The medical research grants tally is out from the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) last and biggest grant round of 2018, and the top three winners are Monash University, University of Melbourne and UNSW. The results were announced on 12 December by Federal Health Minister, the Hon. Greg Hunt.
NHMRC is the key driver of health and medical research in Australia, providing funding to universities and medical research institutes through numerous grant programs. In this round, researchers investigating cancer and cardiovascular disease have come out on top, attracting almost one-third of the $640 million allocated. Mental health, diabetes and Indigenous health are also key areas which have been targeted.
Monash Medical Centre, Clayton, Victoria. Image credit: Nils Versemann/Shutterstock.
Monash University comes out on top
Monash University’s Health Translation Precinct has enjoyed continued success in attracting grant funding from NHMRC this year, receiving a total of $103.7m in allocated funding. Monash will also host a new NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in women’s sexual and reproductive health in primary care, known as SPHERE.
The research projects funded this round will focus on improving treatment following heart attack, genetic testing for glaucoma causing blindness, and better treatments for skeletal disorders. Other Monash projects will tackle a variety of health problems including HIV, obesity, various cancers, infectious disease, chronic disease, brain injury and food allergies, mental and reproductive health and the health of the elderly.
Monash Provost and Senior Vice-President, Professor Marc Parlange, said continued success in attracting grant funding was a testament to the talent and dedication of the University’s researchers.“Our researchers continue to develop ground-breaking research that has the potential to transform lives, and the breadth of funded projects is indicative of the University’s repute as a global leader,” Professor Parlange said.
University of Melbourne and UNSW take second and third place
Closely following Monash in funding allocation is the University of Melbourne, which received $103.3m in funding. Some of the projects funded will include better diagnostic tools for prescribing antibiotics, determining how anaesthesia affects cancer patients and developing an optical centre for detecting foetal distress in labour, as well as numerous other projects in basic science, clinical medicine, health services and public health.
The University of New South Wales rose to third place in funding this year, receiving $82.8m. Projects to eliminate tuberculosis by 2030 and research programs to boost support after dementia diagnosis are some of the major UNSW research projects.
“Year-on-year our project grant funding is up $23 million,” said UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Nicholas Fisk. “This is testimony to the dedication of our outstanding researchers in optimising health outcomes for people around the world.”
The top 10 and closing the gender gap
The NHMRC is also working towards closing the gender gap in grant applications, The Australian reported. Applications lead by 15.3 percent of female lead applicants were funded this year, compared to 17.1 percent of their male counterparts.
The top 10 universities (by funding allocation) are as follows:
- Monash University, $103.7m
- University of Melbourne, $103.3m
- UNSW, $82.8m
- University of Queensland, $57.4m
- University of Sydney, $52.3m
- University of Newcastle, $23.2m
- University of Adelaide, $21.6m
- University of Western Australia, $21.0m
- University of South Australia, $15,1m
- Deakin University, $14.5m
Author: Larissa Fedunik-Hofman
Larissa is the editorial assistant for Careers with STEM and a Chemistry PhD student. Larissa’s goal is to promote public engagement with STEM through inspiring stories.