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$652 million boost for best and brightest medical researchers

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Friday, October 19, 2012

$652 million boost for best and brightest medical researchers

Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek has announced $652 million for 1,141 grants for ground-breaking medical research across Australia.

“Patients depend on continued government investment to keep Australians healthy and reduce the incidence of disease and suffering,” said Ms Plibersek.

“Because of this investment, medicines are our biggest research-intense goods export, and are helping to build a stronger, more competitive and more productive economy.”

“The Gillard Government is proud to be supporting Australia’s best and brightest health and medical innovators as they undertake their world-beating research.”

Ms Plibersek made the announcement at the University of Sydney, where she toured the laboratory of Professor Karen Waters who received a $990,000 grant to undertake research on young children suffering from sleep apnoea.

“Every parent knows what it’s like when children have difficulty sleeping, but having a child with sleep apnoea, who isn’t breathing properly at night, is a very serious problem.”

“This important research will look at the relationship between sleep apnoea, which affects about one in 30 children, and intelligence and learning.”

The grants are administered by the renowned National Health and Medical Research Council and address research needs, from basic science to research translation and they support researchers and their teams through the early and mid-stages of their careers.

Ms Plibersek was also joined at Sydney University by three other grant recipients:

• $1,204,856 for Dr Rebekah Puls, University of New South Wales who is undertaking a follow-up study to a Bill and Melinda Gates foundation funded program that will determine if reduced dose of a HIV therapy provides safe and effective viral suppression as part of initial therapy.

• $609,900 for Professor Deborah Schofield, University of Sydney whose project looks at the future health of the Australian population that will keep more informal carers out of employment and diminish their own living

standards, thereby reducing funds available to government.

• $439,920 for Dr Daniel Christ, Garvan Institute of Medical Research who is researching how monoclonal antibodies, such as the breast cancer therapeutic herceptin, have revolutionised the treatment of cancer and inflammatory conditions. His project will further advance and develop this monoclonal antibody, allowing us to initiate clinical studies.

Funding announced today comes on top of the $2.83 billion delivered to medical researchers by the Labor government since 2008.

Top 5 Research Facts

• Victoria will receive the highest amount of funding, with $290 million for 498 grants. • The University of Melbourne is the research institution receiving the greatest amount of funding, with $89.6 million for 162 grants. • The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute is the independent medical research

institute receiving the greatest amount of funding, with $30.7 million for 44 grants • International collaboration will be strengthened through five Australian-European Union Collaborative Research Grants, with total value of $3.6

million. • Mental illness in children and young people will be targeted with 13 grants totalling $13.7 million. This funding is part of the Government’s 2011 Federal

Budget commitment to boost preventative and early intervention health initiatives.

Funding announced today comes on top of the $2.83 billion delivered to medical researchers by the Labor government since 2008.


Funding Amount

Ageing $50.0

Mental health $68.2

Child health $80.3

Indigenous health $37.0

HIV $13.0

Chronic diseases - cancer $131.3

Chronic diseases - cardiovascular disease $81.7

Chronic diseases - diabetes $36.3

Chronic diseases - arthritis $21.4

Chronic diseases - obesity $26.3

Chronic diseases - asthma $16.7

*Some grants may appear in more than one of the above categories.

State/Territory # of Grants

Funding Amount

VIC 498 $290,075,966

NSW 281 $157,513,251

QLD 170 $94,357,199

SA 85 $46,345,388

WA 59 $35,712,777

TAS 16 $9,510,317

ACT 20 $9,482,875

NT 12 $9,004,836

Grand Total 1141 $652,002,610

For further information:

Media contacts:

Minister’s Office: Simon Crittle, 0466 773 531 NHMRC Media Team: David Cooper, 0422 008 512