$5 million plus to Australian researchers: NHMRC

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More than $5 million has been awarded to Australian researchers collaborating with international experts to solve global health problems, the NHMRC has announced.

The NHMRC announced 11 grants to support international collaborative research on health issues such as heart attacks, dementia, stroke and leukaemia.

Nine grants were awarded under the NHMRC – European Union Collaborative Research Grant scheme, and a further two were awarded under the NHMRC – Californian Institute of Regenerative Medicine Collaborative Research Grant scheme.

The former scheme supports Australian researchers who are contributing to projects that were selected for funding through the European Union’s highly competitive Horizon 2020 program.

The two grants funded under the CIRM scheme are jointly funded by NHMRC and CIRM and focus primarily on finding novel ways to develop and apply stem cells for the treatment of disease.

“Improving human health is a goal shared by all countries and accordingly, health and medical research is truly a global venture,” NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso says.

“In participating in international collaborations like these, Australian researchers share their knowledge and skills. In turn, they gain access to technology that is potentially not available in Australia, and they get to work with some of the brightest scientific minds overseas.

“When they bring that experience back to our shores, it benefits Australian research immeasurably,” she says.

“It’s also worth noting the sheer number of Australian research teams that met the high bar to qualify for this funding. This reflects the talent that these researchers bring to the table when they work with their international counterparts.”

European Union Ambassador Fabrizi praised the collaboration and said it was a splendid result for both Australian and European researchers.

“The funding from the Federal Government will allow Australian researchers to pool their considerable talents with European experts to address global societal challenges in health, demographic change and wellbeing,” he says.

CIRM Board Chair Dr Jonathan Thomas also welcomed the collaboration.

“This is excellent news and we are delighted to be teaming up with our colleagues in Australia for this vital research,” Dr Thomas says.

“The importance of these kinds of collaborative partnerships between CIRM and Australia is that they allow the research to be done on two fronts and speed up the work to develop new treatments and cures for patients with unmet medical needs.

“These projects, studying cells connected to leukaemia and other blood cancers and diseases of the brain such as Parkinson’s, have the potential to be game-changers and transform the lives of millions of people around the world.”

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