Australia's tropical medicine expertise to grow in 2018
29 January 2018
Thirteen medical researchers and projects tackling critical health issues across northern Australia are the latest to receive funding through the Coalition Government’s HOT NORTH program.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the HOT NORTH program – led by the Menzies School of Health Research – was funding research into the north’s most pressing health issues.
“These issues include vector-borne and emerging infectious diseases, particularly malaria, and skin health, chronic disease, anti-microbial resistance and respiratory health,” Minister Canavan said.
“It is great to see the Government’s $6 million investment in this program continuing to build a stronger tropical and medical research capacity in the north.”
Minister Canavan said the first HOT NORTH research grants and fellowships for this year were going to researchers from the Menzies School of Health Research, Telethon Kids Institute, James Cook University and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.
“These 13 new research projects add to more than 20 others already underway into health problems such as malaria, pneumonia, the spread of respiratory diseases, tuberculosis, diabetes and rheumatic heart disease in the Northern Territory and in nearby countries.
“I congratulate the latest researchers to join the HOT NORTH program.
“HOT NORTH is helping to build Australia’s reputation as a global leader in tropical medicine and to create a thriving community of researchers in the north who will make a real difference to the health of Australians and our regional neighbours into the future.
“This research is identifying emerging medical threats within the region and build local capacity to address them.”
Minister Canavan said innovation and research were keys to enhancing the north’s competitiveness.
“As well as building our research capacity in areas like tropical health and biosecurity, we are supporting researchers to commercialise new ideas, treatments and therapies, and to partner with international researchers and companies,” Minister Canavan said.
“Through initiatives like the CRC for Developing Northern Australia, we are also helping northern-based businesses and industry collaborate with researchers to generate new ideas and innovation that leverages the north’s strengths and address its challenges.”
NOTE FOR EDITORS
Established in 2017, the four-year HOT NORTH program will run until 2020, and brings eight of Australia’s leading medical research institutions together to focus on the north. It will provide $1.5 million each year to support 48 health research projects and more than25 fellowships and scholarships.
To date, the program has awarded $1.74 million worth of funding to health professionals, scientists and students, and will fund another seven pilot research projects totalling $256,000 in the second half of 2018.
About 25 per cent of the HOT NORTH support goes to our near neighbours in the South East Pacific, where Australia supports two medical research hubs in Malaysia and Indonesia, and a number of Australian researchers are collaborating with local health professionals.
HOT NORTH is also running professional teaching workshops in remote locations in the north, such as Katherine, Broome and the Torres Strait, so that northern tropical medicine experts and local health practitioners can share knowledge and ideas.
Visit https://www.industry.gov.au/strategies-for-the-future/northern-australia-agenda for more on the Australian Government’s work to support research and innovation in the north.
Read more about the Australian researchers working on HOT NORTH at www.menzies.edu.au/HOTNORTH
Media contacts: Minister Canavan's office 02 6277 7180