The Bottom Line

That said, I think we will need to prepare for the message that governments are here to help…but only so far and, arguably, in favour of organisations with access to considerable financial resources. With the trend toward government funding models that require minimum (and sometimes multiple) cash co-contributions from applicants, some publicly-funded research organisations replete with world-class expertise and innovation potential may struggle to be successful in the competition for such funds.

Monday 25th April saw CSL officially celebrate 100 Years of Operation. From modest beginnings in 1916 as a branch of an Australian Government Quarantine Department, CSL is now Australia’s largest and most successful biotechnology company, proudly headquartered in Melbourne where it also conducts significant amounts of advanced manufacturing and R&D. With more celebratory events to come during the year, CSL marked this momentous achievement with an extraordinary gift to the future of innovation and medical research in this country. Establishment of the $25 million CSL Centenary Fellowship program will support mid-career Australian scientists to pursue early stage and translational research with a focus on rare and serious diseases, immunology and inflammation. Two five-year fellowships will be awarded each calendar year, for ten years. The total value of each award will be $1.25 million, paid in annual instalments of $250,000.
Such a generous birthday present to Australia’s medical research community from CSL reflecting the company’s commitment to fostering the next generation of medical researchers. And, after 100 years, do you know the best bit? CSL is just getting started.

We were delighted to welcome Mr Andrew Wear to the April 7th meeting of the Scientific Advisory Council. As Director of MedTech and Pharmaceuticals Sector Development & Programs within the Victorian Government’s Department of Economic Development (DEDJTR), Andrew was well placed to present details and answer questions about the Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Sector Plan and the underpinning Sector Growth Program announced by the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Minister for Industry, on March 17th.

Recognising Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals as having the potential to drive significant jobs growth and attract investment into the future, the Victorian Government has committed to working with the sector to develop a Victorian MedTech collaborative initiative to accelerate the development of solutions to clinical problems. I was pleased to have been asked to deliver two MedTech problem definition workshops with experienced academic, clinical and industry representatives and am now working with Andrew and his team on the next phases of this important project.

Looking ahead to May and June, we’ve got several BioMedVic member events coming up including the Hospital Research Director’s Forum, Victorian Clinician Researcher Network professional development, two VPTN industry engagements and a host of UROP matching meetings. Plus, we also anticipate the long-awaited release of the Victorian Government’s Health and Medical Research Strategy.

Did I say… it’s never been a more exciting time to be in medical research!

Jan Tennent


27 April 2016