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Table 2 Budget, extramural funding overview and priorities of five public and population research funding organisations, 2017

From: Priority-setting in public health research funding organisations: an exploratory qualitative study among five high-profile funders

Annual research expenditure (estimated in USD) 619 million USD annually, with an additional 142 million USD over 5 years for dementia research Approximately 7.6 million USD NIHR as a whole: 306 million USD in research grants
PHRP (our unit of study): 12.4 million USD
990 million USD 30 million USD
Types of science funded Basic science, clinical medicine and science, public/population health and health services research Population and public health research; health services research Population and public health Basic science, clinical medicine, population and public health, research ecosystems research, and health services research Public and population health research, health services research
Schemes and programmes Programme and project grants
Individuals (fellowships)
Centres of Research Excellence
Project grants
Seed grants
Network grants
Project grants Individuals (fellowships)
Team grants
Seed grants
Programme and project grants
Programme and project grants
Research Hubs
Current priorities (can take the form of ‘priority areas’ or commissioned calls; can distinguish between issue-driven and process-driven priorities) Institutional priority: The NHMRC has a cross-cutting priority to fund Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander health research, with a target of at least 5% of research funding going to this area Much of the research funded in this area is population and public health related, though there is some in the other pillars
Government-initiated priority:
- Boosting Dementia, funding research into dementia across all four pillars for 5 years
- Northern Australia Tropical Disease Collaborative Research Programme (5 million USD)
In addition to these broad priorities, there are one-shot targeted calls for research that set aside a small part of the budget to address a pressing need for research As of May 2017, there were two TCRs open:
• TCR into Dementia in Indigenous Australians
• TCR into depression, anxiety and suicide among elderly Australians
Topic-specific calls are developed by one funding partner, whereas several funding partners contribute to the more general calls
Taking the example of the 2017 Prevention CFP, the recurring priorities since the programme debuted are:
1. Cognitive research to support prevention interventions
2. Intervention research aiming to demonstrate the individual and collective effectiveness of interventions as well as to analyse their mechanisms of effectiveness and/or implementation
There are also highlighted areas of special attention that change from year to year, and in 2017 they focused on:
1. Addictions
2. HPV vaccination
3. Measuring inequalities in health and the determinants thereof and evaluating the policies and interventions aiming to tackle said inequalities
Investigators may submit proposals outside of these highlighted areas
The current overarching strategic priority of the programme is to increase the number of population intervention evaluations (relative to evaluations of individual/small group behavioural interventions) and system-level evaluations
Current commissioned calls (issued 3–4 times per year):
1. Healthy diet in early years
2. Interventions in community organisations
3. Migrant health and wellbeing
4. Age-friendly environments
5. Better oral health
6. Interpersonal violence and abusive relationships in children and young people
7. Health and wellbeing for older employees in the workplace
8. Public mental health
9. Large scale public health studies
Priority areas
1. Diversity and inclusion
2. Drug-resistant infections
3. Our planet, our health
4. Research ecosystems in Africa and Asia
5. Science education
6. Vaccines
Example: “Our planet, our health” endeavours to build an interdisciplinary research community around planetary health, create partnerships across sectors, inform decision-makers, and engage the public; 15 pilot projects have been funded since 2013, on top of 4 major interdisciplinary research partnerships focusing on global food systems and urbanisation
Four signature research programmes in 2017:
1. Evidence for Action
2. Health Data for Action
3. Policies for Action
4. Systems for Action
  1. IReSP Institut de recherche en santé publique, NHMRC National Health and Medical Research Council, NIHR National Institutes for Health Research, PHRP Public Health Research Programme, RWJF Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, TCR targeted call for research