Call for First Nations researchers to join FIRST

July 7, 2023

Expressions of Interest deadline extended to Friday 25 August 2023

The Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on InfectiouS disease Emergencies (APPRISE) is seeking Expressions of Interest from First Nations researchers to join the newly established FIrst Nations Pandemic Research PreparednesS NeTwork (FIRST) and its Governance Group.

FIRST will draw together diverse First Nations research expertise through an interest in keeping pandemic preparedness on the radar even during quiet times. FIRST will advocate for overall health system strengthening in recognition of the overlap between pandemic risk and disadvantage. FIRST will enable and amplify 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.

The Governance Group will include diverse First Nations researchers, plus members from APPRISE and representative organisations. The Governance Group will be chaired by Euahlayi woman, Kristy Crooks (Hunter New England Local Health District, NSW Health).


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 is now seeking to establish a more permanent network. FIRST will provide oversight and support to the Community Panels, provide advisory input into the long COVID and antivirals work and support 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 Governance Group of the FIrst Nations Pandemic Research PreparednesS NeTwork (FIRST) for the period to 30 June 2025.

Members of the Governance Group will contribute to the foundation of a broader network, oversee the Community Panel work and contribute to the strengthening of communication channels between research teams and governmental advisory and decision-making bodies, advocating for clear translation of First Nations community priorities and preferences and research findings into policy and action. This includes opportunity for critical input into the early-stage establishment of an Australian Centre for Disease Control which will be operational from early 2024.

The Governance Group will have responsibility for the budget allocated for network activities and the community panels.

We are also seeking First Nations researchers and community practitioners to join the broader network.

How to apply

Please link to the EOI online form (or scan the QR code) and complete it with your details and motivation for applying by Friday 25 August 2023.

If you have any questions, please contact Miranda Smith:

Miranda Smith –

Network principles

These will become part of the formal Terms of Reference to be confirmed by the Governance Group once established.

  • 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 e.g., min 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.

Proposed Governance

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