MEDIA RELEASE – Research Australia and Bupa Health Foundation partner to celebrate advances in health data science

21 December 2021

Research Australia was delighted to have Bupa Australia’s Health Foundation as a category Sponsor of the Data Innovation Award at the 18th Annual Health and Medical Research Awards.

Dr Chris Dalton, National Medical Director of Bupa Australia, awarded Dr Tracy Dudding-Byth the Data Innovation Award at the ceremony.

“We continue to sponsor this award as Bupa Health Foundation believes by recognising the inspirational contributions of researchers it encourages us to do more to drive improvements in healthcare that benefit us all with the power to transform lives.

“We believe data is a positive force in health, creating significant opportunities for raising the bar on how health services are delivered; whether it’s having the right information at the bedside when it is needed, or being able to predict where the health pressures will come from, to improving health planning or using data to create new knowledge and knowhow for treatments, interventions, devices and medicines,” Dr Dalton said.

Dr Tracy Dudding-Byth from the Hunter New England Local Health District was nominated for the Data Innovation Award by Professor John Attia from the University of Newcastle for her incredible work on the FaceMatch project.

“I am thrilled to acknowledge Dr Dudding-Byth’s work using data to develop a first-of-its-kind international platform incorporating facial recognition technology to help diagnose possible rare genetic conditions in children.

“FaceMatch and Dr Dudding-Byth’s work is just one example of how health and medical researchers know how to manage and analyse data, which is an essential component of all modern health research and crucial to delivering health benefits to all Australians.

“The health and medical research sector has made significant progress in extracting useful and unbiased information from medical records which can be used in data analyses, and I would like to particularly pay tribute to Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite, the Founding Director of the Australian Institute of Health Innovation at Macquarie University, who has been a leader in many aspects of this work,” Dr Dalton said.

Research Australia CEO and Managing Director Nadia Levin said, “As a Foundation Member of Research Australia, Bupa Australia has been a loyal supporter of our sector through its continued work with Research Australia, particularly through their sponsorship of our signature awards event.”

For more information on Bupa Australia’s Health Foundation go to:

MEDIA RELEASE – Congratulations to the 2020-21 Health and Medical Research Award Winners

14 December 2021

The country’s leading scientific minds and advocates have been recognised in Research Australia’s 18th Health and Medical Research Awards, celebrating the phenomenal researchers, doctors, and community champions who are working to transform the sector and change lives.

Researchers working to revolutionise the treatment of spinal cord injuries and slash the rate of infection in our hospitals were among those honoured, as well as the dedicated advocates and philanthropists who help make their work possible.

Research Australia CEO Nadia Levin said the standard of the finalists was a testament to the diversity and drive of Australia’s research sector and its role as a global leader in health and medical innovation.

“Australian researchers are continuously making new discoveries that transform our understanding, prevention and treatment of disease,” Ms Levin said.

“These incredible scientists have demonstrated astounding commitment to our collective human progress, while making tangible improvements to our individual health, wellbeing and health services.

“Throughout the pandemic, Australia’s health and medical research sector has ploughed on with remarkable dedication and world-leading discoveries. The pandemic has underscored the critical importance of health and medical research – the fact that we are all here today, vaccinated for a virus which was unknown two years ago, is a triumph for research collaboration and innovation.

“Research Australia is proud to advocate for the sector, marking our twentieth year of doing so. We’re honoured to celebrate the winners of this year’s Health and Medical Research Awards – an inspirational mix of researchers, advocates and philanthropists whose work is both life-changing and sector-defining.”

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt delivered the keynote address at the event. NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Health James Griffin MP (representing Minister Brad Hazzard) presented the Health Services Research Award, the Hon Gabrielle Upton MP co-presented the Data Innovation Award and Dr Fiona Martin MP co-presented the Griffith Discovery Award. Dr Mike Freelander MP presented the Great Australian Philanthropy Award and Zali Steggall OAM MP presented the Advocacy Award.

Professor Brendan Murphy received Research Australia’s flagship award, the prestigious Peter Wills Medal, in honour of his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the Government Chief Medical Officer, Professor Murphy provided expert advice to Australian governments that helped spare tens of thousands of Australian lives in the first wave of the pandemic and strengthened Australia’s international reputation in the areas of medical and health research. Professor Murphy continues to serve Australians today as Secretary of the Department of Health.

Dr John Parker, founding CEO of Saluda Medical, won the Frontiers Award for his leadership towards developing an innovative treatment for chronic back pain, with potentially beneficial applications for patients with Parkinson’s disease and children with cerebral palsy.

Dr Mo Chen (Griffith University) was awarded the Griffith University Discovery Award for his 3D-printed cellular nerve bridge system that creates ‘artificial’ human nerves using the patient’s own cells, potentially revolutionising treatment and recovery for more than 21,000 Australians living with a spinal cord injury.

On behalf of their family, Andrew and Jean Miller graciously accepted the Great Australian Philanthropy Award for the extraordinary generosity they have shown through the Miller Foundation since it was established in 1974. More than $100 million has been bestowed through the foundation across a spectrum of medical research, including work focused on maternal and child health, cancer, infectious diseases such as malaria, heart disease and diabetes, indigenous health, and research programs addressing socially disadvantaged vulnerable young people and children.

