14 July 2016
News Category: 

Australia’s only comprehensive stroke program looking at saving brain after stroke has been awarded the highest ranked Program Grant application in 2015 at the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) Research Excellence Awards.

The awards, which recognise Australia’s very best minds in medical research and science, are presented to the top-ranked applicants across the NHMRC’s funding schemes.

In March 2016, Professor Steve Davis, Director of the Melbourne Brain Centre and Neurology at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and University of Melbourne, together with Professor Geoffrey Donnan at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and other collaborators from around Australia, received a NHMRC program grant of $13.7 million for saving brain and changing practice in stroke over five years (2016 – 2020).

Professor Davis said it was an honour to receive the highest ranked NMHRC program grant as voted by his peers as meeting the highest national and international standards for their research.

“Stroke is a massive global problem, the second leading cause of death worldwide and a leading cause of disability,” Professor Davis said.

“This award acknowledges the vital importance of research into stroke that aids brain recovery and helps further stroke rehabilitation,” Professor Davis said.

“The research strives to test stroke treatments in a pre-hospital setting with Ambulance Victoria using Australia's first mobile CT scanner, to develop new acute stroke therapies, enhance and better understand brain recovery and develop better stroke systems in urban and rural Australia.

“Together with my colleagues, we are determined to tackle the issue of how can we treat stroke faster, use more advanced brain imaging and increase the uptake of available stroke treatments.”

The saving brain and changing practice in stroke program is a five year program involving some of the greatest minds in stroke research across Australia. The collaborative includes The Royal Melbourne Hospital and The University of Melbourne (Professor Steve Davis and Associate Professor Bruce Campbell), the Florey (Professor Geoffrey Donnan), University of Western Australia (Professor Graham Hankey), John Hunter Hospital and the University of Newcastle (Professor Mark Parsons, Professor Christopher Levi).

Professor Davis added the program funding received from the NHMRC and the Australian Government was testament to the outstanding stroke specialists and medical researchers we have in Australia.

“We have some of the world’s eminent stroke medical researchers working on this program of research and we are all determined to give stroke patients the best chance of recovery and survival,” Professor Davis said.”

The Royal Melbourne treats approximately 600 ischemic stroke patients a year and is one of the few stroke centres in the world to treat patients within 20 minutes of arriving in the emergency department.

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