Neuro research gets $22m boost

By Tanya Hollis
Wednesday, 27 March, 2002

A new $22 million collaboration has been established to commercialise Australian neuroscience research.

Headed by leading neuroscientist Prof Colin Masters, Neurosciences Australia Ltd is backed by $18 million over five years from the Federal government's Major National Research Facility initiative.

The group, which will be based at the University of Melbourne, has also attracted $4.5 million in funding from the Victorian government and will include the work of high level neuroscience groups in Sydney and Canberra, Masters said.

As chief scientific adviser, Masters said his role would be to assist the board of Neurosciences Australia to "develop the best possible strategies for commercialisation and research activities".

He said the objective of the new collaboration was similar to that of Neurosciences Victoria, initiated in 1999 with seed funding of $13.3 million from the Victorian government.

"The objective here is to promote some aspects of commercialisation of neuroscience in Australia and to discover new drugs that will be of benefit to people suffering neurodegenerative diseases," Masters said.

He said the new entity would co-exist and work concurrently with Neurosciences Victoria, with the expectation that other state-based collaborations would be formed underneath its national umbrella.

Neurosciences Australia, which was yet to be formally announced, was in the process of establishing priority areas, Masters said.

Masters is best known for his research into the cause and treatment of Alzheimer's and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and is Professor of Pathology at the University of Melbourne.

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