$652 million boost for best and brightest medical researchers

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Summary media release information

19 October 2012
Ministerial Media Release
Contact for further information: 
Minister’s Office: Simon Crittle, 0466 773 531 NHMRC Media Team: David Cooper, 0422 008 512


Minister for Health

Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek has announced $652 million for 1,141 grants for ground-breaking medical research across Australia.

“Patients depend on continued government investment to keep Australians healthy and reduce the incidence of disease and suffering,” said Ms Plibersek.

“Because of this investment, medicines are our biggest research-intense goods export, and are helping to build a stronger, more competitive and more productive economy.”

“The Gillard Government is proud to be supporting Australia’s best and brightest health and medical innovators as they undertake their world-beating research.”

Ms Plibersek made the announcement at the University of Sydney, where she toured the laboratory of Professor Karen Waters who received a $990,000 grant to undertake research on young children suffering from sleep apnoea.

“Every parent knows what it’s like when children have difficulty sleeping, but having a child with sleep apnoea, who isn’t breathing properly at night, is a very serious problem.”

“This important research will look at the relationship between sleep apnoea, which affects about one in 30 children, and intelligence and learning.”

The grants are administered by the renowned National Health and Medical Research Council and address research needs, from basic science to research translation and they support researchers and their teams through the early and mid-stages of their careers.

Ms Plibersek was also joined at Sydney University by three other grant recipients:

  • $1,204,856 for Dr Rebekah Puls, University of New South Wales who is undertaking a follow-up study to a Bill and Melinda Gates foundation funded program that will determine if reduced dose of a HIV therapy provides safe and effective viral suppression as part of initial therapy.
  • $609,900 for Professor Deborah Schofield, University of Sydney whose project looks at the future health of the Australian population that will keep more informal carers out of employment and diminish their own living standards, thereby reducing funds available to government.
  • $439,920 for Dr Daniel Christ, Garvan Institute of Medical Research who is researching how monoclonal antibodies, such as the breast cancer therapeutic herceptin, have revolutionised the treatment of cancer and inflammatory conditions. His project will further advance and develop this monoclonal antibody, allowing us to initiate clinical studies.

Funding announced today comes on top of the $2.83 billion delivered to medical researchers by the Labor government since 2008.

Top 5 Research Facts

  • Victoria will receive the highest amount of funding, with $290 million for 498 grants.
  • The University of Melbourne is the research institution receiving the greatest amount of funding, with $89.6 million for 162 grants.
  • The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute is the independent medical research institute receiving the greatest amount of funding, with $30.7 million for 44 grants.
  • International collaboration will be strengthened through five Australian-European Union Collaborative Research Grants, with total value of $3.6 million.
  • Mental illness in children and young people will be targeted with 13 grants totalling $13.7 million. This funding is part of the Government’s 2011 Federal Budget commitment to boost preventative and early intervention health initiatives.

Funding announced today comes on top of the $2.83 billion delivered to medical researchers by the Labor government since 2008.


Funding Amount


$50.0 million

Mental health

$68.2 million

Child health

$80.3 million

Indigenous health

$37.0 million


$13.0 million

Chronic diseases - cancer

$131.3 million

Chronic diseases - cardiovascular disease

$81.7 million

Chronic diseases - diabetes

$36.3 million

Chronic diseases - arthritis

$21.4 million

Chronic diseases - obesity

$26.3 million

Chronic diseases - asthma

$16.7 million

*Some grants may appear in more than one of the above categories



of Grants

Funding Amount



$290.0 million



$157.5 million



$94.4 million



$46.3 million



$35.7 million



$9.5 million



$9.5 million



$9.0 million

Grand Total


$652.0 million


More information on NHMRC grants awarded to successful researchers.