Sydney researchers awarded over $22 million in MRFF grants

16 February 2024
Industry collaboration shaping medical innovation
Medical researchers from the University of Sydney have received funding from the Australian Government's Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to support research across 14 projects.

University of Sydney researchers from the Faculty of Medicine and Health have secured over $22 million in funding to support medical research across 14 projects, including opioid dependence treatment programs, advancing health care for cerebral palsy patients and increasing the liver donor pool through extended organ perfusion.

This was made possible through the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), which provides grant funding for clinical trials testing the effectiveness and safety of medical breakthroughs, improving health outcomes for Australians.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Emma Johnston congratulated the recipients, noting she was particularly pleased to see that the University of Sydney was awarded the largest number of grants in Australia under the Clinical Researchers Applied Research in Health scheme.  

“I’m thrilled that so many of our talented up-and-coming researchers, including from our new GP Clinical School, are being supported to uncover new discoveries and implement best practice care," said Professor Johnston.

“At Sydney, we are very focused on ensuring our research is translated to benefit society and I'm excited to see the progress these researchers will make to improve the lives of many.” 

A full list of the successful MRFF grant projects awarded are below. 

Clinician Researchers Applied Research in Health

Comparative trial on incubator humidity for preterm infant health 

Dr Pranav Jani and his team will expand upon their research to establish a world-first, pragmatic, randomised comparative effectiveness trial test. The testing will determine the impact of initial incubator humidity of 95% versus 80% to reduce hypernatremia, skin injury, sepsis and brain damage in extremely preterm infants. 

Total funding: $1,467,697 

Implementing safe, person-centred virtual care for aged care residents

Professor Meredith Makeham and team will further advance virtual care models for aged care residents through The General Practice and Residential Aged Care Study of Virtual Care Models (The Grace-VC Study).  

Total funding: $1,468,436 

Exploring peer-supported self-management for young people experiencing psychosis

Dr Alyssa Milton and team will expand on their research addressing the social and mental health needs and outcomes of people with significant mental health problems. The team will conduct a hybrid-II implementation-effectiveness trial of a peer-supported self-management tools for young people in preparation for early intervention in psychosis service discharge (MY PREP- ED). 

Total funding: $1,457,031 

Increasing the liver donor pool through extended organ perfusion

Associate Professor Carlo Pulitano and team are developing a perfusion system that can extend the survival of liver and kidney by up to 7 days. This long-term ex-vivo organ preservation is step 1 in creating the ability to evaluate, modify and optimize organs for transplantation.

Total funding: $1,188,244 

Developing an integrated care model for opioid dependence treatment

Dr Marguerite Tracy and team are creating and maintaining links for people in opioid dependence treatment programs with general practice care through LINK – A co-designed integrated care model. 

Total funding: $1,466,168

Equitable pathways and integrated care for patients with cerebral palsy

Associate Professor Susan Woolfenden and her team will further expand upon their research to evaluate a new program to reduce unmet social needs and improve health outcomes for children with cerebral palsy and their families. 

Total funding: $1,464,888 

Early to Mid-Career Researchers

Cutting-edge microtechnologies cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease assessment

Associate Professor Arnold Lining Ju and his team are developing personalised and portable Point-Of-Care Testing (POCT) microtechnologies for rapid thrombotic risk and anticoagulant dosage assessment in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. The research uses ancient Chinese movable type 3D printing.  

Total funding: $600,000 

Multimodal hub for patients undergoing major colorectal cancer surgery

Associate Professor Daniel Steffens and team will begin their PRIORITY-CONNECT 2 Trial. The clinical trial aims to determine the effectiveness of incorporating a virtual multimodal program for patients undergoing major colorectal cancer surgery. 

Total funding: $4,995,331 

Using AI to improve pediatric pneumonia care  

Dr Yue Wu and team will further expand their research in translating trustworthy causal artificial intelligence (AI) to improve decision-making and better health outcomes for children with pneumonia. 

Total funding: $469,078 

International Clinical Trial Collaborations  

Addressing acute rejection for kidney transplant recipients

Professor Germaine Wong and team will expand upon research to develop a multi-centre randomised controlled trial to treat acute T-cell mediated rejection in kidney and kidney pancreas transplant recipients (TACKLE-IT trial). 

Total funding: $2,731,060 

Chronic Respiratory Conditions

Technology-enhanced interventions to empower patients

Professor Bandana Saini and her team will continue dispensing patient empowerment and self-management skills through technology enabled interventions delivered by community pharmacists. 

Total funding: $1,998,235 

Consumer-Led Research

Increasing treatment options and quality of life in rare disease patients

Dr Ibrahim Tohidi Esfahani and his team with further expand on Waldenström's Macroglobulinemia patient-driven research and patient-derived data to increase knowledge of therapy options and quality of life in a rare disease. 

Total funding: $324,811 

Maternal Health and Healthy Lifestyles

Lifestyle programs for musculoskeletal pain in rural populations

Associate Professor Christopher Williams team will expand upon their HeLP-R trial, which focuses on the adaptation and implementation of an effective lifestyle program for musculoskeletal pain in rural populations. 

Total funding: $1,698,725

Related articles