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NHMRC

$133 million boost for medical research

Summary media release information

Date: 
18 February 2014
Type: 
Ministerial Media Release
Contact for further information: 
Minister’s Office: 02 6277 7220 or NHMRC Media Team: 0422 008 512

The Australian Government today announced $133 million in funding to help Australian researchers find new health treatments and cures.

Minister for Health Peter Dutton said the new funding will support 153 grants across five National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) schemes.

The grants will address broad areas of research, from infections in cancer patients to building immunity to childhood eczema and allergies. They include postgraduate scholarships and a Targeted Call for Research on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

The funding announcement follows the $559.1 million for new medical research discoveries announced in October last year.

“Health and medical research is a major priority of the government and these new grants will support innovative projects aimed at finding better treatments for common diseases such as cancer, diabetes, asthma, arthritis and cardiovascular disease,” Mr Dutton said.

“It will also help find new ways of tackling mental illness, dementia and gaps in indigenous health."

In this round of funding:

  • Multi-disciplinary team-based research that contributes to new knowledge in biomedical, clinical, public health and health services will be supported with 11 Program Grants worth $101.6 million.
  • Researchers and policy makers will be able to identify changes in the delivery, organisation, funding and access to health services through seven Partnership Projects totalling $4.4 million
  • Research at the early proof-of-concept for commercialisation will be supported with 24 Development Grants worth $14.7 million for new medical products, processes, procedures and services.
  • Three Targeted Calls for Research grants ($2.8 million) will help improve understanding of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) which results from mothers drinking alcohol during pregnancy. FASD affects individuals across the breadth of the Australian community and is highly relevant to the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Young researchers will be supported by 108 Postgraduate Scholarships totalling $9.5 million.

Announcing the new grants at the University of Adelaide, Mr Dutton took the opportunity to visit the laboratory of one of the successful program grant recipients, Professor James Paton.

“Professor Paton and his team are conducting innovative work in the area of infectious disease,” Mr Dutton said.

“Their research into how microorganisms cause disease could pave the way to improved vaccines and drugs. This would have a significant global impact, given that infectious disease claims more than 10 million lives around the world each year.”

"Australian researchers are among the best in the world and the government is pleased to provide funding to support the work of so many dedicated professionals."

Media contacts:

Minister’s Office: 02 6277 7220
NHMRC Media Team: 0422 008 512

Grant highlights

Program Grant

  • Professor Richard Harvey, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute ($10,621,535) will exploit the latest advances in genome technology and stem cell biology to identify evidence based therapies for treating heart disease and stimulating regeneration of heart cells.

Development Grant

  • Professor Barry Marshall University of Western Australia ($919,596) will trial the use of Helicobacter pylori bacteria to build immunity to childhood eczema and allergies.

Partnership Project Grant

  • Professor Elizabeth Eakin, University of Queensland ($1,267,111) will investigate the implementation of evidence-based cancer care via the Cancer Council Helpline service. The aim of this research is to inform the widespread uptake of lifestyle interventions and to improve the quality and quantity of survival for Australian cancer survivors.

Targeted Call for Research Grant

  • Professor Elizabeth Elliott, University of Sydney ($693,729) will work in collaboration with the Cherbourg community in Queensland and the World Health Organisation to increase local capacity for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder screening and diagnostic services.

Postgraduate Scholarship

  • Dr Benjamin Teh, University of Melbourne ($84,905) will look for new risks for infection in patients with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.

Top facts for this announcement

  • New South Wales will receive the highest amount of funding with $38.8 million for 47 grants, closely followed by Victoria with $38.4 million for 58 grants
  • The University of Queensland is the research institution receiving the greatest amount of funding, with $26.3 million for 18 grants.
  • Cancer research will receive $44.5 million, Indigenous health research will receive $14.1 million with cardiovascular disease research receiving $13.9 million.

Research funding by research focus

Grant* Funding Amount
Cancer $44.5 million
Indigenous health $14.1 million
Cardiovascular disease $13.9 million
Injury $13.4 million
Mental health $13.3 million
Diabetes $13.2 million
Arthritis $13.1 million
Asthma $1.4 million
Dementia $0.5 million
Obesity $0.5 million
*Some grants may appear in more than one of the above categories

Research funding by State/Territory

State/Territory Grants Funding Amount
NSW 47 $38.8 million
VIC 58 $38.4 million
QLD 27 $34.1 million
SA 9 $16.8 million
WA 8 $4.5 million
ACT 2 $0.13 million
TAS 1 $0.10 million
NT 1 $0.08 million
Total 153 $133 million

Further information

All NHMRC grants announced today can be found on the NHMRC website under Outcomes of funding rounds.

Photos from the event