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$10.7 million to advance Australian neurological research

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Eight projects across six universities will share in $10.7 million in funding to advance new fields of neurological research.

Funded through the landmark Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said these projects had the potential to revolutionise how medical professionals tackle these conditions.

“The grants I am announcing today will give researchers the support and certainty to conduct their vital work,” Minister Hunt said.

“I am confident they will break new ground in diagnosing, treating and – ultimately – finding cures for these chronic neurological conditions.”

Professor Peter Anderson at Monash University will lead research focussing on preterm births, (two months early) and the developmental delays and impairments associated with the occurrence.

Right now, there is no system for monitoring the development of these children. In order to reduce the burden of developmental impairments in children born very preterm, research will help shape a follow-up program that is targeted to the individual needs of the child and family. Parents and health professionals with lived experience will have a significant role in designing the program.

A Griffith University team, led by Associate Professor Dawn Adams, will look at enhancing quality of life through early intervention co-developed with the autistic community. This project will focus less on skills and more on improving the child and family’s quality of life. Professor Adams’ team will partner with a number of organisations, including Reframing Autism, a health service, and others.

A University of Sydney team, led by Professor Clement Loy, will conduct a program entitled “We hear your voice!” This program, co-designed with consumers, will customise, evaluate and implement speech recognition technology, for people with chronic degenerative neurologic diseases. It will focus on older Australians with neurological disease.

The funding is provided under the MRFF 2021 Emerging Priorities and Consumer Driven Research Initiative. The Government has allocated a total of $613 million for the Initiative, which aims to support research that improves patient care and translation of new discoveries and encourage collaboration between consumers and researchers.

Funding from this Initiative will support the development of new diagnoses, treatments and cures, translate new discoveries into clinical practice, and continue to support research on addressing emerging priority health needs and areas of unmet need.

In addition, the Morrison Government has also announced $18 million for the 2022 Multiple Sclerosis Research Grant Opportunity across four streams of research with a focus on prevention, early intervention and/or treatment of Epstein-Barr virus and autoimmune conditions, including multiple sclerosis. This grant opportunity is currently open and further information can be found on Grant Connect.

The Government’s $20 billion MRFF is a long-term, sustainable investment in Australian health and medical research, helping to improve lives, build the economy and contribute to the sustainability of the health system.

Further information about the MRFF is available at

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