Greg Hunt announces funding for two new research centres

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Health minister Greg Hunt has announced $20 million in funding for two new medical research centres that will focus on producing rapid improvements in the prevention and treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Mr Hunt said the government will provide $10 million each for the new research centres as well as $18 million to support translational research projects.

The funding is drawn from the Government’s Medical Research Future Fund, under its Targeted Translation Research Accelerator, which is managed by MTPConnect.

Expressions of interest are now being sought by MTPConnect for the two research centres and also the first tranche of translational research projects, worth $6 million. There will be opportunities to fund translational research projects using the remaining $12 million in the future.

MTPConnect managing director and CEO, Dr Dan Grant, said the funding opportunities signal a new approach to boosting the translation and commercialisation of Australian research.

“This is a substantial and targeted injection of funding which will support whole-of-sector coordination to maximise the development and translation of specific, highly promising research projects,” said Dr Grant.

“To stimulate collaboration across industry, research and clinical organisations we’re allocating $20 million to support the establishment of two new Research Centres; one focused on diabetes-associated complications and the other on cardiovascular disease-associated complications and each funded for up to $10 million over four years.

“In a parallel program, we’re making available $18 million to support translational Research Projects that have the potential to transform diabetes and cardiovascular disease outcomes and reduce the burden of disease on patients, families and the community – with up to $6 million available in this first round.

“We’ll support eligible organisations seeking $200,000-$750,000 for up to 24 months who provide an in-kind contribution to the value of 50% of the funding requested to develop innovative preventative, diagnostic, therapeutic and disease management products and solutions for identified priorities associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The Diabetes Research Centre’s translational research, development and implementation science activities will seek to address three priority areas: diabetic kidney disease; peripheral neuropathy and diabetic foot syndrome; and, short term complications of hypoglycaemia and/or hyperglycaemic hyperosmolar syndrome (HHS) and ketoacidosis.

The priorities for the Cardiovascular Disease Research Centre are coronary artery disease (including angina and MACE); cardiomyopathy and heart failure; and, transient ischaemic attack (TIA) and stroke (ischaemic and haemorrhagic).

Minister Hunt said the new research funding will build on MTPConnect’s work with its partners - ANDHealth, Medical Device Partnering Program, and UniQuest - to help researchers put their diabetes and cardiovascular disease research results into clinical practice, through mentoring and commercialisation support.