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University of Sydney scholars win 34 NHMRC grants worth $22m

27 October 2016
Rewarding excellence in health and medical research

University of Sydney scholars were today awarded 34 grants worth $22 million by the National Health and Medical Research Council to advance research-led discoveries and improve the diagnosis, treatment and cure of illnesses.

Announced by Federal Health Minister, the Hon Sussan Ley and Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, NHMRC grants awarded to University of Sydney scholars include:

  • $2.5 million for a Centre for Research Excellence in Indigenous Health led by Professor Kate Conigrave to build Indigenous research capacity and progress solutions to alcohol-related health problems
  • A Development Grant to Professor Paul Keall to advance a smarter, smaller cancer radiotherapy machine to make affordable best-practice radiotherapy available in resource‐limited settings
  • A Practitioner Fellowship Grant to Professor Georgina Long to develop and apply novel therapies against melanoma and other cancers
  • A Practitioner Fellowship Grant to Professor Phyllis Butow to lead a program to improve cancer care services nationally to improve psychosocial outcomes for Australians diagnosed with cancer
  • An Early Career Fellowship to Hannah Bowrey to develop a new treatment for depression involving the regulation of mood through medication administered through the eye.

Health Minister Sussan Ley announced a total of $190 million across 320 grants to fund health and medical research. This sum includes $100 million to foster career development and support leading health and medical researchers in full-time research, including $58 million allocated to support Research Fellowships and $38 million for Early Career Fellowships.

She highlighted the $2.5 million grant for a Centre for Research Excellence in Indigenous Health to build Indigenous research capacity that will find solutions to address alcohol-related health problems among Indigenous people.

“We know there is much work to be done with Indigenous health outcomes,” Ms Ley said. “This government is committed to making long-term improvements in Indigenous health and providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers.”

The University of Sydney is deeply committed to harnessing our research excellence to address issues of fundamental importance for Australia and the world – and improving health outcomes for Indigenous Australians is among the most vital.
Professor Duncan Ivison, DVC Research

The Centre, to be led by Professor Katherine Conigrave at the University of Sydney, will build a network of Indigenous researchers with expertise in preventing and treating alcohol-related problems within Indigenous communities.

“Indigenous Australians are eight times more likely to suffer death or illness as a result of alcohol use, yet there is a critical shortage of Indigenous researchers with expertise in this field,” Ms Ley said.

“The Centre will bring together senior Indigenous and non-Indigenous investigators who, together, have an extensive track record in research, clinical work and policy development. The team will generate new knowledge, integrating efforts along the continuum of treatment and prevention for unhealthy alcohol use. The Centre is designed to ensure that evidence will be readily translated into practice and policy.”

Professor Conigrave said: “It also offers a range of training and development opportunities to Indigenous research students and early-career researchers. It will provide pathways into postgraduate research study for Indigenous Australians, with comprehensive support and training at every step along the way.”

Responding to today’s announcement, University of Sydney Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, Professor Duncan Ivison said: “The University of Sydney is deeply committed to harnessing our research excellence to address issues of fundamental importance for Australia and the world – and improving health outcomes for Indigenous Australians is among the most vital. 

“We are also grateful to the NHMRC for their support of our outstanding medical researchers in this year’s grants round, including three Centres of Research Excellence and a wide range of Practitioner Fellowships, Research Fellowships, Early Career Fellowships and Development grants”.

Health and medical research is a powerful investment and one that delivers immense benefits through better health and health care. The researchers we have funded are at the leading edge of health and medical research from which considerable benefits will flow.
Federal Health Minister the Hon. Sussan Ley

The list of NHMRC grants awarded to University of Sydney and affiliated scholars is:

  • A Centre for Research Excellence in Indigenous Health led by Professor Kate Conigrave
  • A Centre for Research Excellence in Population Health led by Professor Bruce Neal
  • A Centre for Research Excellence in Clinical Research led by Associate Professor Tamera Corte
  • Practitioner Fellowships awarded to Professor Kate Conigrave, Professor Simon Finfer, Professor Jacob George, Professor Alicia Jenkins, Professor Georgina Long and Professor Philip O'Connell
  • Development Grants awarded to Professor Jennifer Gamble, Professor Paul Keall and Professor Paul Young
  • Early Career Fellowships awarded to Dr Jiao Jiao Li, Chun-Chien Shieh, Dr Rebekah Ahmed, Dr Michaela Yuen, Sicong Tu, Dr Karly Turner, Dr Kate Chitty, Alice Kane, Dr Carissa Bonner, Dr Kirstine Bell, Dr Ruth Webster, Dr Jibran Wali, Dr Nestor Solis, Dr Hannah Bowrey and Helen Trevena
  • Research Fellowships awarded to Professor Phyllis Butow, Professor David James, Professor Stephen Jan, Professor Kirsten McCaffery and Professor John Simes.
  • The University of Sydney was also awarded money for an Equipment Grant and Professor David Celermajer received a non-competitive grant for Translational Research Projects for Improved Health Care.

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