Exceptional researchers in the fields of infectious disease, autoimmunity, chronic pain and Parkinson’s disease were among the Australian researchers honoured with National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Research Excellence Awards last night.
Speaking at the awards dinner, Professor Anne Kelso, CEO of NHMRC, said the award winners were among Australia’s most talented senior and emerging researchers.
"Each year NHMRC provides over $800 million in funding for health and medical research in Australia," Professor Kelso said. "Many of the awards were being presented to the individuals or team leaders who were ranked by expert peer reviewers at the top of the list of applications to each NHMRC grant scheme in 2016.
"The Australian health and medical research sector is very strong by international standards and competition for NHMRC funding is intense. So these awards recognise truly outstanding research and researchers. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of their research and its ultimate impact on health and wellbeing in Australia and around the world."
One of the award winners is Associate Professor James Ward who received the Rising Star Research Excellence Award for the top-ranked application by an Indigenous researcher in the Early Career Fellowship scheme. His research focuses on using health service and public health interventions to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with sexually transmissible infections, HIV and viral hepatitis.
Professor Carola Vinuesa is recognised twice, with her award for the top-ranked Project Grant application as well as the NHMRC Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship (Biomedical) for her research on the development of rogue antibodies that lead to autoimmune and allergic diseases.
The biennial NHMRC Outstanding Contribution Award was presented to Professor Jane Hall, honouring her longterm commitment to the fields of health economics and health services research, as a researcher, mentor and health policy advocate.
Dr Nikolajs Zeps is the recipient of the biennial NHMRC Ethics Award in recognition of his leadership in the development of ethics policies and standards, both within Australia and internationally.