NHMRC has been approached to define more clearly what could be a “centre” in a submission to NHMRC for recognition as an Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre (AHRTC).
Concern has been expressed that the move by some Universities to more strongly integrate University research, and translational and education activities across disparate sites may be undermined unless submissions can be “multi-campus” and involve more than one hospital or Local Health Network. In recent years, several universities have established multi-campus Academic Health Science Centres.
NHMRC applauds the creation of Academic Health Science Centres (and similar) by Universities and State governments in recent years. Such University-led drive for collaboration within University Faculties and their teaching hospitals has the potential to lead to great benefits, for Universities, for researchers and hospitals.
NHMRC’s Advanced Health Research and Translational Centre (AHRTC) initiative has a complementary but different aim. We wish to promote stronger nodes of excellence in Australia’s heath care system itself, so that research and its translation bring the best possible health delivery in Australian hospitals, equal to the best in the world.
As well as identifying the AHRTCs, the International review Panel will advise NHMRC the actions that could be taken to further encourage development of leadership centres in the health system. We will take these recommendations to health authorities and decision makers around the country and work for their Implementation. For these reasons, the NHMRC sees AHRTCs as health care-driven rather than University-driven.
That said, we do not wish to undermine or discourage University progress towards Academic Heath Science Centres which, as indicated above, is itself of value to the future of research translation in this country.
We also do not seek to dictate any type of governance structure for proposed AHRTCs. The feedback on our 2012 discussion paper emphasised that a single, set system of governance would not work in the Australian context.