News 2016

From the Federal Budget Lockup

It is no surprise that there is little new for science in tonight's Federal Budget. After the announcement of the $1.1 Billion National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) last December, it was unlikely additional measures would follow.

Some measures include:

  • $110.5 million to Geoscience Australia to produce geographic modelling of mineral, groundwater and petroleum resources across South Australia and Northern Australia;
  • $15 million for a national carp control plan;
  • The Bureau of Meteorology will receive funding to maintain its supercomputer capabilities, with the total amount commercial-in-confidence;
  • The Great Barrier Reef Plan and Trust will get a $171 million boost, extending the program to make the reef more resilient;
  • $12 million for an extension of the Australian Astronomical Observatory, taking it out to 2019/20

For more information on NISA, visit innovation.gov.au



Latest publication from the UK's AMR Review

This document provides an overview of the key recommendations of the various reports the AMR Review has delivered.

- to read more http://amr-review.org/


Antibiotic resistance story on ABC show Catalyst

Antibiotic resistance

Antibiotics have saved millions of lives, but their misuse and overuse is making them less effective as bacteria develop resistance. Despite scientists’ warnings, antibiotic prescriptions in many countries continue to soar and antibiotic use in farming is at record levels. As a result, doctors are now seeing infections they can no longer treat. Are we facing the end of modern medicine? An antibiotic apocalypse that takes medicine back to the Dark Ages? Or will researchers outwit the incredibly clever bacteria and find novel ways to beat resistance?

Professor Jon Iredell
"Part of the problem, I think, is we’ve seen bacteria the same way we see a cockroach. You know, we blame a bug, we give it a name, we try and stamp on it like a cockroach".

Watch the Show - Catalyst

Related story, Australian researchers 'reset' superbugs to pre-antibiotic resistant state - The Westmead Institute for Medical Research


Australian cryptologists concerned by restrictive exports law

Other scientists also say the need to get a permit for applied ‘dual-use’ research may constrain academic freedom - read more

Bianca Nogrady, Nature.com


Australasian Medical Research and Clinical Societies applaud support of vaccination by University of Wollongong academics

read press release

Download press release

Following on from recent publicity regarding the vaccination and anti-vaccination debate, centered around the press release from the University of Wollongong senior academics.

The assembled major biological and clinical societies concerned with research and policy in this area have produced a consensus statement in support of the value of vaccination, which is attached.

Related article 27th Jan 2016 The Australian


Medicine turns to bacteriophage therapy to beat superbugs

Jon Iredell and Carola Venturini

An arcane therapy for bacterial infections that dwelled behind the Iron Curtain for decades is making a comeback in Western medicine as a potential white knight against superbugs. Phage therapy involves infecting patients with viruses known as bacteriophages, which are the natural predators of bacteria, to kill the germs that antibiotics cannot. Scientists hope these harmless viruses will cure patients who have been infected by bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics, causing chronic ear, nose and throat infections as well as life-threatening illnesses such as sepsis. The first human trial of a phage therapy began at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide last week, when a female patient with chronic sinusitis started using a nasal rinse swimming with phages that target golden staph.

Meanwhile, researchers at the Westmead Institute's Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology have been awarded a $860,000 federal grant to isolate the phages that target E. coli and Klebsiella, which cause sepsis in intensive care patients.
The Westmead Institute's Carola Venturini said pharmaceutical companies were no longer investing in new antibiotics because bacteria were developing resistance so quickly that it had become a risky venture.

bacteria


- Harriet Alexander, SMH read more

- Related article, The Westmead Institute of Medical Research Researchers exploit natural microbial predators to beat antibiotic resistance


NEWS 2015

December

Travel awards

Applications are now open for travel awards for local students to attend the ASM Annual Scientific Meeting in Perth, 3-6 July 2015. More details are available at ASM

Australia Awards Fellowships

Round 16 is expected to open in early 2016 for Fellowships hosted in the 2016-17 financial year. Further guidance to applicants, including eligibility, priority areas and program requirements, will be posted to this website ahead of the opening of the round. Please continue to visit the website regularly for updates.

Here is some advance notice of some changes expected in this round:

  • Round 16 is expected to open in early 2016. Contracts should be finalised around June-July, with projects expected to commence from September.
  • Up to 15 fellows may be nominated per project (down from 25 in previous rounds).
  • Funding per project will be reduced – the new limit will be $25,000 multiplied by the number of fellows. I recommend that you consider keeping your programmes short (assuming the minimum is still two weeks), as longer programmes incur significant costs for accommodation and per diem allowances.
  • A small amount of additional funding will be available for post-fellowship activities in-country (we expect $10K for bilateral projects, and $20K for multilateral projects). Details are not yet confirmed, but we expect this will be for 1-2 staff to travel to the partner country and conduct further training.
    There will be two new priority themes: Science and Innovation, and Tropical Health and Medical Research.
  • DFAT will allow new partnerships as well as existing ones, ie. you are not restricted to counterpart organisations with whom you have a long-standing relationship.
  • It is important to contact the in-country DFAT posts at an early stage, as they can provide feedback on how your proposal fits with national priorities. Our office can assist with this.

- Read more dfat.gov.au


November

Antibiotic Awearness Week

antibiotic week

16-22 November 2015

PRESERVE THE MIRACLE OF ANTIBIOTICS

Antibiotic Awareness Week will take place from 16–22 November and is endorsed by the World Health Organization, acknowledging the global importance of this growing public health issue.

The theme for the week is “Antibiotics: handle with care”. All health services and hospitals are encouraged to take part in Antibiotic Awareness Week, to help raise awareness of the problem of antibiotic resistance and ways to address this issue.

- Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care read more