4 April 2023

Welcome to a Tracker Special to acknowledge the recipients of this year's NHMRC Research Excellence Awards and Biennial Awards.

People standing in front of a building

Recognising excellence and dedication in Australia’s health and medical research sector

NHMRC has celebrated outstanding contributors to Australian health and medical research with its Research Excellence and Biennial Awards announced in Canberra last Wednesday.  

Research Excellence Awards are awarded annually to the top-ranked researchers and teams following peer review of applications to NHMRC's highly competitive grant schemes. 

NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso AO said being ranked first in the intense competition for NHMRC’s important grants indicated the exceptional quality of the proposals presented by the recipients.    

Professor Kelso said each Biennial Award recognised an individual or group who had made a special contribution in an area of importance to NHMRC.  

“These awards are made in response to nominations from the research sector and the wider community, reflecting the very high esteem in which the nominees are held,” Professor Kelso said.  

Find out more about the awards in our media release.     

Pictured: NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso with Research Excellence and Biennial Awards recipients.

Five people standing and smiling

2023 NHMRC Biennial Awards

The Queensland Aphasia Research Centre (QARC) received the NHMRC Consumer Engagement Award for its leadership and innovation in conducting research to address the health and social needs of people living with aphasia.

Professor Doug Hilton AO, Director of WEHI, received the NHMRC Outstanding Contribution Award in recognition of his transformative leadership and advocacy for Australian health and medical research, and more than two decades of influential service to NHMRC.

Other Biennial Awards announced tonight were the Ethics and Integrity Award to leading Australian ethicist, Reverend Kevin McGovern, and the Science to Art Award to Dr Caleb Dawson.  Find out more about the 2023 Biennial Award recipients

Pictured (left to right): Reverend Kevin McGovern, Professor Doug Hilton AO, Professor Anne Kelso AO and, representing QARC, Professor David Copland and Dr Ciara Shiggins.

Man and woman smiling

Professor Vaughan Macefield received both NHMRC Marshall and Warren Ideas Grant Awards

In the Research Excellence Awards, Professor Vaughan Macefield of Monash University received not one but two NHMRC Marshall and Warren Ideas Grant Awards – one as the highest ranked Ideas Grant recipient and the other for the application with the highest innovation score in the 2022 Ideas Grant round. 

The awards are named to honour Australian Nobel Laureates Professor Barry Marshall AC and Professor Robin Warren AC.  

Professor Macefield will advance work studying the vagus nerve, the largest of 12 cranial nerves, responsible for regular bodily functions including digestion, heart rate and breathing.

Find out more about the 2022 Research Excellence Award recipients

Pictured: NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso and Professor Vaughan Macefield

Woman presenting at lectern

Awards recognising health and medical research leadership

Professor Wai-Hong Tham (WEHI) was one of four distinguished female researchers to receive 2022 NHMRC Elizabeth Blackburn Investigator Grant Awards. Her award was for the highest ranked female recipient (Leadership category) in the Basic Science research area of the Investigator Grants scheme. 

Other Elizabeth Blackburn award recipients were Professor Susan Davis AO (Monash University), Professor Louisa Degenhardt (University of New South Wales), and Professor Caroline Homer AO (Burnet Institute).  

Congratulations to all the Research Excellence Awards and Biennial Awards recipients. We thank them for their outstanding contribution to Australian health and medical research.

Pictured: Professor Wai-Hong Tham at the Awards.


Previous editions of Tracker are available on NHMRC's website.

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