Author: BioMedVic

Announced: Australian Medical Cannabis Industry Development Strategy

Australia’s first ever Medical Cannabis Industry Development Strategy has today been unveiled, with its aim being to move the emerging Victorian medicinal cannabis industry into an established sector.

The strategy sets the goal of Victoria supplying half of Australia’s medicinal cannabis by 2028 and creating up to 500 jobs.

While visiting Monash Medical Centre today, Minister for Health Jill Hennessy and Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford also announced an expansion to Victoria’s early access scheme. The imported medicinal cannabis product which has already been offered to 29 children with severe intractable epilepsy will now be expanded to 60 children.

The Victorian Government also plans to offer Victoria’s locally produced product – when it is ready – to an additional 30 children.

Victoria’s scheme has already helped children see a reduction in seizures and has significantly improved their quality of life. Victoria was the first state in Australia to legalise access to medicinal cannabis for those in exceptional circumstances in 2016.

The signing of a landmark MOU between Agriculture Victoria and Canadian company Canopy Growth Corporation will focus on best approaches to strain development, cultivation, manufacturing and education.

Further details in the Victorian Government Press Release and the Industry Development Plan: Developing a Medicinal Cannabis Industry in Victoria 2018-21.

The Regenerative Medicine Industry Interface (RMI2)

BioMedVic is pleased to be a founding partner of the Regenerative Medicine Industry Interface (RMI2).

This consortium brings together

  • Basic and applied research capability (Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University, CSIRO, The University of Melbourne) together with industry and networking associations (BioMelbourne Network, BioMedVic, AusBiotech) and an international technology transfer hub in partnership with the regenerative medicine industry.
  • Access to high calibre research students through the Monash University Graduate Research Industry Program (GRIP) for PhD students and Monash University Business School for Executive MBA students.
  • Commercialisation expertise and international access through a satellite hub of the Centre for Commercialisation of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM).

RMI2 is an initiative of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) in partnership with Monash and Melbourne Universities, the BioMelbourne Network and Industry Partners, to progress opportunities in Australia through research excellence, highly skilled workforce and a globally connected platform for commercialisation and investment.

RMI2 is offering two industry-led PhD programs for potential students interested in working in regenerative medicine. See the ARMI website for more information.

Message from the CEO

“Oh the things you can find, if you don’t stay behind.”

This quote from Dr. Seuss speaks to leadership, progression and discovery – qualities that characterise Victoria’s health and medical research sector and will see it clear to become a global leader in innovation, to improve health and create wealth.

BioMedVic is the premier voice for linking medical research to clinical care in Victoria and as we wind down for the year, we reflect on much to be proud of.

We saw our advocacy platform bear fruit. BioMedVic assisted the Victorian Government to deliver almost $4 million of initiatives that support the state’s Victoria’s Health and Medical Research Strategy 2016-2020: the prestigious and valuable Victorian Health and Medical Research Fellowships and the transformative Medical Research Acceleration Fund awards. These initiatives responded to recommendations submitted by BioMedVic in response to Victorian Government discussion papers in 2015, and we are proud to see the collective vision of our Members reflected.

BioMedVic represents over 18,000 of Victoria’s 25,000-strong community of scientists and clinicians working in our member network of universities, academic hospitals, medical research institutes and CSIRO.

In 2017, BioMedVic’s Chair, George Morstyn, and I represented the diverse interests of these people and organisations in briefings to state and federal Ministers, ministerial advisors and senior leaders in key government departments.

BioMedVic’s opinion leader forums, the Scientific Advisory Council and the Hospital Research Directors Forum, exchanged knowledge and sector intelligence, and provided input into key Victorian Government committees, including the Science, Medical Research and Technology (SMaRT) Panel, the Digital Health Strategic Advisory Committee and the Ministerial Advisory Council addressing the Victorian health system design, service and infrastructure plan.

Also in 2017, we stimulated the research careers of 39 Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) scholars in partnership with CSL, the program’s Principal Sponsor, bringing the grand total of jobs facilitated through UROP to 649!

Collaboration is in Melbourne’s DNA.

This year, BioMedVic made sure this message was heard loud, clear and globally through the launch of the online research network map that showed Melbourne’s output and collaboration in high quality research in partnership with Nature Index.

We are proud of our 16-year history of facilitating collaboration in Victoria’s health and medical research sector, ensuring our sector shines to its full potential. I am confident BioMedVic’s work will continue to drive stronger research, employment, investment and growth for the future.

