$12.2M federal funding boost for medical research

10 July 2018

Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced a $12.2 million contribution over three years from the federal government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to the Sydney Partnership for Health Education Research and Enterprise (SPHERE) and Sydney Health Partners (SHP).

Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network is one of the 14 leading organisations in both partnerships, which aim to connect research, education and health care delivery organisations to provide better health care for communities in NSW.   Other partners include local universities, research institutes and Local Health Districts.

SPHERE and Sydney Health Partners are the only two NHMRC accredited Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre (AHRTC) in NSW, and two of seven AHRTCs nationally. 

Sydney Health Partners was launched in 2015, and SPHERE, also known by its Dharug Indigenous name, Maridulu Budyari Gumal, in April 2017.

Since the foundation of SPHERE and SHP, a number of collaborative projects across the partner organisations have been established.  Professor Robyn Jamieson, head of genetic medicine at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, leads the genomic research theme for SHP, with the goal of realising the full potential of genomics across all of Sydney Health Partners’ organisations.

Another recipient of an MRFF/SHP grants is Associate Professor Nicholas Wood, who is leading a project into the efficacy and safety of vaccination in at risk pregnant women, and the impact on infant immune responses to vaccines.

During the last year, SPHERE has established 12 Clinical Academic Groups (CAGs) and key strategic programs to address major health challenges in areas such as Aboriginal health and wellbeing, reducing the impact of chronic disease in children and maternal, newborn and women’s health.  The focus is on translating research into clinical practice, an important part of Australia’s health and medical research policy.

Researchers and clinicians from Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network are involved in many of these CAGs, including:

  • Professor Adam Jaffe - Deputy leader for the Early Life Determinants of Health CAG
  • Dr Karen Zwi and Professor Raghu Lingham - Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing CAG
  • Professor Glenn Marshall and Professor Claire Wakefield - Kids to Adults – reducing the impact of chronic disease CAG
  • Associate Professor Nadine Kasparian - Co-lead for sub-theme Child and Adolescent wellbeing for the Neuroscience and Mental health CAG
  • Dr Nusrat Homaira - Respiratory, sleep, environmental and occupational health research
  • Professor Maria Craig and Professor Adam Jaffe - Triple I partnership CAG

The additional $6.1 million awarded to each partnership will significantly contribute to their mission to integrate outstanding research, top quality education and professional practices across partner organisations.  This in turn will lead to improved health outcomes, better healthcare delivery, economic benefits, and be a magnet for recruitment and retention of staff and investment in health and medical research.


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