The NHMRC has announced almost $5 million in funding to establish a Centre for Research Excellence that will deliver a coordinated and evidence-based response to infectious diseases.
The Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Diseases Emergencies (APPRISE) will bring together Australia’s leading experts in clinical, laboratory and public health research to address the key components required for a rapid and effective emergency response to infectious diseases.
The Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases (GCEID), a multi-institutional partnership comprising Deakin University, Barwon Health and CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), will join a number of other strong research institutions from around Australia in the APPRISE network.
Director of GCEID, Professor Soren Alexandersen, was very pleased by the announcement that will see organisations like the Peter Doherty Institute, the Marie Bashir Institute, GCEID and other renowned research institutions working together.
[testimonial_text]GCEID’s participation in APPRISE provides us with the opportunity to have a national impact on Australia’s ‘one-health’ approach to understanding and mitigating the risks and impacts caused by infectious diseases.[/testimonial_text]
[testimonial_picture name=”Professor Soren Alexandersen” details=”Director, Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases”]
Dr Kurt Zuelke, Director of CSIRO’s AAHL, said he was “thrilled” that the GCEID partnership “will enable us to jointly deliver Geelong’s outstanding collective research infrastructure and capacity in emerging infectious diseases into this nationally coordinated APPRISE programme”.
“These co-ordinated national efforts further improve and strengthen the evidence base we use to inform our responses to future infectious disease emergencies,” he added.
Deakin Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Peter Hodgson was equally encouraged by the funding commitment, explaining that a national agenda for responding to infectious disease emergencies reinforced Deakin’s decision to invest in this area as a strategic priority.
“It has always been one of GCEID’s key objectives to build national and international partnerships to increase Australia’s capacity to respond more effectively to the physical, social and economic risks posed by emerging infectious diseases. This funding furthers the collaboration of the nation’s brightest minds in working towards a solution.”
GCEID is located within Barwon Health’s Education and Research precinct and the APPRISE announcement was a “great outcome,” for all involved, according to Barwon Health’s Chief Medical Officer Associate Professor Alastair Mah.
“Geelong is evolving, we are becoming a smart city and this partnership reinforces this shift,” he said.
“It will ultimately be positive for the economy of Geelong, health innovation in our region, and the wellbeing of Australians.”
Announcing the funding, NHMRC Chief Executive Officer, Professor Anne Kelso said the new Centre would play an important role in Australia’s readiness to respond to future pandemics and other infectious disease emergencies.
“History tells us that new infectious diseases will continue to emerge but that we cannot predict when, where or how. The purpose of this significant NHMRC grant is to establish national capability to respond rapidly when such threats do emerge by undertaking the research needed to inform the public health response,” Professor Kelso said.
The Centre for Research Excellence will be led by Professor Sharon Lewin of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), a joint venture between the University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital.