12 May 2021

More than $1.8 million has been awarded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to support collaborative health and medical research between Australia and the United Kingdom.

The collaborative research grant scheme brings together researchers through NHMRC in Australia and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in the UK.

The $1.8 million funding was announced as part of the 2021-22 Budget and supports two research projects examining ways to improve patients’ quality of life: 

  • Professor Catherine Hill at the University of Adelaide has received funding to test a new protocol to reduce the use and side effects of steroid treatment in people with polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). About half those on steroid treatment relapse and often suffer from steroid side effects such as diabetes and bone fracture. This clinical trial will determine whether adding an immunosuppressive treatment can reduce steroid use in people with relapsing PMR.
  • Professor Manuela Ferreira at the University of Sydney has received funding to compare the outcomes of two different approaches to rehabilitation and pain relief for people who have had the meniscus cartilage removed from the knee – meniscus transplant versus exercise and physiotherapy. 

The NHMRC–NIHR Collaborative Research Grant scheme supports research through the NIHR’s Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme which funds independent research on the effectiveness, costs and broader impact of healthcare treatments and tests. 

Professor Andrew Farmer, Director of the NIHR HTA Programme, said the NIHR was delighted to be part of this long-standing collaboration with NHMRC. 

“Jointly-funded research, such as the two projects announced today, will ultimately benefit patients and patient care in both Australia and the UK," Professor Farmer said.

The NHMRC funding provided through the scheme will support the Australian arms of these collaborative partnerships, while the UK researchers will be funded by an additional £3.4 million from the NIHR HTA programme. Both studies will involve participants in the UK and Australia. 

NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso AO said international collaboration pooled resources and talent for complex health and medical research projects, accelerated outcomes by providing access to larger patient cohorts to trial new drugs and treatments, and increased scientific impact.

“A strong health and medical research system relies on scientists working together to share knowledge and accelerate discoveries and their translation into better health outcomes,” Professor Kelso said.

NHMRC facilitates international research partnerships to address research gaps, build capacity and increase impact. International collaboration brings together research expertise and resources, and contributes to international health research policy agendas.

See full details below.

Project Institution Budget $
Steroid-Reducing Options for ReLapsING PMR (STERLING-PMR): a pragmatic, randomised trial to compare the clinical and cost-effectiveness of adding immunosuppression to steroid-tapering treatment for patients with relapsing PMR, versus steroid-tapering The University of Adelaide 823,722.00
The Meniscal Transplant surgery or Optimised Rehabilitation full randomised trial (MeTeOR2) University of Sydney 1,025,882.00
  Total 1,849,604.00



NHMRC Media Team
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