Women’s fellowship fund off to flying start

Mar 8 2019

Exactly a year after the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) launched its Women in Medical Research Fellowships scheme on International Women’s Day, the first fellowship has been funded.

Nominations are now open for HMRI-affiliated female researchers at mid-career stage who are undertaking translational research in Stroke Rehabilitation, a disease field specified by the donor.

A total of $285,000 will be awarded over three years, which includes a component to cover project costs for the Fellowship’s duration. It is open to nurses, allied health and health-care professionals, as well as discovery scientists.

The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she is grateful for the opportunity to fund medical research in this way.

HMRI introduced the WIMRF program to stem the ‘silent brain drain’ impacting female researchers. Instead of spending time continually applying for grants, the fellowships will enable researchers to focus intently on their work while juggling family commitments.

HMRI Institute Director Professor Tom Walley says it helps redress an appreciable gender imbalance that begins at mid-career level. “Nationally, more than half of all PhD graduates are women, but only 16 per cent of professors are women – that’s unfair and we are wasting talent if we don’t support more women into these higher academic roles,” Professor Walley said.

“We need to retain the best and brightest mid-career researchers so they can produce results that will hopefully lead to better community health outcomes.”

The successful Fellow will be selected via an open and competitive process, based on the quality of the research project, track record and quality of the research environment in which the research project will be conducted.

With this year’s theme for International Women’s Day being Balance For Better (#BalanceforBetter) to promote gender equity in the workplace, HMRI hosted a morning tea today for researchers to celebrate [pictured].

Companies, foundations and community members who wish to support the WIMRF program are invited to contact HMRI Donor Relations on (02) 4042 1000, email donate@hmri.org.au or see more details at hmri.org.au/support-women.

* HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.