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NHMRC CEO Warwick Anderson AM

NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson AMNHMRC plays a pivotal role in providing independent advice on the complementary functions of funding health and medical research, providing ethical guidance on health and medical research issues, and providing health advice. We publish guidelines, information papers and pamphlets on a range of health issues throughout the health and general communities, drawing on the best of expert advice and ensuring that the published advice is both current and relevant for the Australian community.  I hope you will find the information on the website of interest, and encourage you to contact NHMRC should you wish to bring any matters to our attention, or need further information.

More from Warwick Anderson

Biography

Professor Warwick Anderson is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NHMRC, Australia’s major governmental funding body for health and medical research. Previously, he was Head of School of Biomedical Sciences at Monash University and Deputy Director of the Baker Medical Research Institute, following research fellowships at the University of Sydney and Harvard Medical School.

Professor Anderson obtained his PhD from the University of Adelaide. His research has focused on renal causes of hypertension, including the roles of renal vascular remodeling, renal innervation and the renin-angiotensin system. He has published over 170 peer review articles.

Professor Anderson is a Board member of the Global Alliance for Chronic Disease, a member of Heads of International (Biomedical) Research Organizations. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia and a Fellow of the Council for High Blood Pressure of the American Heart Foundation. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2005.

Chief Executive Officer’s message

Building on the strengths of Australasian health research for improved health

Health care is probably Australia's largest single industry. Like all industries, research and innovation are essential. There is much to learn if we are to better prevent ill health and better maintain good health throughout life, to more effectively deliver health care based on evidence of what works, and if we are to discover new therapies and cures. How do we ensure that Australia's health and health care improves, and that the knowledge needed is gained and transferred to further improve the practice of health care?

First, a strong research effort is needed and health and medical research has become one of Australia's strongest and most successful areas of research. All Australians should be proud of the achievements of our researchers, with Nobel Prizes for Physiology or Medicine won in the last half century by Barry Marshall and Robin Warren (2005), Peter Doherty (1996), John Eccles (1963), and Macfarlane Burnet (1960). Other researchers have been recognised as Australians of the Year for their contributions to health through research. These include Ian Frazer (2006), Fiona Wood (2005), Fiona Stanley (2003), and Sir Gustav Nossal (2000).

Australian health and medical researchers also perform outstandingly against the international benchmark of citations. Independent bibliometric analysis of Australian health research publications shows that Australia greatly exceeds the expected number in the top 1 per cent of citations internationally and many Australian health research areas have up to 2 or 3 per cent of published papers cited in the top 1 per cent internationally.

Another independent indicator of the quality of our research is the support we have received from the world's largest health and medical research funding agency, the United States National Institutes of Health. In 2006, Australia was the third highest recipient of international research funding from NIH, behind Canada and the United Kingdom. On a per capita basis, Australia ranked second.

Australian health research also levers foreign capital into our country. We have recently analysed the outcomes from over 1200 NHMRC grants, and found that the research funded attracted another 28 cents for every NHMRC dollar from overseas, and another 27 cents from Australian sources.

A further measure of success can be seen in the establishment of national and international collaborations. Our researchers reported that 65 per cent worked in collaboration with international researchers, reflected in 35 per cent of publications having at least one international author.

Australian companies have been built upon original discoveries by medical researchers, including Cochlear and Resmed. Ian Fraser's discovery of a vaccine against most forms of cervical cancer (Gardasil) is now contributing to the success of CSL. Warren and Marshall's discovery that a bacterium Helicobacter Pylori is responsible for much gastric disease has not only reduced suffering, but saved the health system significant expense — surgery, hospitalisation, chronic drug treatment with proton pump inhibitors.

Now we face new challenges, to discover the causes of the many diseases that afflict us and to find out through research how to better prevent chronic disease and ill health with its uneven burden. It always seems especially unfair that the poorest and most disadvantaged in our society, and around the world, suffer most from disease and ill health.

Knowledge transfer from research into health care practice and to inform health policies is a challenge faced around the world. A high quality research workforce is an essential component, but is not in itself sufficient. NHMRC is developing new ways of ensuring that Australia's health greatly benefits from the outcomes of research and the leadership roles that researchers play. Watch this space.

Professor Warwick Anderson AM
Chief Executive Officer
National Health and Medical Research Council

NHMRC Statement of Intent

The 2010 Statement of Intent sets out the CEO's plan for the NHMRC to achieve the activities outlined in the Minister for Health and Ageing's Statement of Expectation.

Page reviewed: 4 June, 2014