The Australian Government has announced $264 million in funding to support 258 exceptional health and medical research projects through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), across three funding streams.
232 research teams with a focus on discovery and innovation will share in $241 million in funding through the NHMRC Ideas Grant scheme, where teams work at the frontiers of knowledge to advance their field for the improvement of health.
Professor Dale Nyholt from the Queensland University of Technology will use his $1.9 million Ideas Grant to lead a team of researchers to investigate new therapeutic targets for epilepsy.
In one-third of people with epilepsy, currently available therapeutics do not control seizures. As recurrent seizures have significant impacts on patients and their families, there is a clear need for new antiepileptic drugs.
Professor Nyholt and his team aim to find new targets and predict which treatments will work for patients from the outset, providing a personalised response for people who experience epileptic seizures.
The Ideas Grants funded in this round cover the research spectrum from basic science to clinical medicine, public health and health services research:
- Associate Professor Susan Woods and team from the University of Adelaide will investigate using probiotics to deliver chemotherapy directly to tumours with a view to developing a new approach to the treatment of bowel cancer.
- Dr Lipin Loo and team from the University of Sydney have uncovered drivers of neuropathic pain in the spine and will now explore the use of cell therapy and functional genomic technologies to deliver safe and effective ways to manage chronic pain.
- Dr Garron Dodd and team from the University of Melbourne have discovered that type-2 diabetes causes changes in the casing around the brain cells that control blood glucose levels, making them insulin resistant; they plan to develop a new way to treat type-2 diabetes.
- Associate Professor Connie Wong and team from Monash University will examine the brain-lung communication pathway to investigate why lung immunity is impaired following a stroke and assess biomarkers to identify high-risk stroke patients who will require antibacterial therapy to limit infection.
- Professor Peter Le Souef from the University of Western Australia will lead a research team identifying specific changes in cells from blood and inside the nose of children who wheeze, to help predict who will go on to develop asthma and to design more specific asthma treatments.
The delivery of NHMRC grant schemes, like this one, depends on the assessment of applications by independent expert reviewers. Over 800 assessors contributed to peer review of the 2,193 Ideas Grant applications submitted to NHMRC this year, ensuring the highest-quality and most significant research is funded.
Today the Australian Government has also announced a further $15 million in funding for 16 projects to translate proof-of-concept research into commercial outcomes under the NHMRC Development Grant Scheme and an additional $8 million investment to support 10 international collaborative grants with partners in Canada and the European Union, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and the United States. NHMRC funding will support the Australian component of the partnerships, while the international research partners will be funded by their respective funding agencies.
The full list of projects funded under the 2022 Ideas Grant scheme, the Development Grant round and through international collaborative grants is attached.
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“With its focus on innovation and creativity, the Ideas Grant scheme encourages researchers to push the boundaries of current knowledge to deepen our understanding of health and disease and address our greatest health challenges.
“These investments in health and medical research will foster discovery and innovation, help commercialise proof-of-concepts, and deepen international research ties.”