University of Sydney awarded $61 million for health research

University of Sydney researchers have received $61 million from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to improve the health of Australians.
The Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, has announced the successful NHMRC grants today. The University of Sydney was awarded $61 million for 34 Investigator Grant projects and four Centres of Research Excellence (CRE) schemes.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison welcomed the announcement.

“This outstanding result is testament to the calibre of our researchers, the important areas of research they are pursuing, and the University’s position as a leader in health and medical research more generally. I was delighted to see such a strong performance from both the Faculty of Medicine and Health and the Faculty of Science, which demonstrates the breadth and quality of our research in these areas,” Professor Ivison said.

“This round we received the largest number of CREs ever led by the University of Sydney. Our sustained grant success reflects the outward focus of our academic community and our commitment to shaping the future of health in Australia.”

The University will lead four new CREs to improve outcomes for people with chronic kidney disease, childhood obesity prevention, reduce medical overuse, and find treatments for inflammatory arthritis.

Highlights of grants awarded to Sydney researchers in this round include:

Professor Georgina Long received an Investigator Grant to focus on lowering the death rate for melanoma – a cancer in which Australia has the highest incidence of in the world. The project will develop novel drug therapies using innovative clinical trial designs, collecting unique samples to understand the causes, and conquer drug resistance.
Professor Julie Leask’s Investigator Grant project aims to close gaps in vaccination coverage. It will identify behavioural and social drivers of low vaccination, generate new knowledge on interventions to improve coverage, and provide innovative solutions to the problem of vaccine hesitancy.
Professor Gregory Fox received an Investigator Grant to address the major gaps in prevention, detection and treatment of tuberculosis – a disease still affecting 10 million people each year. A series of trials will help to reduce the spread of infection and improve treatment outcomes globally and in Australia.
Professor Olivier Piguet’s Investigator Grant project aims to improve diagnosis and understanding of disease progression in frontotemporal dementia, a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative brain disorder. It will develop relevant therapeutic interventions that will maximise the quality of life of patients and their families.
Professor Lyn March will lead a CRE working to find the right treatment for inflammatory arthritis and provide the best path to symptom relief with the least risk of side effects. The CRE will build a resource and workforce to continue to look for cures to deliver the best outcomes for patients and society.
Professor Louise Baur’s CRE aims to identify and deliver the most effective, cost-effective, scalable and sustainable approaches to preventing obesity, and reducing obesity-related behaviours, in children aged 0-5 years.