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Australian Researchers Receive A$652M in New Funding from Government

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Australia is providing A$652 million (US$673.5 million) to fund 1,141 grants for medical research across the continent, Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek announced today.

The grants include funding for 'omics-related research and are being administered by the National Health and Medical Research Council. They address needs from basic science to research translation and support scientists through the early and mid-stages of their careers, NHMRC said.

"Patients depend on continued government investment to keep Australians healthy and reduce the incidence of disease and suffering," Plibersek said in a statement. "Because of this investment, medicines are our biggest research-intense goods export, and are helping to build a stronger, more competitive and more productive economy."

The funding round announced today supports grants that start in 2013 and include a A$1.2 million grant to researchers at the University of Western Australia for a project called, "The International Preterm Birth Genome Project (PGP): utilising Australian samples in a global project to identify genetic variants associated with early preterm birth."

Also, A$1.2 million is being provided to scientists at the University of New South Wales for a study called, "The pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, and pharmacogenomic outcomes of reduced dosage of efavirenz: the Encore1 study;" while researchers at the University of Melbourne will use A$1.0 million in funding for their project titled, "A twin study of breast cancer and epigenetics."

Several sequencing-based projects received funding as well. "Identification of glaucoma susceptibility variants by exome sequencing in extended pedigrees showing prior evidence of gene segregation," being led by researchers at the University of Tasmania, received a A$671,331 grant.

A project called "Gene identification for inherited peripheral neuropathies by applying next-generation sequencing," being conducted at the University of Sydney, received A$585,347 in funding, and researchers at the University of Western Australia will use a A$605,499 grant for a study titled, "Identifying novel susceptibility loci for osteoporosis through whole genome sequencing."

A complete list of the projects announced today is available here.

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