NHMRC promotes the highest quality in the research that it funds.

Latest news

The results from our survey on research culture in NHMRC-funded institutions have been released. Details are provided below.

Research Quality Strategy

High quality research that is rigorous, transparent and reproducible contributes to scientific progress, is essential for the translation of outcomes into practical and clinical applications and evidence-based policy, delivers the highest possible value for research investment and promotes community trust in scientific findings. 

NHMRC's Research Quality Strategy (the Strategy), was developed with advice from NHMRC’s Research Quality Steering Committee. 

The Strategy aims to ensure the highest quality of NHMRC-funded research by providing guidance and supporting good research practices throughout the research cycle.

The Strategy builds on current and previous NHMRC initiatives to foster research quality and aligns with international initiatives in this area. It applies to all types of research funded by NHMRC including basic science, clinical medicine and science, health services and public health research.

NHMRC recognises the importance of partnership with researchers and research institutions in Australia to ensure high quality research and will actively consult and engage with the sector throughout the implementation of this Strategy.

Status update

Phase 1 & 2 - initial research and ongoing consultation

Survey of research culture

Institutional research culture is critical to the conduct of high quality research. Many institutions already have processes and initiatives in place to support the conduct of high quality research.

As part of our Research Quality Strategy, we conducted a survey to gain insight into the research culture in Australian NHMRC-funded institutions. Views were sought from researchers (senior, mid-career and junior), research students (masters and PhD students), institutional representatives and ethics committee members at NHMRC-funded institutions. The survey was conducted by ORIMA Research on behalf of NHMRC in October-November 2019.

The results from the survey were mixed about whether the research culture in NHMRC-funded institutions is supportive of responsible research practices. Participants reported on both positive and negative aspects of the research environment, barriers and enablers to excellence in research quality, behaviours that affect research quality and opportunities for change and innovation. Researchers themselves were perceived to have the greatest potential to improve research quality. In addition, institutions could make an impact by shifting industry norms within the research community and promoting an environment where high-quality research is the norm.

Next Steps

  • For NHMRC: The results support early initiatives we are undertaking as part of the Strategy, including providing relevant guidance and support for institutions and researchers to ensure the highest quality and value of NHMRC-funded research. We will be using the survey results to inform these and other ongoing activities under the Strategy. In addition, we will use the survey results as a baseline for monitoring the effectiveness of any approaches that are implemented.
  • For institutions and researchers: The survey questionnaire has already stimulated discussions amongst research groups about responsible research practices. We hope that the survey results can be used by institutions and researchers to inform current initiatives for supporting the conduct of high quality research.

Survey report and further information

  • Key messages from the survey and a copy of the survey report are available below in the Download section.
  • The survey is registered on the Open Science Framework (DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/CJ3A9).
  • The survey data will be made available for reuse in research projects. NHMRC is continuing to develop processes for this data sharing.

Research Quality Workshop

NHMRC held a Research Quality Workshop on 30 July 2019. The workshop provided sector representatives with an opportunity to discuss NHMRC’s Research Quality Strategy and its implementation. It also assisted NHMRC to identify connections between the Strategy and existing and proposed activities and initiatives occurring in the sector to ensure research quality. Outcomes from the workshop will inform NHMRC’s ongoing activities to ensure the highest quality in NHMRC-funded research.

Useful resources

To assist researchers and institutions, we have brought together a number of existing resources on how to ensure the highest quality in research. 

All research

Australian code for the responsible conduct of research

Human research

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research

Guidelines for ethical conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research and Keeping on track: A guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples about health research ethics

Use of animals 

Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes

Best practice methodology in the use of animals for scientific purposes

Use of Consumer and community involvement

Statement on consumer and community involvement in health and medical research 
Peer review 

Principles of peer review

Data

Principles for accessing and using publicly funded data for health research

Publication and reporting

Open access policy

FAIR statement

Ensuring value in research

Presentations from the 7th Annual NHMRC Symposium on Research Translation - 'Ensuring value in research' (27-28 November 2018)

The Symposium explored how we can ensure that the right questions are being chosen from the start, that studies are necessary and well-designed, and that results are reported in a fashion that is unbiased and widely useable.

Enquiries 

For further information, please contact quality@nhmrc.gov.au