In 2000 the newly formed Nepean Clinical School at the Nepean Hospital was the only teaching hospital of the University of Sydney (now Sydney University) that did not have its own Research Fund. The then first Sub Dean of the Clinical School, the late Professor Sirus Naraqi, was a keen and highly respected researcher in his field of Infectious Diseases. With the valuable support of the Sub Dean of Research, Professor James Wiley they formed a Fund comprising of local community members and senior advisors from the Nepean Hospital.
The seed was planted, the name formalised and in 2003 the final decision was made to be a Fund affiliated with the University of Sydney. This provided the Council with the security of the University Senate and its constitution and the generous support in many areas of the University processes. It gave the financial administrative security in the day to day control of the Fund and all donations received duely processed by the Advancement Services of the University. This brought with it the security needed to support a then fledgling Fund.
We are honoured to have as our Patron the Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir. Her ongoing support and generorsity with her time is always greatly appreciated and indicates the importance of our Fund for the growing Penrith Valley and the large adjoining local government areas that Nepean Hospital/Clinical school services.
Eleven years have passed and over $1.5m have been raised for research funded through the Nepean Medical Research Fund. This has been achieved with a great deal of work by the many people, who give of their time freely, as members of the Fund’s Council.
This money was initially used for the purchasing of essential laboratory equipment, funding PhD students, the Isobel Corin Travelling Scholarship for young researchers, and in many areas of both clinical and laboratory based research conducted through the Nepean campus. All disciplines of medicine have been acknowledged and funded over that period and the research department has grown exponentially over that time. With the added incentive of having a Research Fund this has attracted many highly respected clinicians and researchers to the local area.
The Fund has always prided itself on being a local Fund, supporting local research at the local hospital for the benefit of the local population. Areas of research conducted at Nepean are now recognised both nationally and internationally.
In 2006 local lawyer and long standing Council member John Bateman initiated a innovative move with the establishment of the Nepean Philanthropists. He banded together a dedicated and generous group of local business people who each pledged an annual donation for an initial period of five years. The University was so impressed that it matched those pledged dollars for dollar. This has enabled the Fund to provide over $100,000 per year in Grants for the past five years together with supporting and funding PhD students. The Fund also provides all researchers with a funded Research Support manager based at the hospital who does a large amount of the tedious paperwork necessary for applications for grants to be the many busy researchers, who are also clinicians.
As we move into the next phase of the Nepean Medical Research Fund, continued support by the Nepean Philanthropists, the local community and its service clubs, large corporations, local business and affiliated bodies will be essential to enable this Fund to maintain its momentum and continue to fund essential research work undertaken now and into the future.