Review reinforces HMRI’s patient-focused research

Jun 4 2012

The State Government’s response to the release of the NSW Health and Medical Research Strategic Review 2012 has reinforced the Hunter Medical Research Institute’s commitment to delivering patient-centred research outcomes and collaborations.

The Hon Jillian Skinner, Minister for Health and Medical Research, announced the provision of a further $70 million over the next four years, supplementing the $200 million the Government already spends annually on health and medical research.

In welcoming the announcement, HMRI Director Michael Nilsson said the emphasis in the review on translation and collaboration was closely aligned with HMRI’s own strategic objectives.

“As an independent organisation linking the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health District and the community, HMRI is strongly positioned to translate basic research into clinical practice delivery and initiate national and international collaborations,” Professor Nilsson said.

“We are proud to play a role in making NSW the pre-eminent leader in medical research and, most importantly, research that translates into better health outcomes for the community.”

Professor Nilsson praised the Minister for committing to a four-year funding cycle, saying it would provide greater surety for future planning. “We have had single-year funding for the past three years so we welcome this as providing a roadmap for the future while we develop our own strategic plan,” he said.

“MRSP funding from the State Government allows us to build research capabilities and purchase critical equipment, which in turn ensures our researchers remain competitive in attracting national and international funding.”

HMRI currently has almost 1100 researchers working across seven key program areas that are structured to deliver translation. It is achieving patient outcomes in fields as diverse as stroke, asthma, diabetes and melanoma.

The University of Newcastle also applauded the commitment to high quality medical research demonstrated in the review and response.

“In a challenging budgetary climate, I am particularly happy to see a commitment of an additional $70 million over the next four years to fund key research and development initiatives, including the proposed Office for Health and Medical Research,” Professor Nicholas Talley, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University’s Faculty of Health, said.

“Together with its ongoing $200 million annual investment, the Government is recognising the strength of health and medical research in New South Wales and challenging the State to move to a position of national leadership in this field.”

More than 60 per cent of the University’s research is in the health and medical field, bringing together scientists under the umbrella of the Hunter Medical Research Institute.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Mike Calford said the review and the Government response were extremely positive for health and medical research in NSW.

“As Chairman of the review, Mr Peter Wills AC has demonstrated excellent leadership and produced far-reaching and achievable recommendations. I congratulate the Minister on the foresight that enabled the review and on the strong response to its recommendations,” Professor Calford said.

HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.