$14M NHMRC funding boost for kids’ research

14 September 2021
Grant success

Researchers at Kids Research, with our university partners University of Sydney and University of New South Wales, have today been awarded over $14.9 million in National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding.

Announced by Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, the grants will help to further research into a range of childhood conditions and diseases, including childhood and adolescent obesity, neurological autoimmune disorders, rare genetic disorders and antibiotic-resistant infections.

Research into ways to maximise health and wellbeing for children with serious illness and into how to improve antimicrobial use to reduce harm in children will also benefit from the funding.

Director of Research, Prof Chris Cowell, said the grants are a significant investment in the future health of not only sick children, but children right across the community.

“These grants are highly competitive and to see so many projects involving SCHN investigators awarded funding is a fantastic display of the difference our teams are making to improve the health for children and families right across the country,” Prof Cowell said.

The researchers who were awarded funding in this year’s NHMRC grants include:

Investigator grants

  • Prof Louise Baur – Leadership 3 - $1,750,000 - Transforming the prevention and treatment of child and adolescent obesity
    With this grant, Prof Baur will lead an interdisciplinary program of research in preventing obesity in childhood and providing safe, effective treatments to children and adolescents living with obesity. The work will result in recommendations for targeting early childhood obesity prevention, personalised approaches to obesity treatment and models of care and costings for paediatric obesity treatment in Australia.
  • Claire Wakefield – Leadership 1 - $2,248,555 - Maximising health and wellbeing for children with serious illness in countries with the most, through to the least, resources.   
    This grant will see Claire use a suite of interventions, coupled with new guidance for professionals, to improve quality of life, physical activity and diet in children with serious illness and their families.
  • Sudarshini Ramanathan – Emerging Leadership 2 - $1,551,689 – Defining pathogenic mechanisms to improve diagnosis and treatment of antibody-associated neurological disorders
    Dr Ramanathan was awarded this NHMRC Investigator Grant to lead a translational research program in neuroimmunology which encompasses basic science discovery to improve our fundamental understanding of how and why neurological autoimmunity occurs, and clinical research to develop guidelines that will change the way we diagnose and treat patients with reversible brain injury who otherwise risk chronic disability.
  • Ameneh Khatami – Emerging Leadership 1 - $570,592 – Phage Therapy – a novel solution for difficult-to-treat infections in children
    The goal of this research program is to establish phage therapy in paediatrics within a framework of approved indications, offering new opportunities to treat otherwise untreatable infections and to prevent drug-resistance emerging in patients with repeated antibiotic exposure
  • Elizabeth Palmer – Emerging Leadership 1 - $390,444 - Gene2Care: a comprehensive program of research to revolutionise care for children with rare genetic conditions
    The co-development and evaluation of a program of clinical research designed to understand how to deliver excellent, acceptable, equitable and sustainable care and support to children with rare genetic disorders and improve their, and their families, health and wellbeing.
  • Brendan McMullan – Emerging Leadership 1 - $450,370 - Improving antimicrobial use and reducing harms in children
    This grant will support improvements in antimicrobial use and reduce harms for children through a research-led improvement program.
  • Dr Sanjay Jayasinghe – Emerging Leadership 1 - $450,370 – Research generating evidence to optimist pneumococcal disease prevention
    This research program aims to develop an in-depth understanding of various streptococcus pneumoniae infections including impact of antibiotic resistance and other respiratory infections such as COVID-19 and influenza to inform practice and policy relating to its surveillance and optimizing prevention using vaccinations during COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Centre of Research Excellence grants

  • Louise Baur (CIA) - $2,500,000 – Centre of Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood – Translate (EPOCH-Translate)
  • Allison Tong (CIA) - $2,500,000 – Centre of Research Excellence: Partnering with patients with chronic kidney disease to transform care and outcomes (CRE-PACT)
  • Ingrid Scheffer (CIA, University of Melbourne), Elizabeth Palmer (CIC) and Claire Wakefield (CID)  - $2,500,000 – Centre for Research Excellence in Developmental and Epileptic Encephalopathies

Congratulations to all the researchers across the Network who were successful in securing research grants this year.

Read more on the NHMRC website

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