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

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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

Strengthening Victoria’s relationships with Osaka

BioMedVic CEO Prof Jan Tennent bolstered international bridges for clinical research and trials this month, as she hosted a delegation from Osaka to discuss professional exchange opportunities abroad for Victoria’s clinicians and scientists. Continue reading

Victoria’s HMR sector set to grow

We’re excited to announce that Dr George Morstyn, Chairman of Biomedical Research Victoria, has been selected for a new panel established by the Victorian Government to advise on how to attract more investment and jobs to Victoria.

With the aim to drive leadership and excellence in Victorian health and medical research, the Science, Medical Research and Technology Panel will provide advice on attracting funding for medical research, protecting intellectual property, and the translation and commercialisation of research. Continue reading

All Eyes on Victoria at AusBiotech 2016

We’ve been busy in the lead up to the AusBiotech 2016 International BioFest conference this month, ensuring our researchers from academia and industry receive the attention they deserve. BioMedVic assisted the Victorian Government with the state’s presence at the event which attracted an estimated 2,000 delegates.

BioMedVic organised and managed the roster of the Victorian industry and research participants at the Government’s BioIndustry Exhibition booth.

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How to Split the Pie

coinsBring industry expertise to academia – this was the message I brought to Ian Frazer when he was in Melbourne recently with other members of the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board for a public consultation on the MRFF.

I recommended a portion of the Fund would be well spent on initiatives to embed colleagues with experience and a successful track record gained in industry into research. This suggestion was made rather than, or at least in addition to, the reverse – a call for increasing numbers of researchers to spend time in industry learning the ropes of commercialisation, which while admirable may take some considerable time to yield the results we hope for. The proposal was not surprising given my own experience and that of several BioMedVic Directors who can all attest to the two-way impact of building bridges between industry and academia, something BioMedVic has encouraged for some time. Continue reading