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All research great and small.

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Minister for Health and Ageing


10 November 2008

All research great and small

Many of Australia’s leading health and medical researchers have reason to celebrate today at the announcement of $132 million in National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Program Grants and Fellowships, as well as the NHMRC European Union Collaborative Health Research Grants.

From teaching hospitals to universities and specialist institutions, essential medical research happens in a variety of environments in Australia. Today’s grants and fellowships encourage the progress of medical research on a large and small scale, wherever it is carried out.

Eight new Program Grants, totalling $73 million, will allow outstanding researchers to lead large teams at universities or institutes to focus on broad research areas, such as mental health, diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

The funding allows research teams five years to pursue the best research options in their field, knowing they can respond to unexpected findings and opportunities.

The 2009 Program Grants include:

• Stopping the progress of mental illness: $10 million for Prof Patrick McGorry’s team at the ORYGEN Research Centre, Victoria, to continue their wide-ranging studies into mental disorders in young people, looking at neurobiological, personal and social factors that affect the way a person moves from early symptoms to chronic disability, to reduce the impact of illness on a young person’s life.

• Pathways to diabetes prevention: $10.6 million for Prof David James and colleagues at The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, NSW, to cut the growing burden of Type 2 Diabetes by understanding the way insulin works, translating cell and animal research to humans and improving diagnosis and therapy.

• Neural connections in the adult brain: Prof Perry Bartlett and his team at the Queensland Brain Institute receive $7.6 million to use advanced imaging techniques to determine how neurons are generated, how they travel to different parts of the brain and how they integrate into the existing brain.

Fifteen health care professionals across the country have also been awarded five-year Practitioner Fellowships. Often working independently in hospitals and health care settings across the country, these experienced clinicians and policy makers will be supported to combine their clinical and research careers.

Health practitioners, including pediatricians, geneticists and specialists in Indigenous health, to name a few, have the hands-on experience and scientific knowledge to do research that is directly linked to their everyday work.

Another 80 of our best and brightest researchers will be able to pursue their careers in their areas of interest through 2009 NHMRC Research Fellowships. Their work in clinical medicine and science, public health, basic science and health services research may result in findings that are of major importance in their field and of significant benefit to Australian health and medical research.

Five grants totalling $2.4 million will support health research projects co-funded by the European Commission, and carried out within Australian and European research institutions. Study areas include genetic factors in osteoporosis, twin studies in genetics, motorcycle safety, preventing weight gain and cancer gene-environments.

A full list of all grant and fellowship recipients can be found at

For all media inquiries, please contact the Minister’s Office on 02 6277 7220

Any other inquiries, please contact the Department on 02 6289 1664