BioMedVic celebrates twenty years of achievements

On Thursday 5th December 2019 BioMedVic gathered a crowd in the beautiful Treetops room at the Melbourne Museum to celebrate twenty years of biomedical achievements. At this warm reception, BioMedVic counted with the participation of key figures in the configuration of the health and medical sector who have shaped Melbourne’s vibrant and changing biomedical landscape.

Having decided that the best way to mark the “End of the BioMedVic Era” was by celebrating its achievements and those of the remarkable Victorian health and biomedical research community, we brought together key players of the last twenty years to celebrate, discuss and explore the past, present and future of biomedical research in the state.

The event started its narrative in 1999, when the Bio21 Cluster was created by the Bracks government as part of the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) initiative. Richard Larkins, Jane Niall, Stella Clark, Malcolm McConville and David Pennington shared their knowledge about the history behind the STI as a platform for promoting Victoria, the creation of the Bio21 Cluster and its transition to BioMedVic.

But to understand the importance and impact of past events, we knew we needed to acknowledge how far we have come today. Panel two discussed the current focus on the role of clinicians and patients, on the interplay between researchers and industry, and on the importance of the sector for economic growth. Ingrid Winship, Michael Parker and Andrew Cuthbertson gave a sector-wide perspective from different points of view, which were complemented by contributions from Katherine Locock, Celia Vandestadt and Avnika Ruparelia, participants of the successful and “life-changing” BioMedVic programs ‘Researcher in Residence’ and ‘UROP’.

Finally, we looked into the future and asked, “where will we be in 2040?”. Peter Rogers, Grant McArthur and Sam Forster discussed current sector trends in research highlighted the impact of strong leadership, strategic collaborations and international partnerships on Victoria’s future success.

We are certain that all guests appreciated learning more about the STI and the early days of BioMedVic.

The Forum was a great opportunity for BioMedVic to highlight its many achievements and celebrate its 20-year-long contribution to the biomedical research fabric across Victoria. Collaboration has always been at the heart of BioMedVic, so we couldn’t be prouder of delivering an event so aligned with this goal.

BioMedVic Chair Warwick Tong thanked everyone for attending and recognised the fabulous work of BioMedVic’s past and present staff over the years.

The event concluded with a toast to BioMedVic and to the future of biomedical research in Victoria!

(L-R): Warwick Tong, Jan Tennent, David Pennington, Jane Niall and Richard Larkins

2020 Premier’s Awards for Health and Medical Research

Applications are currently open for the 2020 Premier’s Awards for Health and Medical Research, recognising the exceptional contributions and capabilities of Victoria’s emerging early career researchers in their PhD studies.

Recipients of the Premier’s Awards for Health and Medical Research category awards receive $5,000 and an additional $15,000 is granted to the Premier’s Excellence award winner, receiving $20,000 in total prize money.

The five award categories include:

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

Key Dates:

  • Applications Open: 1 August 2019
  • Applications Close: 30 September 2019
  • Awards Ceremony: 23 March 2020

You can find more information regarding application requirements, eligibility and selection criteria here.

MDPP welcomes innovation applications

The Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) is an ideas incubator that supports inventors to turn their medical or assistive device ideas into proven concepts. It provides early stage development support to help de-risk, refine and develop ideas into commercially and technically viable prototypes. They do this by partnering clients with a community of experts including end-users and clinicians, manufacturers, service providers and world-class research partners and specialist facilities.

Founded by Flinders University, the program has now launched in Victoria with the support of Victoria’s Start-Up agency Launch Vic.

MDPP welcomes enquires from inventors and companies at any stage, but specialise in early-stage technical product development support. To apply visit

For more information, visit and

MDPP is also looking for people interested in supporting the innovations by offering their expertise at workshops and on clients’ projects. Anyone interested in participating should contact Matthew Richardson (R&D Manager), or Zoe Kristall (Innovations Manager)

MDPP arrives in Victoria

BioMedVic members engaged with medical device discovery and development will be excited to learn that the Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) has arrived in Victoria. Part of a national expansion, MDPP-Vic has been made possible thanks to the support from LaunchVic, the Victorian government agency for the advancement of the state’s start-up sector. MDPP will receive $2 million over two years to deliver the program in Victoria, which will officially launch in early 2019.

Sally McArthur, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Swinburne and CSIRO Research+ Science Leader in Biomedical Manufacturing, will be the Regional Director of MDPP in Victoria. The organisation is confident that the program will create opportunities, new ventures and employment for Victoria.

BioMedVic’s CEO Prof Jan Tennent is delighted to be a member of the MDPP Victorian Steering Committee, which includes representatives from five BioMedVic members: Swinburne University of Technology, CSIRO, The University of Melbourne, Monash University and RMIT University.

You can read more information here.


