Road Map 3 is being put into operation

Road Map 3, released by NHRMC in June 2018, provides a 10-year strategy to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The road map is now being implemented through Action Plan trienniums.

What you can learn from the National Health and Medical Research Council

  • A robust strategy requires fusing a thorough literature review and consultations with people on the front line.
  • Extensive consultation – particularly in-person workshops – can build awareness of, engagement with and buy-in to the result.
  • A major strategy requires an iterative approach in which ideas can be freely shared, developed and refined.

Key people in this project

All people

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