Health and medical research grants worth $33m unveiled

Brandon How

The Western Australian government has opened applications for a share of $10 million in health and medical research grants, which followed a federal announcement on Tuesday of $23 million in similar grant funding.

WA’s Research Excellence Awards 2022 will deliver grants of up to $450,000 to early and mid-career researchers while grants of up to $900,000 will be available to established researchers.

In a similar announcement on Tuesday, the National Health and Medical Research Council announced $21.9 million in funds had been allocated to five research projects through its Partnership Projects scheme. Of this, $5.6 million is from the Commonwealth. An additional $1 million is going to Macquarie University through the NHMRC Targeted Call for Research into Biotoxin-related illnesses.

Health and medical researchers will receive $33 million from recent federal and WA government announcements.

The remaining $16.3 million is being tipped in by 60 funding partners to be announced in the next week. The Partnership Projects scheme accepts applications on a rolling basis, although peer review cycles commence three times a year. Government grants through the scheme award up to $1.5 million over five years.

Research investments are also a part of the Long Term National Health Plan launched in 2019. Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt said collaboration between researchers and other field experts would produce better health outcomes for the country.

“Australia continues to be at the forefront of medical research and these projects have the potential to increase not only our understanding of diseases, but to also revolutionise their treatment,” Minister Hunt said.

“Our Government continues to provide unprecedented support to health and medical research, as we back our best and brightest researchers to transform today’s ideas into breakthrough treatments for the patients of tomorrow.”

The largest grant in this announcement was just shy of $1.5 million, and will support the University of New South Wales’ Professor Jason Grebely, who is devising a national program for up-scaling hepatitis testing and treatment.

Also at UNSW, Dr Skye McGregor has been awarded $1.2 million to investigate the disparities in access to HIV prevention between different culturally and linguistically diverse communities and treatment programs. The result of this research will be used to tailor community-specific HIV programs.

The other three recipients are at the University of Sydney, University of Adelaide, and the University of Queensland. NHMRC manages the federal government’s investment in health and medical research in line with Commonwealth legislation, guidelines, and policies.

Grants through WA’s Research Excellence Awards will be made available over two years. The program is limited to 30 researchers in each experience level. Applications are open until 1pm (AWST) on March 14, 2022 which can be completed here.

These awards are being funded through WA’s Future Health Research and Innovation Fund (FHRIF) which has been the state’s sovereign wealth fund after succeeding the WA Future Fund in 2020. In 2019, the fund was worth around $1.4 billion. Following the inaugural FHRIF strategy 2020-2022, the government aims to make $40 million available each year for health and medical research, innovation, and commercialisation in WA.

WA’s Minister for Medical Research Stephen Dawson said that the government’s commitment to supporting researchers would help promote the well-being of Western Australians.

“By investing in the Future Health Research and Innovation Fund, the State Government is able to create jobs and improve the sustainability of the health system, and in doing so, position Western Australia as a leader in research and innovation,” Minister Dawson said.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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