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Thursday, 20 November 1986
Page: 2604

Senator CROWLEY —My question is addressed to the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women and Minister for Education. Under this Government the funding for the National Health and Medical Research Council has greatly increased, and along with that increase is an increase in the number of women winning research grants. Can the Minister say whether the increase in grants for women reflects a percentage increase that redresses a previous insufficiency, and does it reflect the level of excellence of our women researchers as well as our men researchers?

Senator RYAN —Yes, there has been a pleasing increase in the number of women being awarded research grants, including medical research grants. Indeed just this week I had occasion to make a statement that five Australian women have been awarded training fellowships to do medical research overseas. These fellowships, for two or three years of study, are intended to provide a clear structure in medical research for investigators of exceptional merit who have established themselves as independent researchers, and the training fellowships were awarded by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Their funding has almost doubled in the period that our Government has been in office. I think this does reflect a pleasing trend and it is one we hope to accelerate by raising the interests of more young women in pursuing science degrees through a number of programs and procedures which I described in the Senate earlier this week.