Making a healthier Australia: Sydney expertise leads national funding round

24 October 2011

The groundbreaking work of University of Sydney health and medical researchers has been recognised by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in a major announcement of government funding.

In announcing the annual NHMRC funding earlier this month, the federal Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler said the University of Sydney received more funding than any other research institution, with $87.8 million for 149 grants.

"The grants announced today will ensure that young researchers have a solid foundation for their future career, experienced researchers can continue to run innovative research projects and clinicians can integrate their clinical skills into research practice," the minister said in a statement.

In the highly competitive project grants area, the University received funding totalling almost $60 million, covering 99 separate projects.

"This result speaks to the scale and growing strength of the health and medical research at the University of Sydney that builds upon our diverse disciplinary strength and strong relationships with our affiliated medical research institutes and hospitals," said University of Sydney Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Jill Trewhella.

Project grants led by the Faculty of Health Sciences include;

- Randomised controlled trial of supplemental oxygen versus medical air in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Supplemental Oxygen in Pulmonary Rehabilitation Trial (SuppORT)

Led by Associate Professor Jennifer Alison

- Reduction of breast lymphoedema symptoms secondary to breast cancer: a randomised controlled trial

Led by Professor Sharon Kilbreath

- Improving cancer management by direct detection with diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging
Led by Dr Roger Bourne

- Oxytocin receptor agonists for treatment of social anxiety

Led by Professor Michael Kassiou

- Gene-environment interactions in the aetiology of myopia

Led by Professor Kathryn Rose

Associate Professor Leanne Togher's work in the area of communication disorders following acquired brain injury was recognised with a Senior Research Fellowship and Associate Professor Lindy Clemson was awarded a Career Development Fellowship to further her research aimed at improving the independence and quality of life of older people.

Associate Professor Joshua Burns and Professor Kathryn Refshauge are also integral to the National Centre for Research Excellence in Neuromuscular Disorders, which was awarded $2.4million to transform the management of neuromuscular disorders from compassionate assistance to targeted therapy and prevention.

For a full list of the outcomes of the funding rounds announced on Monday 17 October visit