The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has committed to develop Road Map 3: A strategic framework for improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health through research (Road Map 3) to guide and communicate its objectives and investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research for the next decade. Road Map 3 follows on from the release of Road Map 1 in 2002 and Road Map 2 in 2010.
From March to July 2017, NHMRC and its Principal Committee Indigenous Caucus (PCIC)1 worked with Nous Group (Nous) to conduct a national consultation process for the development of Road Map 3. This report provides a summary of the outcomes of these consultations, preliminary workshops, and will form a reference in Road Map 3 when it is released for public consultation and thereafter, publication.
- Consultation participants provided feedback on the following draft objective for Road Map 3: To support NHMRC to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing outcomes by ensuring research integrity and outlining research priorities that reflect community preferences and the national health context.
- All stakeholders agreed that ethical and appropriate engagement with communities is essential to identifying health research topics that reflect community needs and priorities. This type of engagement also supports the successful delivery of projects that result in benefits and health improvements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.
- Participants expressed a clear desire for NHMRC to have a stronger focus on supporting and developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers. A past initiative to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers was the Building Indigenous Researcher Capacity grants. NHMRC’s Rising Star Award, which is awarded to the highest ranked application by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researcher in the Early Career Fellowship scheme, is also a current initiative that is well received.
- NHMRC should proactively recognise and support researchers who come from non-traditional academic pathways into health research positions. In the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research sector a significant number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers come from a practitioner background, such as nurses or Aboriginal health workers, as opposed to an academic pathway (from undergraduate to doctorate and through a post-doctoral research position).