What is the National Blood Sector Research and Development Program?

The National Blood Sector Research and Development Program is an initiative to facilitate world-class research and development in Australia that contributes to optimising the use, management and administration of blood products, and improve patient outcomes.

 

Background

In December 2011, the Jurisdictional Blood Committee (JBC) agreed to the development of a strategy to promote blood sector specific research. In 2013, the National Blood Research and Development Strategic Priorities 2013-2016 (Version 4.1, 5 March 2013) were published on the National Blood Authority (NBA) website following broad consultation and stakeholder input.

During 2014 and 2015 a two-step business case for a blood sector specific research and development framework was completed, and JBC endorsement was obtained for a Pilot to inform the development of a National Blood Sector Research and Development Program. It was developed to provide niche funding to support projects in two identified target areas relating to existing priority programs under the national blood arrangements, namely:

  • efficient and effective utilisation of immunoglobulin products
  • patient blood management research gaps.

Following the success of the Pilot, a preliminary evaluation was undertaken that confirmed that the Pilot fulfilled a key niche not addressed by other funding providers and that provision of blood sector specific research and development (R&D) funding does have the potential to deliver on its stated objectives.

 

Objectives

The objectives of the National Blood Sector Research and Development Framework are to:

  • Enhance the sustainability and affordability of the national supply of blood products, including through increased efficiency and reduced blood product usage and wastage
  • Identify appropriate use and reduce inappropriate use of blood products
  • Maintain or enhance clinical outcomes for patients

by providing evidence or new knowledge to:

  • Understand the biological action of blood products
  • Identify optimum treatment, dosing or indications for use for blood products, and
  • Compare the use of blood products with alternative strategies and treatments.

It is proposed that pursuing these objectives will enhance opportunities for blood sector specific research and build research capacity through:

  • Encouraging priority-driven research related to the use and management of blood products
  • Funding research aimed at addressing gaps in evidence, including where that will inform policy development and program implementation
  • Fostering collaboration between researchers and other stakeholders to build Australia’s research capacity relating to the use and management of blood products
  • Facilitating translation of research to improve patient outcomes and cost effectiveness.

The continuous improvement objectives of the Program are to:

  • Confirm that the blood sector specific Research and Development Program continues to deliver on its stated objectives
  • Continue to monitor and improve administrative processes to support various research components, including potential Program documentation and promotion, application rounds, evaluation of applications, funding of projects, and contract management and reporting
  • Continue to monitor and improve governance processes for oversight of research application and funding programs.

 

Funding

A total of $1.275 million is available under Round 5 of the National Blood Sector Research and Development Program for single year or multiple year projects. Funding will commence in the 2020-21 financial year and will cease on 31 December 2024-25. Multi-year projects must be scheduled for completion and final payment made on or before 31 December 2025.

Grants are offered under 3 categories:

  • Project Grants, typically $30,000 to $150,000 per year to be expended over a period of up to 3 years. Applications should be for an entire, discrete research project proposal.
  • Seed Grants, typically under $50,000 to be expended over 1 year. Applications for seed funding should be for early stages of innovative new research, or for effort generation of preliminary data needed to support future grant applications.
  • Scholarships, typically $25,000 to $30,000 to be expended over 1 year. Scholarship grants are intended to support medical researchers in the attainment of a PhD or Master’s degree or postdoctoral research fellow research.

 

Eligible Projects

The Program will be focussed on research areas that have been identified by pre-existing strategic programs of the NBA and governments in the blood sector:

  • Patient Blood Management (PBM) evidence gaps; and
  • Efficient and effective use of immunoglobulin (Ig) products.

 

Eligible Applicants

The National Blood Sector Research and Development Program is a competitive grant program.

Grant Recipients must be a legal entity and have an Australian Business Number (ABN) or an Australian Company Number (ACN) to receive funding under the program.

Grant Recipients must be listed on the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) as an Administering Institution.

 

Timing

Applications close 28 September 2020.

 

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