Australia extends $ 120M in medical research funding

CANBERRA, Feb. 18 (PNA/Xinhua) — Australian Department of Health on Tuesday announced 133 million AU dollar (US$ 120 million) in funding to help Australian researchers find new health treatments and cures.

Minister for Health Peter Dutton said the new funding will support 153 grants across five National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) schemes.

The grants will address broad areas of research, from infections in cancer patients to building immunity to childhood eczema and allergies. They include postgraduate scholarships and a Targeted Call for Research on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

The funding announcement follows the 559.1 million AU dollars (US$ 505.4 million) for new medical research discoveries announced in October last year. “Health and medical research is a major priority of the government and these new grants will support innovative projects aimed at finding better treatments for common diseases such as cancer, diabetes, asthma, arthritis and cardiovascular disease,” said Dutton. “It will also help find new ways of tackling mental illness, dementia and gaps in indigenous health.”

Among all the grants, the postgraduate scholarships will support young researchers by making available 108 scholarships totaling 9.5 million (US$ 8.6 million).

Announcing the new grants at the University of Adelaide, Dutton took the opportunity to visit the laboratory of one of the successful program grant recipients, Professor James Paton.

Paton and his team are conducting innovative work in the area of infectious disease. “Their research into how microorganisms cause disease could pave the way to improved vaccines and drugs. This would have a significant global impact, given that infectious disease claims more than 10 million lives around the world each year,” Dutton said.

“Australian researchers are among the best in the world and the government is pleased to provide funding to support the work of so many dedicated professionals,” he said. (PNA/Xinhua)