Researchers and scientists trying to tackle problems in health and medicine such as cancer, dementia and concussions in sport have been given a $125 million funding injection. Research into tropical diseases, mental health and indigenous health will also benefit from the 5-year federal funding package.
Greg Hunt awarded the funding to 110 projects and 232 researchers on Saturday 4 February 2017 in his first act as health minister.
Almost $40 million will be pumped into studying cancer, with Hunt insistent more needs to be done to combat the deadly disease.
“No country is doing better in the fight against cancer than Australia,” Hunt said. “Our survival rates are at world’s best.
“But we do know that more than 130,000 people are likely to be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year, tragically more than 47,000 will lose that battle in all likelihood.”
Joseph Trapani, a senior oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, said securing the 5-year deal was like striking gold.
“To do really big science, the sorts of discoveries that we are now rolling out to patients, takes long-term funding certainty,” he said. “We’re fortunate enough, we feel privileged that this is the fourth time we’ve received five years of funding, so this will take us through to 2022.”
Trapani is hopeful discoveries will flow from the funding.
“But many of these bigger, blue sky, collaborative projects really take a long time to get off the ground,” he said. “So the far-sightedness of the schemes like this are absolutely critical to these really big achievements coming through.”
Among the grants include $38.9 million for cancer, $30.5 million for dementia, $12.6 million for indigenous health, $9.7 million for mental health, $3.1 million for cardiovascular diseases, $1.47 million for injury, $958,000 for obesity, $392,000 for diabetes and $177,000 for arthritis-related illnesses.