Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), often referred to as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), is a complex and debilitating condition, characterised by profound fatigue following exertion (not relieved by sleep or rest), unrefreshing sleep and cognitive impairment.  

On 27 March 2019, the Australian Government announced $3 million for research to help develop a better understanding of the causes and mechanisms of ME/CFS.  

ME/CFS Advisory Committee

NHMRC established the ME/CFS Advisory Committee under section 39 of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992 to advise the NHMRC Chief Executive Officer on the current needs for research and clinical guidance. The ME/CFS Advisory Committee Report to the NHMRC Chief Executive Officer was finalised in April 2019 and publically released in May 2019.

The Report made a number of recommendations, including that a Targeted Call for Research (TCR) be conducted on the pathophysiology and potential causes of ME/CFS. 

Independent Technical Expert 

Professor Stephen Holgate provided advice on the scope, including objectives, aims, desired outcomes and selection criteria of the grant opportunity. Professor Holgate is Chair of the United Kingdom (UK) CFS/ME Research Collaborative and a Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology with the UK Medical Research Council.

NHMRC has well defined procedures for the engagement of independent experts, which are based on obtaining the best knowledge available while ensuring conflicts of interest (real and perceived) are managed appropriately. A summary of Professor Holgate’s declarations of interest are provided below.

Summary of declared interests:

Professor Stephen Holgate CBE, FMedSci

Area of expertise:
Allergic disease mechanisms utilising approaches such as epidemiology, genetics, pathology, microbiology and immunology, pharmacology and experimental medicine.

Summary of interests: 

  • Synairgen, Founder and Non-Executive Director 
  • Member, Natural Environment Research Council
  • Chair, Joint Steering Committee of MRC/GSK Consortium EMINENT
  • UKRI Clean Air Champion
  • Special Advisor, Royal College of Physicians on Air Quality
  • Member, Environmental Control Scientific Advisory Board, Dyson - External Project Consultancy & Advisory Board Member
  • Chair, RCPCH WP on Indoor Air Quality and Children and Young People’s Health
  • President, National Allergy Strategy Group
  • Patron, Allergy Asthma and Inflammation Research Charity
  • Ambassador, Natasha Allergy Research Foundation
  • Chair, CFS/ME Research Collaborative
  • CMRC National Research Project
  • Chair, Board National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research
  • Chair, Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research
  • Trustee, Cancer Research UK and Chair of its Research Committee
  • Trustee, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and Chair of Grants Committee
  • Member, Governing Board on Nuffield Council of Bioethics
  • Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology, Southampton General Hospital

Due to his involvement developing the scope, Professor Holgate is ineligible to apply for funding under the ME/CFS TCR.

Peer Review Information 

Information on the peer review process can be found in the TCR into ME/CFS 2019 Peer Review Guidelines (see 'Downloads').


Outcomes for all Targeted Calls for Research are available here and can be downloaded below.


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