Grants reform good news for cardiovascular research

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The Heart Foundation has supported the National Health and Medical Research Council's move to reform its Grants Program by improving the efficiency of grants' assessment and awards and optimising investment to support teams of researchers focused on major health burdens such as cardiovascular disease.

The Heart Foundation today welcomed the NHMRC’s actions to reform its Grants Program to optimise investment in health and medical research and ensure the best possible outcomes.

Heart Foundation Chief Medical Advisor Professor Garry Jennings said that the review, as well as the government’s initiatives in health and medical research, were encouraging.

“These initiatives will support teams of researchers addressing major health burdens such as cardiovascular disease while at the same time increasing the efficiency of the grant assessment and awards machinery,” he said.

“At the Heart Foundation we focus on supporting early to mid-career researchers and recognise there is a growing shortfall in capacity of cardiovascular researchers, particularly in this group.

“Cardiovascular research is an important area which is already suffering reduced capacity despite the scale of the burden of heart disease on the community.

 “Heart disease remains the single biggest killer of all Australians with 19,777 deaths caused by the disease in 2015. Heart disease was also a factor in nearly one in five deaths in 2015.”

“The problem of heart disease is far from ‘solved’, although research such as that funded by these grants will help make significant inroads.”

In February, The Heart Foundation also announced a first-of-its-kind grant of over $5 million for research into the prevention of stroke.

“This grant comes in addition to the $17.5 million we are already investing in heart research this year,” added Prof Jennings.

“The Heart Foundation is the largest non-government funder of cardiovascular disease research in Australia, and since 1962 we have proudly invested nearly $560 million (in today's value) in cardiovascular research,” he said.

This ongoing investment has led to important breakthroughs in understanding the causes of heart disease and helped to develop treatment, management, and prevention strategies that support individuals and whole populations to reduce their risk of poor cardiovascular health.

“We’re supportive of any reforms that help cardiovascular researchers to focus on doing what they do best – helping to improve the heart health of all Australians.”

Media contact: Tina Wall 0427 591 638

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