Researchers recognised for best team project

A team of leading Australian researchers has been recognised for its unique research program targeting Australia’s leading causes of death and disability  -– heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

These conditions are responsible for one-third of all deaths in Australia. They are also a major driver of the 12-year life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and non-indigenous Australians.

The program received the Excellence Award from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHRMC), having been ranked this year’s top application in the research program grant category, the Council’s largest and most prestigious research funding scheme.

“The Excellence Awards recognise and reward achievement in the highly competitive health and medical research field,” NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson said. Team members received their award at the NHMRC Council Dinner on November 27 in Canberra.

Program grant leader, Professor Stephen MacMahon of The George Institute for Global Health and The University of Sydney, says: “Our research program is a unique endeavour aimed at developing truly innovative strategies by which to prevent and treat heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes.”

“Our research is designed to provide highly reliable evidence that will directly inform strategies and policies for improving medical practice and public health in this country and many others.”

Professor MacMahon says the research will also evaluate new models of delivering health care, given  the increasingly unsustainable costs of current models.

“Our priority is to generate solutions that are scalable across the country to both urban and rural communities and to indigenous and non-indigenous communities. A major focus is on the development of strategies that will improve the care provided to disadvantaged communities quickly and affordably”.

The research program will begin in 2014 and continue for five years. It brings together researchers and specialists from several leading Sydney institutions, including The George Institute for Global Health, The University of Sydney, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Royal North Shore Hospital.

The team responsible for the research program includes Professors Craig Anderson, John Chalmers, Stephen MacMahon Bruce Neal, Anushka Patel, Vlado Perkovic, Anthony Rodgers and Mark Woodward. It is the second time this team has won the NHMRC’s annual Excellence Award in this category.