The rural health research workshop has considered the draft research priorities identified through the National Rural Alliance Alliance submission to the MRFF when they called for submissions on the priority criteria for the scheme. While broadly supporting the priorities from NRHA the delegates recommended that:
1. A proposal be submitted to the MRFF seeking a targeted funding round to develop and strengthen the capacity of the rural sector to articulate the key research questions and develop systems and infrastructure that would allow the rural sector to collaborate, share information and support all researchers in the design, scaling and translation of research under the MRFF for the benefit of rural and remote Australians.
2. The workshop observed that the academic research sector was rapidly changing and needed broader guidance to ensure its future was firmly embedded in the needs of rural and remote communities and was measured by its community and health impacts and not the number of academic papers it produced.
3. There are 1300 clinical academics in rural Australia who need to have the support of a wider system to allow them to focus on the right research priorities and work in a collegial supportive environment. This would take advantage of the strengths in the rural sector, working across disciplines and in team environments.
4. The delegates supported a leadership role by the NRHA (with others) in furthering the rural research sector capability and the priority agenda, ensuring the MRFF is able to fulfil its objective of supporting all Australians to benefit from Health and Medical research regardless of where they live.
5. A call was also made to establish a repository/clearing house of rural health research and a vehicle to better communicate and support the broader research industry to engage well with the rural and remote sector in design and translation.