Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) awards Monash University over $75 million. This award is the largest among a total of over $400 million allocated to various research centers reports Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. Medical research is a hot topic in Australia—Melbourne is increasingly becoming a global life science research hub—and Monash was just awarded more than any other university. Monash has received a total of $148.2 million just in 2019—an increase of $42 million over the previous year and a new record. Exciting things are happening in Southern Australia.
Monash University funding applies to six of the seven NHMRC categories announced including Idea grants (49), Postgraduate Scholarships (8), Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies (5), Synergy Grants (3), Partnership Grants (1) and Targeted Calls for Research (1).
Monash will deploy these funds into important research focusing on the development of new antimalarial drugs, clinical trials to reduce methamphetamine use and developing an integrated approach to precision medicine centering on antimicrobial resistance of bacterial ‘superbugs.’
Down and Under is getting real serious about clinical research and there is a bold, big and visionary yet humble ethos resonating throughout the research culture.
Enhancing and Extending CAR T Therapies in Cancers
Professor Tony Tiganis with the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) was awarded $1.7 million to develop next generation therapies for cancer. The immune-oncology-based revolution drives Tiganis to cherish the funds and put them to very good use along with Professor Nicholas Huntington with the BDI and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. The duo will leverage cutting-edge pre-clinical tumor models and innovative approaches to enhance CAR cell therapies in cancer.
Tiganis has seen the power of CAR T therapies and will leverage the funds to find new approaches to “increase their effectiveness in approved diseases and broader their therapeutic utility to additional diseases such as solid cancers.” Tiganis noted, “We are extremely grateful to the NHMRC for continuing to fund this vital research.”
Need to Overcome Resistance with Antimalarial Drugs
Over 200 million people worldwide are afflicted with malaria, causing 440,000 deaths per year. Impoverished developing countries are hit hard. Moreover, viral resistance has emerged to all current classes of antimalarial medicines, hence an urgent need to discover new classes of antimalarial drugs that target novel pathways to avoid cross-resistance with current medicines. Hence, NHMRC has allocated a $5 million Synergy Grant for to Professor Susan Charman for research into the identification and development of new antimalarial drugs.
Melbourne is Life Science Research Mover and Shaker
It isn’t a coincidence that Monash is in Melbourne. With one of the world’s largest life science clusters, the gorgeous and progressive city in southern Australia is home to more than 40% of Australia’s biomedical researchers. With a vibrant commercial biotech and academic research presence, key R&D infrastructure and advanced manufacturing expertise, Melbourne is also, by some rankings, one of the world’s most livable cities at the number two spot.
A public research university based in Melbourne, Australia, Monash University was founded in 1958 and is the second oldest university in the State of Victoria. The university has a number of campuses four or which are in Victoria and one in Malaysia. It runs a researching and teaching center in Prato, Italy, and a graduate research school in Mumbai, India, as well as a graduate school in Suzhou, China.
Monash is home to major research facilities including the Australian Stem Cell Centre, 100 research centers and 17 cooperative research enters. By 2016, the university generated $2.2 billion (AUD) with external revenue around $282 million.
A member of the “Group of Eight,” a coalition of Australia’s eight leading research universities, and a member of ASAIHL, it is the only Australian member of the M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers, Universities and National Academies.
National Health and Medical Research Council
The NHMRC is Australia’s peak funding body for medical research with a budget of approaching $1 billion per annum. The Council was established to develop and maintain health standards and is responsible for implementing the National Health and Medical Research Council Act in 1992. It became a self-governing statutory authority in 2007. Along with the Australian Research Council (ARC), NHMRC is one of the Australian government’s two main agencies for allocating competitively research funding to academics and researchers at Australian Universities.
Lead Research/Investigators Profiled
Tony Tiganis, Professor, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI)
Susan Charman, Professor for Drug Candidate Optimisation