I sincerely thank you for your support this year and wish you all the best for the festive season, and hope that you return inspired for the New Year.

Jan Tennent

Spotlight on Melbourne’s life science collaboration

As we reflect on the year that was, BioMedVic warmly invites you to explore the key connections that are at the heart of Melbourne’s reputation as a City of Science and Innovation. We are excited to announce a new spotlight on life science research!

BioMedVic’s partner, Springer Nature, recently updated the Nature Index Melbourne Collaboration Map, by adding subject filters for life science, earth and environmental science, chemistry and physical science.

What exactly is the Nature Index Melbourne Collaboration Map?

The Nature Index Melbourne Collaboration Map is an online, interactive, updateable research network map which is powered by the Nature Index and sponsored by BioMedVic. It shows output and collaboration in high quality research between institutions in the greater Melbourne region.

The Nature Index tracks high-quality research and collaborations by measuring the contribution of institutions to a set of high-quality journals in the natural sciences. An institution’s contribution to these journals is its fractional count (FC), while article count (AC) is the number of an institution’s journal articles that appear in the Nature Index. Institutions are represented in their locations by circles on the map, with the size and colour of the circle representative of the institution’s FC.

When evaluating the collaborative effort between two institutions, a bilateral collaboration score (CS) is derived. This is sum of the FCs from articles with authors from both institutions. Local bilateral collaborations between institutions within the greater city area are represented by the lines on the map with the line thickness and colour representative of the strength of the collaboration, while the top international bilateral collaborations are listed in the popup box for each institution. The collaborations of child institutions that are part of a larger institution are shown as dashed lines. In most instances, only the primary location of an institution is mapped.

Not your average map

Confused at first glance? Below is a quick guide to help you find your way around the information presented on the Melbourne Collaboration Map.

All in the numbers

The Melbourne Collaboration Map puts publication data tracked by the Nature Index right at your fingertips. Here is what you can learn about your organisation:

Time to see how your organisation tracks! Explore the Melbourne Collaboration Map here.

Discount for Members

BioMedVic Members are reminded that they are entitled to a 10 per cent discount on job ads in Naturejobs including the job feed on the map. To list a job post, please contact Lisa Truong (lisa.truong@nature.com).

Applications Open – Premier’s Awards for Health and Medical Research

The Victorian Government has opened applications for the 24th Premier’s Awards for Health and Medical Research.

Awarded annually to recognise the exceptional contributions made by early career health and medical researchers in their PhD studies, the Premier’s Awards will be expanded to include five category awards in 2018:

  • Basic Science Researcher
  • Clinical Researcher
  • Aboriginal Researcher undertaking research in any field of health and medical research
  • Health Services Researcher
  • Public Health Researcher

The category award recipients receive $5,000 each and the Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research Excellence recipient receives $15,000 ($20,000 in total). The awards will be announced at an awards ceremony proposed for the end of March 2018.

Applications close Monday 22 January 2018. Apply here

Department home ground for medical researcher

Joanne Enticott’s stint as a researcher in residence in the Department of Health and Human Services was so successful she was invited to speak at the Biomedical Research Victoria (BioMedVic) annual general meeting.

Accompanied by her supervisor, principal policy advisor Jennifer Pitcher, Dr Enticott discussed the benefits of her time in DHHS’ office of health and medical research.

The Researcher in Residence program is the initiative of BioMedVic, the state’s leading network linking medical research to clinical care through its member universities, academic hospitals, medical research institutes, CSIRO and other research organisations.

BioMedVic’s vision is for the Victorian health and medical research sector to be a global leader in innovation, to improve health and create wealth.

The goals of the program are to:

•       Provide an opportunity for a postgraduate biomedical research scientist to gain an understanding of political and parliamentary processes;

•       Enable governments to receive background information and advice on current issues in health and medical research;

•       Establish ongoing, two-way, links with the health and medical research community.

Dr Enticott, a translational clinical research design specialist and biostatistician, has particular interest in health services research and mental health.

She spent a day a week at DHHS from early July to late November while continuing her usual work in Monash University’s Department of Psychiatry, supported by Monash Health.

During her time at the department, Dr Enticott assisted with health services research policy work – mapping Victorian bio-medical precinct stakeholders and major collaborations within the precincts – and provided a researcher perspective on a range of initiatives.

