April newsletter

Welcome to the April newsletter. In this edition:

  • A message from our President
  • Statement ahead of the Federal Election
  • Climate change and health statement
  • Allied Health Life as a Clinician-Scientist symposium
  • Sector news and opportunities
  • Congratulations
  • Staying in touch

A message from our President

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, health and medical research has been in the global spotlight. As we head towards a federal election in May, it is vital that our leaders continue to understand the crucial importance of health and medical sciences by seriously investing in innovation, research and technology that will protect all Australians against future pandemics and other health challenges deriving from the impact of climate change, among a myriad of issues.

To that end, the Academy has released a pre-election statement outlining our vision for maximising the impact of health and medical research in Australia. Read the full statement on our website or watch a recording of the event. The Academy also provided a breakdown of health and medical research spending in the 2022-23 Federal Budget, which you can also read on our website.

Earlier this month, the Academy launched our statement on climate change and health, Climate change: an urgent health priorityat an online event featuring Fellows Professor Warwick Anderson FAHA FASSA FAHMS, Professor Peter Doherty AC FRS FAA FAHMS, Professor Fiona Stanley AC FASSA FAHMS (Hon) and Professor Ian Anderson AO FASSA FAHMSClimate change represents the greatest health challenge of the 21st century and we urge all political leaders to consider this as they approach the election. Access the statement online.

I am delighted that on 10 May 2022, we will see the Academy host our second Allied Health Life as a Clinician-Scientist symposium. Featuring some of Australia’s leading allied health clinician-scientists, this free online event will explore career pathways and provide inspiration for early career researchers and allied health clinicians. I encourage you to share this free event with your networks.

Nominations close at the end of the month for the Jian Zhou Medal. Awarded annually to an individual who has made a significant impact in biomedical health and science in Australia, the award is open to individuals within 15 years of achieving their PhD, or equivalent first research higher degree. If you know a rising star in Australian health and medical sciences, I urge you to nominate them soon, as nominations close on 30 April – find out more on our Awards page.

Finally, it is with pleasure I note that Maeve’s Law enabling mitochondrial donation was passed by the Australian Senate on 30 March 2022. The Academy has supported this endeavour, along with Mito Foundation, The Australian Academy of Science, Australian Genomics, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and others. We recognise the life-changing hope it gives families impacted by mitochondrial diseases to have healthy children.

Best wishes,

Professor Ingrid Scheffer AO FRS FAA PresAHMS

Forthcoming events

On 10 May, join the 2022 Allied Health Life as a Clinician-Scientist symposium. This popular event returns in an online format featuring leading allied health clinician-scientists, including Dr Anne-marie Boxall, Chief Allied Health Officer, Australian Government; Professor Sue Berney, Manager, Physiotherapy Austin Hospital; Associate Professor Vinicius Cavalheri, Associate Professor, Curtin School of Allied Health; Dr Lauren Christie, Senior Implementation Science Research Fellow-Allied Health at St Vincent’s Health Network Sydney; and Professor Nick Taylor, Professor of Physiotherapy, La Trobe University. Register on our event page.

On 16 May, join a panel discussion and free screening of the documentary Picture a Scientist, which will be simultaneously screened at the University of Sydney, Queensland University of Technology, The Australian Academy of Science, The University of Queensland, and Swinburne University of Technology. The film explores the stories of several women who are changing the way society views scientists and the panel discussion is focused on how to make science more diverse, equitable and open to all. Register for the University of Sydney screening and live panel or email [email protected] for details of screenings across Australia.



Sector news and opportunities

The BIOTech Futures Challenge 2022, hosted by the Australian Research Council Training Centre for Innovative BioEngineering, is seeking mentors to work with high school students to inspire the next generation of young scientists. Mentors in this program guide one or several teams of students on an innovative project related to the mentor’s area of expertise, with teams conducting research and sharing their findings at a short presentation at an end-of-year symposium. Find out more by contacting [email protected] or register as a mentor by 22 April.

The WA Premier’s Science Awards and WA Science Hall of Fame award nominations close 26 April. Find out more about eligibility and how to nominate via the Western Australian Science Hall of Fame.

Nominations are now open for the Australian Academy of Science’s 2023 honorific awards, research conferences, research awards and travelling fellowships. Awards recognise achievements in research fields including Earth sciences, biology, physics, mathematics, chemistry, biomedicine and more at early, mid and career level. Honorific award nominations close 1 MayApply now.

Nominations for the annual APEC SciencePrizefor Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE) prize, valued at US$25,000 (approximately A$33,000 – $35,000), are now open. ASPIRE recognises young scientists from APEC economies who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in scientific research and cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies. Nominations close 9 MayLearn more on the Australian Academy of Science website.

Nominations are now open for the 2022 South Australian Science Excellence and Innovation Awards. The awards recognise South Australians with outstanding achievements in the fields of science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM). Nominations close 24 May. Learn more online.


Professor Kathryn North has been appointed chair of a new Federal agency, Genomics Australia, to support integration of genomic medicine as a standard of healthcare in Australia and ensure Australia is a world leader in the research, development and use of genomic medicine.

Professor Maree Teesoon has been appointed chair of the Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission, a Federal Government initiative to guide research into mental health. Professor Helen Christensen has also been appointed to the expert advisory panel.

Several Academy Fellows were honoured at the recent NHMRC Awards. Congratulations to Professor Louise Baur, Professor Clare Collins, Professor Dale Godfrey, Professor Melissa Little, Professor Andrew Roberts  and all the impressive recipients of the NHMRC 2021 Research Excellence Awards. Learn more about the recipients and their work.

Associate Member Jeroen Hendriks has been selected for induction into the 2022 Sigma Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame.

Fellows in the news

Professor Fran Baum co-authored an editorial for The Medical Journal of Australia on the influence of socio-economic conditions on the epidemiology of COVID-19 in Australia.

Professor Andrew Whitehouse spoke to ABC Sydney radio about autism acceptance.

Professor Fiona Stanley wrote about climate change as a health challenge for future generations in The Guardian.

Professor Warwick Anderson spoke to AAP and The Limbic about the Academy’s recent statement on climate change and health.

Professor Fran Baum was quoted in Cosmos daily news about the impacts of climate change on health and health equity.

Professor Georgina Long interviewed on The Morning Show about melanoma.

Professor Tony Cunningham was quoted in Brisbane Times on the effectiveness of a fourth vaccine dose in protecting against the effects of COVID-19.

Professor Brendan Crabb was quoted in the West Australian about tuberculosis ahead of World TB Day. Professor Crabb also discussed tuberculosis on ABC Radio National’s Breakfast program. He also spoke to The Australian regarding COVID-19 fears in winter.

Professor Stephen Duckett discussed healthcare worker burnout on Croakey, and on out-of-pocket healthcare costs on ABC’s Health Report with Norman Swan. He also wrote about universal dental care for the Grattan Institute and published an opinion piece on the Federal Budget for The Conversation, and was quoted in The Brisbane Times on Labor’s plan to trial bulk-billed urgent care clinics.

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