$50 million boost for collaborative health and medical research


The Australian Government is investing $50 million through this year’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Synergy Grants in 10 research projects in which experts from different disciplines will collaborate to solve health problems.

Each research team will receive a $5 million grant to fund their research into a major question in human health. Among those selected this year are a project that seeks to eliminate malaria and another that aims to advance brain cancer treatment for children.

For other projects funded through this announcement:

  • Professor Ricky O’Brien from RMIT University will lead a team of Australian experts in cardiology, radiation oncology, engineering, data science, physics and medical device development to prototype and build novel medical devices to safely treat patients using high doses of radiation
  • Professor Sharon Naismith from the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney will lead a team developing digital health technologies for assessing, tracking and treating sleep disturbances in the community
  • Associate Professor Coral Gartner from The University of Queensland and team will examine promising new approaches to reducing smoking in Australia using methods from epidemiology and applied statistics, health policy, law, the social sciences and economics.

The Synergy Grant scheme is designed to support highly collaborative teams of diverse researchers to solve problems in any area of human health, from discovery through to translation.

In addition to the Synergy Grants announced today, the Australian Government will invest in research infrastructure of research institutes across Australia by providing:

  • $23.1 million to contribute to research infrastructure costs for 23 medical research institutes through the Independent Research Institutes Infrastructure Support Scheme (IRIISS)
  • $5.7 million for 44 grants for the procurement of equipment to support the highest quality health and medical research.

Chief investigator


Administering Institution

Professor Ricky O’Brien

Reducing the impact of radiation on the heart for cancer and cardiac disease patients

RMIT University

Professor Glenn Marshall

Improving outcomes for high-risk child and adolescent cancer: from discovery to individualised treatment within a consumer partnership

University of New South Wales

Professor James Beeson

Accelerating to zero: targeting roadblocks to achieve malaria elimination

Burnet Institute

Professor Sharon Naismith

Synergise, Integrate and Enhance Sleep Research to Transform Brain Ageing (SIESTA)

University of Sydney

Associate Professor Francis Mitrou

Improving Aboriginal health by understanding the influence of early life environments and contacts with health and social service systems over time and across generations

University of Western Australia

Professor Maria Kavallaris

Advancing the treatment of brain cancer in children

University of New South Wales

Associate Professor Tamara Mackean

How can health districts and networks cultivate anti-racist hospitals?

University of New South Wales

Professor Jose Polo

Using complex models of human trophoblast to study placental biology and disease

The University of Adelaide

Associate Professor Coral Gartner

The Interdisciplinary Tobacco Endgame Research Network (INTER-Net)

The University of Queensland

Professor Ian Hickie

Rhythms and blues: Personalising care for body clock dysfunction in mood disorders

University of Sydney

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