DHHS accessed Dr Enticott’s expertise, fostering additional links with universities and gaining a greater understanding of the work of a biomedical research scientist.

Dr Enticott told the BioMedVic AGM she valued being immersed within a Victorian government department and experienced first-hand the development of policy.

She said she had already recommended the Researcher in Residence program to others.

 

This article was originally published by the Department of Health & Human Services on the Health Victoria website.

Image: Researcher in Residence Joanne Enticott (left) and her DHHS supervisor Jennifer Pitcher (right).

Image credit: Department of Health & Human Services

 

Victorian Cancer Agency 2018 Early Career Health Services Research Fellowships – EOI now open

The Victorian Cancer Agency has opened expressions of interest for the Victorian Cancer Agency Early Career Health Services Research Fellowships.

The intention of this scheme is to fund early career researchers within cancer health services with a focus on building capacity within cancer health services research, improving the delivery of care for patients, improving patient outcomes and improving patient experience. It is expected that applications will align to the Victorian cancer plan 2016-2020 and/or the Cancer Reform Framework.

The scheme is open to medical, nursing and allied health practitioners, health economists, behavioural scientists, statisticians, bioinformaticians, epidemiologists and other disciplines conducting health services research in cancer.

Applications close 31 January.

More information, including guidelines, funding rules and a link to the application forms can be found on the Victorian Cancer Agency website: http://www.victoriancanceragency.org.au/index.php/2018funding-round

TRIP Fellowship Recipients announced

This month, the Minister for Health and Minister for Sport Greg Hunt announced the allocation of $3.94 million to the recipients of the Translating Research into Practice (TRIP) Fellowships, funded by the MRFF ($1.79 million) and NHMRC ($2.15 million).

Fellowship recipients will use the funds to work on a broad range of health issues, from suicide prevention to chronic kidney disease and to translate theory and laboratory work into improved health care practice and outcomes for patients.

Congratulations to BioMedVic Members Monash UniversityThe University of Melbourne and Deakin University for securing over $895,000 in this funding round.

Monash University

Chief Investigator: A/Prof Anita Wluka

Research Project: TreatOA4life (Treat OsteoArthritis4life) – a sustainable lifestyle treatment to improve outcomes in knee osteoarthritis ($179,118, NHMRC funded)

Chief Investigator: Dr Trisha Peel

Research Project: Optimising Patient Outcomes following Surgery: Improving Uptake of Evidence into Practice for Surgical Antimicrobial Prophylaxis ($179,118, NHMRC funded)

Chief Investigator: Dr Donna Urquhart

Research Project: Closing the evidence-practice gap with a highly innovative, patient-centred, decision-support program to guide narcotic use in chronic low back pain ($179,118, MRFF funded)

University of Melbourne

Chief Investigator: A/Prof Fiona Russell

Research Project: Implementing Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine in Pacific Island Countries ($179,118, NHMRC funded)

Deakin University

Chief Investigator: Dr Alison Beauchamp

Research Project: Closing the communication gap in chronic disease ($179,118, MRFF funded)

Guide to protecting your IP in China

This month, IP Australia released new resources for Australian businesses which outline the current IP situation in China.

The Guide to Protecting your IP in China provides an excellent front line resource for businesses. It contains the most important China IP messages in a single document, as well as links to further resources.

The Guide to searching the Chinese trade marks register aims to demystify the China trade mark registry. Bad faith trade mark filings continue to be a predominant IP issue facing Australian businesses and businesses are encouraged to register their trade marks in China as early as possible.

See the IP Australia China webpage for more information.

Inspiring Research Career Paths in Industry, Hospitals & Academia

Congratulations to our 2017 Round 2 cohort of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

BioMedVic warmly thank our colleagues who volunteered their time to participate on interviewing panels and commend every student who applied to this competitive employment scheme.

We continue to be delighted by the breadth of research organisations that chose to employ a talented undergraduate student through the UROP scheme. In this round, the UROP@BioMedVic office matched the best and brightest with industry, hospital, MRI and academic research teams – reflecting Victoria’s vibrant and diverse health and medical research community.

The students will carry out research projects for six to 18 months, for at least 8 hours a week, alongside their undergraduate coursework. We look forward to hearing about their progress at the UROP Conference Day next year.

We wish all UROPs the best of luck!

Read more about the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) here.