Hon Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health
15 December 2020

The Morrison Government is investing $300 million in ground-breaking health and medical research projects across Australia aimed at delivering better treatments, diagnosis and care.

Today’s announcement includes $260 million for 283 research projects through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Ideas Grants scheme.

Associate Professor Tu'uhevaha Kaitu'u-Lino will receive $1.1 million to help improve pregnancy outcomes for women by developing a screening test to identify women at risk of preeclampsia.

Associate Professor Tu'uhevaha Kaitu'u-Lino, and her research team, will use large collections of human blood samples to screen for novel proteins within pregnant women's blood. They will then use artificial intelligence to select the best biomarkers and combine them with clinical information to develop a multi-marker blood test to predict women at risk.

Preeclampsia is a serious complication of pregnancy for which there is currently no cure and no way to accurately predict women at risk. The aim of this research is for all women to take home a healthy baby and to address the rate of still births.

The funding announced today will support thousands of researchers to pursue their goals over the next 3-5 years.

Ideas Grants support a broad range of research from discovery science through to clinical research, health services and public health research. This year’s Ideas Grants include 45 grants focused on cancer research, 68 grants on infectious diseases and 13 grants on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

In its second year, the Ideas Grants scheme sees equal funded rates for female and male chief investigators and one-quarter of awarded grants led by an early to mid-career researcher.

Our Government is also investing close to $6.9 million in the early careers of outstanding health and medical researchers through 64 postgraduate scholarships announced today.

The success of the medical and health research sector depends on the contribution and dedication of researchers at all phases of their careers. These two schemes combined demonstrate investment across the spectrum.

The health and medical research sector in Australia has come to the fore in 2020 and has provided exceptional support for our national response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as delivering on Australia’s ongoing research excellence.

These grants announced today will support our health and medical research workforce and will lead to advances in many areas of health research and medicine so that Australians of all ages have improved health.

In total, the Government directly invested a record $1.28 billion in health and medical research in 2019-20, which represented 13.6 per cent of Morrison Government investment in Australian research.

Our Government will invest a record $6.6 billion in health and medical research between 2020-21 and 2023-24.

A full list of grant recipients is available on NHMRC’s website: www.nhmrc.gov.au.

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