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Around the universities and research institutes

Cate Swannell
Med J Aust || doi: 10.5694/mja16.0205C3
Published online: 2 May 2016

The Australian Government has named the eight-member Australian Medical Research Advisory Board, which will advise on how funds from the Medical Research Future Fund will be distributed.

Professor Ian Frazer, co-developer of the human papillomavirus vaccine, has been appointed chairman of the Board, which will “develop the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy every 5 years, and associated Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities every 2 years, according to an Australian Government press release.

The Advisory Board will shortly begin a consultation to “distil the right strategic direction and priorities recommended for investment”.

Professor Frazer was immediate past Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director of Research of the Translational Research Institute. He is now Chair of the Translation Research Institute Foundation Board. He is President of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science and member of the Commonwealth Science Council. He is also Chairman of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation’s Medical Research Advisory Committee.

Other members of the board are:

Professor Peter Høj, Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Queensland. Before this, he was Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of South Australia; CEO of the Australian Research Council; and Managing Director of the Australian Wine Research Institute.

Professor Doug Hilton is president of The Association of Australian Medical Research Institute, Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, and Head of the Department of Medical Biology at The University of Melbourne. Throughout his career, Professor Hilton has been actively involved in the application of research through collaboration with industry and is an inventor on more than 20 patent families.

Professor Karen Reynolds is Director of the Medical Device Research Institute and the Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP), as well as Deputy Dean of the School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics at Flinders University. She established the MDPP to convene researchers, industry and end users of medical technologies, resulting in novel devices that improve diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients.

Dr Deborah Rathjen is the Managing Director of Bionomics Corporation, based in Thebarton, Adelaide. She began with a virtual company which has turned Bionomics into a notable Biotechnology/Biomedical firm with a $200 million market capitalisation. Her role in developing cancer treating drugs and other medications is a large contribution to Bionomics’ current success in the biotechnology market.

Mr Yasser El-Ansary is the Chief Executive of the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association where he is responsible for leading the strategic direction of the organisation’s work in representing the private equity and venture capital industry in Australia. He has almost 20 years’ experience as a business adviser and public policy expert, through his previous roles with PwC, Rio Tinto, Australand Property Group, as well as the Department of Treasury in Canberra.

Ms Jennifer Williams is the previous Chief Executive of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. Ms Williams has previously held the positions of Chief Executive Alfred Health, Chief Executive Austin Health, Director in the Department of Human Services (Victorian Government) and other senior management positions in the public and private sectors.

Professor Anne Kelso, AO, is CEO of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The CEO of the NRMRC will have a permanent seat on the Advisory Board to support coordination of approaches. With the exception of the CEO of the NHMRC, members are appointed for a period of up to 5 years.

  • Cate Swannell


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