Glenn Turner, HMRI Chair

While we must maintain a focus on the economic potential of major innovation partnerships, the flip side of the medical research coin is project funding.

For every dollar invested, more than two dollars in wellbeing and productivity gains are generated. With the rising tide of precision and personalised medicine, there’s almost limitless potential to take this leveraging benefit even further.

But if we’re to capitalise on new commercial opportunities, steady and reliable funding sources are critical to our future growth.

At HMRI we remain strategically focussed on giving researchers the best possible tools and structures to enable new discoveries to be made. Our role and goal have evolved from seeding start-up studies to facilitating major collaborations between scientists, clinicians and public health professionals along the translational cycle of research.

Underpinned by community and corporate support, our team excels in pulling together multiple stakeholders … a fact best exemplified recently by the tale of two state-of-the-art microscopes.

With Glencore’s support (a long-term HMRI supporter), a $200,000 laser-equipped device was installed at the University of Newcastle to give brain researchers unparalleled insight into complex disorders such as depression, stress, addiction, chronic pain and balance dysfunction. As the first of its kind in Australia, it has already been instrumental in the submission of four federal project grants exceeding $2 million.

HMRI was also approached by three young biologists with a vision of hand-building a ‘light-sheet’ microscope at HMRI that delivers clear three-dimensional cellular images with unparalleled speed and precision. Where commercial versions cost up to $1 million, the trio assembled their unique device for just $70,000 using plans, parts and technical advice sourced from the internet and collaborators around the world.

HMRI Life Governor Jennie Thomas AM and the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation provided financial support for the light-sheet through HMRI.

A myriad of Hunter-grown research projects also reaped significant investment returns and milestones in 2015.

Potential flows from having the right people in the right place with the right equipment, creating an environment and culture where they can explore not just new avenues but also revenue opportunities.

We appreciate greatly the community’s ongoing support, it is very pleasing to be able to tell you the good we are achieving with it.

Mr Glenn Turner
Chair, HMRI Board