30 November 2020

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is investing $4.5 million in six ground-breaking international medical research projects aimed at improving outcomes in Alzheimer’s disease, emerging and re emerging infectious diseases, cancer, mental health conditions, anorexia nervosa and the human health impact of climate change.

This funding is awarded through the following joint schemes:
•    European Union Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND)
•    UK National Institute for Health Research, and 
•    e-ASIA Joint Research Program.

NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso said, “NHMRC’s dedicated international funding schemes consolidate links between Australian researchers and their international counterparts.    

“International collaboration drive advances in health and medical research, accelerating progress by pooling skills and resources, reducing international duplication of effort and increasing the diversity of research.”

Associate Professor Peter Van Wijngaarden from the Centre for Eye Research Australia has been awarded a grant through the NHMRC-European Union JPND grant scheme. He is leading a team of clinicians and scientists to evaluate multimodal retinal imaging biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease. They are part of the international consortium BRAINSTORM, which unites researchers with diverse expertise and will transform the management of Alzheimer’s disease through improved early detection in a non-invasive, rapid and cost-effective manner.

WEHI’s Doctor Diana Hansen has received a grant through the NHMRC e ASIA Joint Research Program scheme and will be collaborating with researchers in Indonesia and Japan on dengue fever, a mosquito-borne viral disease that has rapidly spread in tropical regions. According to the World Health Organisation, modelling indicates 390 million dengue virus infections per year with 96 million manifesting in some severity of disease. Importantly, 70 per cent of the disease burden from dengue is in Asiai. The team will use machine learning to identify molecular and cellular pathways predicting susceptibility or resistance to severe dengue fever.

Other funded international research projects will contribute to developing precision-based treatments for biliary tract cancer, testing a pharmacological treatment for anorexia nervosa, generating knowledge of the human health impacts of ambient temperature and the cultural adaptation of digital mental health tools to support carers of people living with dementia.

The six grants funded will support Australian partnerships with leading research teams in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand and Vietnam.

Research funding recipients

Chief Investigator

Application Title

Administering Institution

Budget $

NHMRC-European Union Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease (JPND ) Grant Scheme

Associate Professor Peter Van Wijngaarden

gloBal RetinAl Imaging coNSorTium fOR alzheiMer's disease (BRAINSTORM)

Centre for Eye Research Australia Limited


NHMRC e-ASIA Joint Research Program Scheme

Dr Diana Hansen

Identification of molecular and cellular pathways predicting susceptibility or resistance to severe dengue fever

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research


Associate Professor Yuming Guo

Climate Change and Human Health in Asia: Current Impacts, Future Risks, and Health Benefits of Mitigation Policies

Monash University


Professor John Mariadason

Novel precision-based treatments for biliary tract cancer

La Trobe University


Dr Tuan Anh Nguyen

e-DIVA (empowering Dementia Carers with an iSupport Virtual Assistant)

University of South Australia


NHMRC-NIHR Collaborative Research Grant Scheme

Associate Professor Sloane Madden

Olanzapine for young PEople with aNorexia nervosa: An open-label feasibility study to test recruitment, treatment acceptance, adherence, safety, outcome measures  and patients' experience to prepare for a randomised placebo-controlled trial (OPEN)

University of Sydney


  i https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dengue-and-severe-dengue