Knowledge growth through research underpins improvements in Australia's health and health services. This research can be fundamental or can be applied, directly addressing clinical problems, public and environmental health issues or the provision of health services.

The creation of knowledge does not, of itself, lead to widespread implementation and positive impacts on health. The knowledge must be translated into changes in practice and policy for the benefits and impacts to flow to Australians.

Research translation has a variable timeline that is affected by many elements. NHMRC facilitates the interaction between research and implementation to positively impact individual and public health through practice and policy changes. We do this through a number of initiatives, funding schemes and programs. 

NHMRC’s role in research translation

NHMRC is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992 (the Act) which aims to raise the standard of individual and public health in Australia. The Act enables NHMRC to engage in activities to achieve its intentions and foster the consideration of ethical issues relating to health.  

NHMRC achieves its functions through a number of activities. These activities include:

  • issuing and approving clinical practice, public health and environmental guidelines
  • developing standards and advice for guideline developers
  • maintaining the Australian Clinical Practice Guidelines Portal and Register 
  • funding health and medical research.  

What NHMRC is doing

One of NHMRC's primary responsibilities is supporting the effective and rapid translation of research findings into health policy and practice. Specific measures include:

Initiatives

The Advanced Health Research and Translation Centres (AHRTCs) and Centres for Innovation in Regional Health (CIRH) initiative encourages excellent health research and translation in Australia by bringing together researchers, healthcare providers, education and training to improve the health and well-being of patients and the populations they serve.

The Annual NHMRC Research Translation Symposium provides an opportunity to learn and share information about research translation.

Funding schemes

Partnership Projects contribute to translation by creating new opportunities for researchers and policy makers to work together to define research questions, undertake research, interpret the findings and implement the findings into policy and practice.

Partnership Centres bring teams of researchers and decision-makers together to create better health services and health by collaborative work on priority themes determined by the needs of the health and health care systems. 

Centres of Research Excellence aim to improve health outcomes and promote or improve translation of research outcomes into policy and/or practice. 

Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grants support high-quality clinical trials and cohort studies that address important gaps in knowledge, leading to relevant and implementable findings for the benefit of human health.

Cochrane promote evidence-informed health decision-making by translating research evidence into high-quality, relevant, accessible systematic reviews and other synthesized research evidence. 

Guidelines

Guidelines translate research evidence in to recommendations for clinical practice, public health and environmental health.