Stem Cells Australia receives additional $3M

Positioning Australian stem cell research for the future

Stem Cells Australia (including MIG's Kim-Anh Lê Cao) will receive additional funding from the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council to keep Australian science at the forefront of stem cell medicine internationally. This support will allow collaborative stem cell research across more than a dozen Australian universities and medical institutes to extend our fundamental understanding of stem cell science, ultimately leading to new ways to diagnose, understand and treat disease.

Stem cell science has been a key research strength within Australian biomedical research for many years. The Australian Government has long recognised the potential of stem cell research and for over 15 years has provided support, notably through the Australian Research Council.

Established in 2011 through the Australian Research Council’s Special Research Initiatives scheme, Stem Cells Australia has developed a sophisticated national network of over 300 researchers who are at the cutting edge of research into stem cells in development, physiology and disease as well as their social implications.

This network has generated significant research, training and commercial outcomes. These discoveries include the use of stem cells to understand how certain diseases develop which will ultimately lead to prevention or treatment. Stem Cells Australia has also been critical in training the next generation of Australian researchers with over 180 early career researchers engaged across the initiative.

The additional $3 million in funding provided by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council will allow Stem Cells Australia to draw on the strengths of the maturing initiative and to expand and target its scientific portfolio towards stem cell medical applications in Australia. The support will extend SCA activities until June 2019.

Commenting on this development, Program Leader of Stem Cells Australia Professor Melissa Little said, “We are very pleased to have the support of the Australian Research Council to transition Stem Cells Australia towards medical applications from stem cells. This additional funding will enable Australian stem cell researchers to improve disease diagnosis, develop new treatments and build new biotechnology applications based on stem cell biology”.

Five additional universities will join the initiative in 2018.

Professor Little added, “We welcome the addition of many new partners to Stem Cells Australia and are excited at the collaborative opportunities this funding will provide”.

Stem Cells Australia research will now focus on regenerative medicine, disease modelling and the development of designer cells, with each area based on a fundamental understanding of stem cell biology. The network will also continue to focus on the ethical, regulatory and social implications of stem cell science and how to best inform and engage with patients and the broader community.

This announcement allows stem cell research in Australia to remain at the forefront of stem cell medicine.