MDHS researchers take lead in funding scheme for innovative health projects

The University has welcomed National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding for innovative research totalling $31,953,123.36. Image: Michael Longmire

Thirty-four University of Melbourne researchers have been awarded funding in the current round of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Ideas Grants Scheme, valued nationally at $239 million.

The grants range from $299,753 to $1,548,906 with the University receiving a total of $31,953,123.36.

All but one of the successful Ideas Grants Scheme were awarded to the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences (MDHS), with the other grant going to Science.

Professor Jim McCluskey, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), welcomed the announcement, noting the significance of the grant in supporting researchers at all career stages, who are working to help to improve the health of Australians and those of patients around the world.

“Nurturing our researchers, especially at the early and mid career stage, is fundamental to the mission of a university, and I am delighted to celebrate these outcomes. Researchers need a runway with the time to take some risks that test new ideas. The NHMRC Ideas Grant Scheme plays a critical role in funding researchers to do this.

“Research discovery and translation is critical to shape the world beyond COVID-19 and I extend my congratulations and appreciation to all the staff who have contributed to these results.”

The research projects range from understanding the neural circuits driving stress-related eating, whether allergies start with the skin, novel therapies for slowing vision loss, optimizing diabetes therapies, mapping B-cell fate to improve humoral immunity to malaria, and the global analysis of metabolic targets in Leishmania parasites.

Professor Jane Gunn, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, said the NHRMC funding was an endorsement of the excellent research work underway at the University of Melbourne.

“This is an amazing outcome for our researchers in what is an extremely competitive funding environment - I congratulate them all  for the excellent work they deliver to ensure the ongoing improved health of communities.”

The grants were announced by Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, who said Australia continues to take a lead role in improving the lives of patients around the world through health and medical research.

“These projects demonstrate the outstanding innovation of the health and medical research sector in Australia and offer great promise for future advances in our understanding and management of health challenges,” Mr Hunt said.

248 innovative research projects in total have secured funding with each Ideas Grant team receiving support for up to five years, with funding starting in 2022.

Full list of recipients and funding available on the NHMRC website