24.4% of applications for competitive grants from the 2016 NHMRC grant application round overall, and 23.1% of applications from women and 25.5% of applications from males were approved in the 2016 round. The improvement in gender balance was predominantly in early career fellowships with approval rates of 22.6 and 26.4% for females and males respectively, while the gap was wider for research fellowships at 21.0 and 28.9% for females and males respectively. The University of Sydney fared best with 38 grants awarded, followed by University of Melbourne with 28, University of NSW also with 28, Monash with 24, University of Queensland with 22 and University of WA with 13. The MRIs punched above their weight with Walter and Eliza Hall awarded 12 grants, Murdoch Institute awarded 9 and QIMR awarded 8. Professional Scientists Australia congratulates grant recipients, and will await with interest the outcome of the NHMRC Structural Review to see if it addresses some of the fundamental issues around competitive funding. While an improvement, a 24.4% success rate still means that over 75% of research grant applications remained unfunded, leaving 75% of applicants wondering how they’ll fund their research and whether they’ll need to bow out of their research career to ensure a level of job security and ongoing income. Read our submission to the Review here.
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