The Advocacy Award was presented to the Chimera Legacy Foundation, established by Damien Thompson and his parents Bob and Debbie, recognising their tremendous efforts towards raising awareness and funds for medical research and improving the experience of patients in hospital.

The Data Innovation Award – sponsored by the Bupa Health Foundation – was awarded to Dr Tracy Dudding-Byth (Hunter New England LHD) for her work using facial recognition technology to help investigate and diagnose syndromic intellectual disability.

Professor Brett Mitchell (Newcastle University) received the Health Services Award – sponsored by the NSW Government – for his leading work in infection control, including research helping to drive greater use of antiseptics to prevent infection in hospital settings.

The GSK Award for Research Excellence was jointly awarded to Professor Jamie Cooper and Professor Rinaldo Bellomo (Monash University). Professor Mark Febbraio (Monash University) was also recognised as winner of the 2020 award.

Ms Levin said that each of the award categories was competitive, and every nominee displayed remarkable achievements in their respective fields.

“On behalf of Research Australia, I would like to thank all our nominees, nominators and members for helping make this night a memorable celebration of the astounding ability and dedication within this sector,” she said. “I would also like to thank the organisations who have supported the awards, including the NSW Government, Bupa Health Foundation, Griffith University, Australian National University and GSK.”  Supporting research is as important as the research itself.







For further information or interview requests, please contact Pia Akerman – 0412 346 746.

A full list of winners follows.

2020-21 Research Australia Award Winners

Peter Wills Medal: Named in honour of Research Australia’s Deputy Chairman, Peter Wills AC, a great leader whose work led to the inception of Research Australia. The Peter Wills Medal is the flagship award and recognises someone who has made an outstanding, long-term contribution to building Australia’s international reputation in areas of health and medical research and fostering collaboration for better health.

Winner – Professor Brendan Murphy, Secretary of the Department of Health.

Frontiers Research Award: Sponsored by Australian National University, this Award recognises the success of innovative health and medical research that extends existing knowledge, boundaries and/or understandings within health and medical research.

Winner – Dr John Parker, Founding CEO of Saluda Medical

Griffith University Discovery Award: This Award recognises an early career researcher (anytime from qualification but no more than 5 years past PhD) whose paper/patent/discovery has already demonstrated its importance or impact.

Winner – Dr Mo Chen (Griffith University)

Great Australian Philanthropy Award: This Award profiles personal philanthropy that is outstanding in its generosity, effectiveness, vision, high impact and transformative quality. The Award recognises and encourages personal philanthropic donations over a period of time by an individual(s) or family to Australian health and medical research.

Winner – Andrew and Jean Miller (Miller Foundation)

Advocacy Award: This Award recognises and congratulates exceptional contributions made by research champions who help raise community awareness and understanding about the importance of health and medical research.

Winner – The Chimera Legacy Foundation, founded by Damien, Debbie and Bob Thompson

Data Innovation Award: This Award recognises an individual or team whose innovation is considered to represent one of the most impactful new data innovations in the HMR sector within the past five years. Sponsored by Bupa Health Foundation.

Winner – Dr Tracy Dudding-Byth (Hunter New England LHD)

Health Services Research Award: This Award is for an individual or team who has provided leadership and made an outstanding contribution to health services research; driven research that has led to a significant improvement in healthcare; and/or has championed the development of the health services research field. Sponsored by the Victorian Government.

Winner – Professor Brett Mitchell (Newcastle University)

GSK Award for Research Excellence: One of the most prestigious awards available to Australian researchers, this prize has been awarded since 1980 to recognise outstanding achievements in medical research with potential importance to human health. This year’s Award is accompanied by a grant of $80,000 to further the winner’s research.

Winners –  Professor Jamie Cooper and Professor Rinaldo Bellomo (Monash University)


December 2021

Research Australia, the national alliance for Australian health and medical research, has thanked the Hon Greg Hunt MP for his incredible 20-year service as the Member for Flinders and his extraordinary commitment to health and medical research during his time as Minister for Health and Aged Care. 

Research Australia CEO, Nadia Levin said, “Minister Hunt has been unequivocal in his support for the health and medical research community, and we have been delighted to call him a true friend to the health and medical research sector. 

“Research Australia has been pleased to work side by side with Minister Hunt on a range of initiatives in support of health and medical research, including development of the $570 million Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Frontiers Fund. 

“It was under Minister Hunt’s watch that the MRFF reached full capitalisation and we have been pleased to watch that important stream of funding mature. We continue to strive for a fund which truly delivers research that meets the needs of the health system” 

Minister Hunt has demonstrated immense dedication, determination and personal commitment to keeping the population safe during the pandemic in incredibly difficult circumstances. Importantly, he has put expertise and advice of our health and medical research community at the forefront of our response. 

“It is prior investments in health and medical research, like the MRFF, which the Minister has championed, that have enabled Australia to respond so ably in our time of crisis,” Ms Levin said. 

Research Australia looks forward to building on Minister Hunt’s legacy and continuing to work with his successor on the challenges and opportunities facing the health and medical research community, including national coordination of the multiple streams of funding for health and medical research through a National Health and Medical Research Strategy. 

Research Australia is the national peak body for Australian health and medical research. 

Further information on the range of reforms Research Australia is driving is available via the Research Australia Consultation Hub. 

Media contact: Peta Garrett, Senior Government Relations Adviser, 0400 011 394