Corporate Giving And Innovative Research Have The Greatest Impact

Commitment, support and passion are hallmarks of organisations making a difference and this is even more significant when it’s to fight a devastating childhood cancer.

With very few treatment options and no cure yet, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a devastating childhood cancer, that is highly aggressive and difficult to treat due to the location of the tumor. The only way is through expensive medical research.

At a gala event in Melbourne last Thursday, the national advocacy body, Research Australia awarded the QBE Foundation the Leadership in Corporate Giving Award for amazing support of The Kids’ Cancer Project to raise funds to find a way to beat this terrible disease.

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How a devastating diagnosis inspired a passion for health and medical research

The Incredible Story of Megan Donnell 

When the rare and devastating Sanfilippo Syndrome struck Megan Donnell’s family, she responded by setting up a $3 million Foundation to fund high-quality medical research into the condition. 

Sanfilippo Syndrome is an extremely rare, genetic disorder which causes progressive brain damage. Currently, there is no cure. Reeling from the news that their own two children had been diagnosed with Sanfilippo Syndrome, the Donnell family were reportedly told by doctors “not to bother chasing cures because there aren’t any.” Ms Donnell resigned from her role as a management consultant to establish the Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation.

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The young researcher using zebrafish to understand progressive muscle weakness

Seventy per cent of human genes are found in zebrafish and it’s this incredible commonality which has helped Monash University early career researcher Dr Avnika Ruparelia to better understand the causes of progressive muscle weakness.

At last nights annual Health and Medical Research Awards held by national advocacy body, Research Australia Dr Ruparelia received the Griffith University Discovery Award for her ground-breaking research into the causes and therapeutics for a group of late onset muscle disorders known as myofibrillar myopathies.

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Research Australia’s Collaborative Strategy

Research Australia’s Collaborative Strategy and Priority Projects are now available for you to download and share. 

Our vision

Research Australia envisions the world where Australia unlocks the full potential of its world-leading health and medical research sector to deliver the best possible healthcare and global leadership in health innovation.

Our goals

Connecting researchers, funders, and consumers to increase investment in health and medical research from all sources.

Engaging Australia in a conversation about the health benefits and economic value of its investment in health and medical research.

Influencing government policies that support effective health and medical research and its routine translation into evidence-based practices and better health outcomes.

Our mission

To use our unique convening power to position health and medical research as a significant driver of a healthy population and contributor to a healthy economy.

Changes to NHMRC’s Grant Program

The eagerly awaited changes to the NHMRC’s grant program have been announced this morning. As Research Australia and many others in our sector have advocated for, they are a combination of elements from the models proposed in the consultation paper issued in the middle of last year. Importantly, these changes reflect much of the advice provided to the review panel from the sector.

Research Australia welcomes the reforms announced and notes that there is never ‘a perfect solution’ but that these changes are a positive step in the right direction and address key issues flagged by the sector. Research Australia also commends the efforts of the NHMRC CEO Anne Kelso AO and the Expert Advisory Group chaired by Professor Steve Wesselingh.

The stated aims of the changes are to:

  1. Encourage research that is more creative and innovative
  2. Provide opportunities for Australia’s best health and medical researchers at all career stages, and
  3. Minimise the burden on researchers in preparing and reviewing grant applications, allowing them to spend more time on research.

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The Australian Health Data Series

Flying Blind | The Australian Health Data Series 

Flying Blind is a series of three reports dedicated to uncovering the acute levels of data fragmentation existing at all levels of Australia’s health landscape.

CMCRC in collaboration with Research Australia is currently working on the second report which examines Australia’s health and medical research data environment and traces the difficulties that Australian researchers face at each stage of their journey as they attempt to access research data. Volume One dived into consumers and digital health through the patient journey, service fragmentation, health data silos, legislation, regulation and policy and consumer concerns and perceptions.

As we write Volume Two: Researchers and the Health Data Maze, we’ll be publishing regular blog posts of interest to this topic. The blog is updated regularly by members of the CMCRC’s Health Market Quality program and Research Australia. If you would like to be a guest blogger please email Lucy Clynes with your expressions of interest.

Bookmark this website today: https://flyingblind.cmcrc.com/researchers-health-data.
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Detail of further MRFF payments released

The Turnbull Government continues to deliver on the promise to establish a flow of funding into health and medical research $20 billion capital target to be achieved in 2020-21.

Part of the $10 million announced in the 2017-18 budget is to be allocated to the existing AHRTCs ($8 million) and $2 million to help the existing and new AHRTCs and CIRHs.

Tuesday’s announcement concerned the $2 million being allocated to Monash Health Partners, an active member of Research Australia, the AHRTC built around Monash University. It will fund a number of projects across cancer, cardiovascular and diabetes to improve access to and use of new and existing services.

More announcements to come as they gear up to notify the sector of funding for other AHRTCs and Centres for Innovation in Regional Health.

[Read the full media release]

Clinical Trials 2017: National Tribute & Awards Ceremony

Research Australia is proud to be joining Australian Clinical Trials Alliances (ACTA) to bring together the Clinical Trials 2017: National Tribute & Awards Ceremony.

This partnership is in line with Research Australia’s collaborative strategy that continues to work towards an improved clinical trials environment driving evidence-based change in the health system and new commercial opportunities.

Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Minister for Sport, will attend the Clinical Trials 2017: National Tribute and Awards Ceremony to present the prestigious ACTA Trial of the Year Award and the inaugural ACTA STInG Excellence in Trial Statistics Award.
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Funding for Research into Cancers with Low Survival Rates

Research Australia has made a submission to the Senate Select Committee Inquiry into Funding for Research into Cancers with Low Survival Rates. Many of the Terms of Reference have relevance beyond brain cancers, cancers with low survival rates and low incidence cancers; our submission approaches the Inquiry from this broader perspective.

Government funding available for health and medical research is finite. While cancers with low survival rates are undoubtedly worthy of more funding, any increase in funding for one area has implications for the funding available to other disease areas. Improvements in survival are related to global research rather than specifically to the volume or subject of Australian research, and it is important that Australian researchers and patients have access to, and contribute to this global effort. This is particularly relevant for low incidence cancers and other rare diseases, because the number of patients in Australia is likely to be low and appropriate research collaborators are in many cases likely to be based overseas. Thus, when allocating funding we also need to consider the level of funding available and the research activity undertaken globally.

Research Australia also suggests there is merit in looking at approaches taken by other countries. This includes strategies such as rare disease policies that have been established in more than 20 countries as a means of providing a policy framework for a considered and comprehensive approach to the provision of research, diagnosis and access to treatment for rare diseases. In an area where the only available therapies are often experimental, a single policy that brings research, diagnosis and treatment together is valuable.

Read the full Research Australia submission today.

National Science Statement

Yesterday the Australian government launched the National Science Statement, outlining its commitment to science as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

This comes in advance of the 2030 Strategic Plan for Innovation, Science and Research, with Innovation and Science Australia commissioned by the government to review Australia’s performance in science and innovation, and develop a plan through to 2030.

Research Australia welcomes the Statement’s long-term approach to science in Australia; in particular, the explicit references to secure and sustainable investment and recognition of the role of research as a central contributor to GDP.  Continue reading “National Science Statement”