CEO’s Report

“2016/2017 has been a significant year for Biomedical Research Victoria and we can rightly be proud of what we have achieved. It is important that we remind ourselves of the key role BioMedVic plays as the premier voice for linking health and medical research to clinical care in Victoria. Our reach is significant and should not be underestimated.

BioMedVic embraces more than three quarters of Victoria’s 25,000 biomedical scientists and clinicians across universities, academic hospitals, medical research institutes, CSIRO and other organisations.”

– Prof Jan Tennent
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Congratulations Vic Gov Fellowship Recipients

The three recipients of the Victorian Health and Medical Research Fellowships were announced on July 19. The fellowships are intended to develop initiatives and strategies, leading to clinical or commercial outcomes in the areas of bioinformatics, genomics and/or health services research.

The three recipients are:

  • Dr Allison Milner, to develop initiatives and strategies, in association with workplaces and the business community, to reduce the incidence of mental health and rates of suicide in working age men by linking them into health services.
  • Dr Bernard Pope, to develop solutions to aid the early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer
  • Associate Professor Ilana Ackerman, to research how and why hip and knee replacements can sometimes fail, and develop methods to minimise it

Science Medical Research & Technology Panel Chair Brigitte Smith said “The three fellowships were selected from a quality field of more than 100 eligible applications, and went through a rigorous assessment and shortlisting process to prioritise the key research projects which we are confident will have a real and lasting impact on people’s health and wellbeing.”

BioMedVic is proud of the work it has been doing on behalf of the Victorian Government to roll out these fellowships. And we are now pleased to be supporting the DHHS with its roll out of the Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund.

Growing health services research in Victoria

BioMedVic continues to build relations and work in partnership with the Victorian Government on key topics for the state and sector. With the Victorian Cancer Agency and the Office of Health and Medical Research, BioMedVic recently conducted a joint workshop to identify strategies to build capacity in health services research (HSR) in Victoria.

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BioMedVic Advocacy Hits the Ground Running in 2017


As for many Australian organisations, December-January was a quieter period for BioMedVic. But our advocacy on behalf of Members continues.

Victorian Parliament resumed last week and most of our Members are ‘back in town’. Amanda Caples and I are in the diary to catch up about what’s happening in DEDJTR and at BioMedVic, to hear what her plans are as Lead Scientist for the state and in which areas BioMedVic may be of assistance. Among the topics I will raise when I meet with Linda Christine, Director Innovation, Industry and International Health in DHHS, is the future of the Operational Infrastructure Support Program that provides funding for indirect research costs to eligible independent medical research institutes in Victoria. Continue reading

New Fellowships a Boon for Victorian Researchers – and Patients

The year has kicked off with the launch of an exciting program aimed at developing the next generation of Victorian researchers, translating research to the clinic and boosting the state’s economy.

As the state’s leading network of health and medical research organisations, BioMedVic is delighted to be working with the Victorian Government to roll out the inaugural round of the Victorian Health and Medical Research Fellowships.
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It’s Our Time to Shine

biomed_research_vic_5069It’s time to celebrate – Victoria holds rank as Australia’s capital of health and biomedical research. But how will the sector evolve in 2017?

We recently learned that Victorian health and medical researchers, a majority from BioMedVic member organisations, secured over 40% of the NHMRC funding pie – and we celebrate this wonderful news wholeheartedly. Part of our success can be attributed to our well-established ability to work collaboratively in Victoria. One exemplar of this claim was the recent recognition of a longstanding collaboration between Jim McCluskey from the University of Melbourne and Jamie Rossjohn from Monash University. An international recognition was the Nature Index ranking Melbourne as one of the 10 centres around the world with the most intra-city research partnerships in 2015.

But we mustn’t rest on our laurels.

While it’s no secret that Melbourne thrives on collaborations and is inspired by innovation, we need to share not only our research infrastructure and skills, but our voice – particularly to government. A collaborative culture is needed to tackle the big challenges head-on, and to ensure our sector shines brightly and to its full potential. Because while we hear of grand political gestures, we need our combined expertise to come together to future-proof these plans.

BioMedVic has strong ties with the State Government which we use to advocate on behalf of our Members. We offer leadership in the sector and a robust connection to government decision-makers which withstands the pressures of short-term political cycles.

I want to remind Members that a collective voice is more powerful than that of any single member. This year, we saw just how powerful this voice can be.

In the run-up to the last state election, we met with policy makers from both parties, advocating for a long-term, well-coordinated Victorian innovation plan and suggested methods for establishing state-wide priorities and governance arrangements.

This year, we saw our advocacy platforms paying off with BioMedVic’s vision that Victoria become a global leader in health and medical innovation featuring in the Victorian Health and Medical Research Strategy 2016-2020. This strategy responded to many of the recommendations submitted by BioMedVic, and we are proud to see a collective vision of our Members reflected.

Like the Western Bulldogs, BioMedVic is going for back-to-back performance in 2017.

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

 Jan Tennent