Eight local medical researchers have been awarded a total of $865,000 in funding from the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation (CMRF) as part of their annual Major Project Grants round.
This year’s research areas include, Huntington’s Disease, cannabis use in pregnancy, stuttering in children, tuberculosis, mental health as well as prostate and breast cancer.
Foundation Director, Melissa Haberfield, says the team at CMRF are delighted that the annual grants process has been able to continue despite Covid-19 lockdowns, as a number of similar funding programmes have not. Researchers rely on securing funding to enable them to undertake their research projects. She says supporting Canterbury based health and wellbeing research is CMRFs reason for being.
“Being able to award these grant this year is testament to the hard work of our team and the dedication of our loyal supporters who have donated to fund these world class research projects” she says. “Research is incredibly important and shouldn’t stop because of things like Covid-19. In fact, it’s more important than ever.”
CMRF received the highest number of applications on record this year which illustrates the demand for health and medical research funding. All researchers are aligned with one of CMRF’s host institutions including University of Canterbury, University of Otago Christchurch and New Zealand Brain Research Institute.
The successful researchers are:
Dr Daniel Foley – Breast Cancer
Dr Vanessa Morris – Biochemistry
Dr Campbell Le Heron – Huntington’s Disease
Dr Jenni Manuel – Mental Health
Dr Timothy Allison – Tuberculosis
Dr Amy Osborne – Human Biology
Dr Catherine Theys – Child Health
Dr Elisabeth Phillips – Prostate Cancer
Ms Haberfield says several research programmes from prior funding rounds are already producing important findings and interim results.
The Canterbury Medical Research Foundation is a non-profit organisation focused on investing in world class research to achieve better health and well-being outcomes for our people through the prevention, treatment and ultimately the cure of life threatening and debilitating conditions.
Since it was established in 1960 by Sir Don Beaven, the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation has funded more than $30 million in research into some of the world’s most devastating conditions such as: cancer, cystic fibrosis, heart disease, bowel disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s to name a few. In order to continue to provide a meaningful level of research funding, the Foundation is reliant on the goodwill and financial support of generous individuals, trusts and businesses from around the Canterbury region and beyond.
An often-asked question at the outset of establishing the Foundation was why a small country with limited resources such as New Zealand, needed to engage in medical research, rather than simply avail itself of work carried out in London, Boston, Geneva and other leading cities of advanced learning? Don Beaven never tired of explaining that it was necessary to attract the best health professionals to provide the highest standard of patient care, and in addition to their clinical work, they would expect to be engaged in relevant research and teaching.
CMRF has a Foundation Director (Melissa Haberfield), Marketing and Communications Manager (Barbara Chapman) and a Finance Manager (Aleisha Woods). The Foundation board is chaired by Geoff Cranko and includes Mark Jordan, Simon Carey, Nichola Hiatt, Cameron Lacey, Professor Ian Wright, Ross Hutton, Dr Khoon Lim, Professor Gail Gillon, Julie Patterson and CMRF Patron Sir Robert Stewart KNZM
The hard work of successive executive committees and the generous support of the people of Canterbury have contributed to the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation’s outstanding success, which 60 years later has investments in excess of $14 million and is able to award research grants in the order of $1 million, annually.
There are currently more than 37 research projects underway.