Sydney researchers secure $38 million in NHMRC funding

29 August 2019
University of Sydney researchers have excelled in the latest National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding round, attracting more than $38 million for our projects extending from Sydney to rural NSW.

The latest funding round of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) was announced today by federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, with $38.5m awarded to University of Sydney researchers for 25 projects.

The funding includes the first grants delivered through the highly competitive Investigator Grant Scheme, part of NHMRC’s new grant program, which provides five-year funding certainty for researchers and support for their research groups. Another first is the grant for the University of Sydney’s Indigenous-led Centre of Research Excellence, embedding rural health research in local communities.

Recipients of the NHMRC grants announced today include Professor Luigi Fontana, of the Charles Perkins Centre and Sydney Medical School in the Faculty of Medicine and Health, who was successful under the five-year Investigator Grant Scheme, attracting a total of $2.7m for his project.

Professor Fontana, who came to Sydney from Washington University, St Louis after doing the foundational research for the 5:2 diet, will analyse new models based on accumulating data from the “biology of ageing” field for “Food and exercise as medicine: a new medical approach for the prevention of age-related diseases”.

Project work will include developing predictive models using systems biology and machine learning computational biology to understand and manage the relationship between energy intake, macronutrients, micronutrients, physiological responses, health and diseases.

"Our researchers are committed to doing exceptional medical science and research that helps improve the lives of Australians and people around the world.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison

For Centres of Research Excellence (CRE), Dr Veronica Matthews of the University of Sydney School of Medicine and collaborative University Centre for Rural Health program has been awarded $2.5m for “STRengthening systems for InDigenous healthcare Equity”​ (STRIDE).

Dr Matthews is one of five Indigenous Chief Investigators leading the Centre of Research Excellence, ​aiming to strengthen quality of care delivery systems to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing​. The CRE is an Indigenous-led network of more than 360 people including community members, practitioners, researchers and policymakers.

Director of the University Centre for Rural Health, Professor Ross Bailie, said the Lismore-based CRE is pioneering rural and Indigenous health approaches. “The Indigenous leadership is a first for Sydney’s CREs… based in a country town, this is also a great boost for rural health research generally as we live and work with rural communities.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison said: “The quality and variety of projects awarded is testament to the leadership of our experts in medicine and related fields – congratulations everyone who received a grant in this round.

“I know our researchers are deeply committed to doing exceptional science and research that helps improve the lives of Australians and people around the world.”

A full list of grant recipients is available at on NHMRC’s website

Photo taken from the University of Sydney’s Broken Hill clinical school

University of Sydney NHMRC grants awarded

Professor Daniela Traini

Doctor Pengyi Yang

Doctor Tanvir Huda

Doctor Alice Gibson

Doctor James Wilmott

Doctor Catherine Bell

Professor Richard Payne

Doctor David Chan

Doctor Chameen Samarawickrama

Professor Shaun Jackson

Professor Janette Vardy

Professor Glenda Halliday

Professor Angela Webster

Professor John Rasko

Professor Luigi Fontana

Professor Anthony Cunningham

Doctor Emma Devenney

Associate Professor Ricky O’Brien

Professor Clara Chow

Dr Carissa Bonner

Professor Angela Webster

Adjunct Professor Alexandra Martiniuk

Professor Chris Maher

Dr Veronica Matthews

Professor Ian Hickie 

Vivienne Reiner

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