14 September 2021

Almost half a billion dollars in funding for health and medical research.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) welcomes today’s announcement by the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, of almost half a billion dollars in funding for health and medical research.

The $472 million in funding announced today includes more than $12 million dedicated to research on SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – and over $84 million for research in infectious diseases.

NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso said the announcement reported on close to half the NHMRC’s grant funding for 2021 and a considerable investment in future health and medical research in Australia.

“NHMRC funds investigator-led research where Australia’s highest-performing health and medical researchers set out to solve the health problems they see in the community, in their clinical practice and in their own lives,” Professor Kelso said.

“We have seen the benefits of long-term investment in basic, clinical and public health research in the outstanding contribution of Australian researchers to solving the complex and urgent problems posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The grants announced today will provide critical funding to enable our researchers to address the health issues faced by the Australian community, today and tomorrow, including and beyond the pandemic.”

Among grants announced today, a number will support emerging leaders in vaccine science at the University of Melbourne, including at the Doherty Institute, to drive improvements in vaccines of the future against respiratory diseases and SARS-CoV-2-like viruses.

At the University of Queensland, virologist Doctor Kirsty Short will develop better diagnostics and treatments for a ready stockpile of validated therapeutics and diagnostics to treat infected individuals at the outset of the next viral pandemic. 

Professor Julie Leask at the University of Sydney will use behavioural and social science to learn how to close gaps in vaccination coverage.

Doctor Alexandra Hogan at the University of New South Wales will develop mathematical modelling to inform policy planning for longer-term, sustainable COVID-19 vaccine programs in Australia and regionally.

Professor Raina MacIntyre at the University of New South Wales will establish a Centre of Research Excellence called     BREATHE - mitigating airborne threats to health.

Today’s announcement includes close to $400 million for 254 Investigator Grants, NHMRC’s largest scheme, which provides funding over five years for the highest performing researchers at all career stages.

Also announced today, $44 million to fund 17 Centres of Research Excellence over five years, building collaborative teams and developing capacity to improve research translation into better health outcomes.

Significant collaboration with health providers and other sectors is reflected in the $28.6 million committed by partners along with $20.4 million from the Australian Government to fund 16 projects through the NHMRC Partnership Project scheme.

The Targeted Call for Research into End of Life Care will provide $4.6 million for four research grants to address the critical challenge of improving end-of-life care, developing coordinated and best practice interventions

NHMRC’s commitment to supporting international collaboration continues with $1.5 million for collaborative research on osteoarthritis to be funded in partnership with the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health Research.

Professor Kelso said NHMRC also sought through these funding rounds to address the challenges currently facing the health and medical research sector by supporting additional early and mid-career researchers and women in the sector, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research and researchers.

“As have all sections of the community, the health and medical research sector has contended with the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector has delivered against these odds, bringing Australia’s best science and scientists to the problem,” Professor Kelso said.

“The remarkable quality of projects funded in these schemes shows that Australia’s health and medical researchers are as passionate and skilled as ever to explore solutions for the range of health problems that concern us most.”

Details of all grants are available on NHMRC’s website.    

NHMRC Media Team
M: 0422 008 512
E: media@nhmrc.gov.au