Call for First Nations health workers and researchers to join new First Nations pandemic network

February 20, 2024

The Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on InfectiouS disease Emergencies (APPRISE) is seeking First Nations researchers and health workers to join the newly established FIrst Nations Pandemic Research PreparednesS NeTwork (FIRST).

FIRST draws together diverse First Nations research expertise through an interest in keeping pandemic preparedness on the radar even during quiet times. FIRST advocates for overall health system strengthening in recognition of the overlap between pandemic risk and disadvantage. FIRST enables and amplifies a First Nations perspective on research and preparedness for infectious disease emergencies through specific research projects, preparedness planning, advocacy and relationships with decision-making bodies (plus other mechanisms as decided by the network).

If you identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and are involved in pandemic preparedness work and research of any kind, we’d love to hear from you.


APPRISE has funding from the Department of Health and Aged Care to address specific research questions on long COVID and antiviral use while strengthening national platforms and collaborations for future pandemic research. Funding includes support for First Nations Community Panels and a First Nations research network.

Originally established as an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in 2016, a critical activity in the first phase of APPRISE was a $2M grant round for First Nations-led research into COVID-19 funded by a donation from the Paul Ramsay Foundation. This grant program funded ten diverse grants, all led by First Nations researchers and all with predominantly First Nations research teams. A final symposium of the grant program was held in March 2023, demonstrating the breadth and strength of the grant leadership and teams drawn from diverse organisations across the country.

To build on the principles and relationships from these grants, APPRISE has launched a more permanent network. FIRST provides oversight and support to the Community Panels, provides advisory input into the long COVID and antivirals work and supports a broader community of First Nations researchers interested in and undertaking pandemic research.

The opportunity

We are seeking First Nations researchers and community practitioners to join the network until 30 June 2025.

Members of the network will:

  • be kept up to date with FIRST communications
  • learn about any new research opportunities and other initiatives
  • learn about relevant professional development and program opportunities
  • engage in FIRST working groups/sub-committees
  • meet other First Nations network members in a culturally safe space

How to apply

Please link to the online form and submit your details.

Network principles

  • First Nations-led, including governance and budget control.
  • Bring mid-career researchers to the fore.
  • Create space for First Nations researchers, principles, and priorities in relation to pandemic and infectious disease emergency research.
  • Develop trust through encouraging two-way relationships between researchers and community (and between First Nations and non-First Nations led organisations).
  • Embed a culture of care for researchers at all stages and all levels. Consider the collective trauma and healing within a pandemic context. Plan for collective healing. Encourage supportive policies eg, a minimum of 50% First Nations investigators on project teams.
  • Centre and value First Nations voices and knowledges through a strengths-based approach.
  • Celebrate benefits of community control.
  • Acknowledge racism and its impacts on community, health and the relationship between First Nations and non-First Nations researchers and organisations.
  • Move away from the ‘publish or perish’ mentality through encouraging a broader appreciation of research impact, including promotion of ‘unsuccessful’ research (i.e., what does not work as well as what does).
  • Ensure the benefits of research flow back to communities (as well as to APPRISE and decision-makers).
  • Open and inclusive First Nations membership to encourage academic, clinical and community-based researchers from around the country.

The network’s principles have become part of the Terms of Reference established by the FIRST Governance Group.

Read about FIRST Governance

APPRISE News, Community Information