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Australia research funding 2020: Successful applicants for NHMRC $3m Targeted Call for Research announced

Discussion in 'BioMedical ME/CFS News' started by Simone, Oct 7, 2020.

  1. Simone

    Simone Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The successful applicants for Australia’s $3m ME/CFS Targeted Call for Research (TCR) have been announced.

    The successful projects:

    Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik
    Griffith University
    Grant: $1.46m
    Project title: Ion channel dysfunction in the pathophysiology of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: diagnostic biomarkers, therapeutic targets and treatments

    Professor Ken Walder
    Deakin University
    Grant: $1.08m
    Project title: Using ‘omics to unravel the pathophysiology and repurpose drugs to treat ME/CFS

    Professor Paul Gooley
    University of Melbourne
    Grant: $784,000
    Project title: Exploring the role of nitrogen metabolism, energy metabolism and mitochondrial function in the pathophysiological mechanisms of paediatric ME/CFS

    https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/file/15682...o_jbj1kGWp4yXmLEoAMtmQlZcRk_pbe5St1hUaXfetoyE

    Background:
    The TCR was a key recommendation of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) ME/CFS Advisory Committee, whose report was released last year. The committee recommended that the government prioritise funding into the pathophysiology, which these three projects do.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2020
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  2. Hutan

    Hutan Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm pretty happy with those projects - at the very least no CBT, or analysis of predisposing personalities, or investigation of whether an online samba dancing protocol will get those ME/CFS patients moving. Sadly A$3 million doesn't go far.

    Some here might be disappointed to see Griffith University scoop up scarce research funds yet again - but it's probably time for their theories to be tested at scale. Hopefully, by the end of this project, we'll know for sure whether there's something to their ideas.

    What is Emerge thinking about the selection @Simone?
     
    Michelle, Grigor, alktipping and 14 others like this.
  3. Simone

    Simone Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Overall, we’re pretty happy with the projects chosen. No psychosocial projects were funded, which was the major concern, so that’s terrific. There were one or two others which we would have liked to see funded, but this is a good use of the funding. And, as you say, $3m just doesn’t go far enough!

    And at the end of the projects, hopefully we will have a better idea of whether there is anything to support the two hypotheses which will be tested. And it’s great to have another ‘omics team in Australia too. Hopefully this will spark more collaboration.

    Emerge has relationships with all these research groups, so we’re looking forward to supporting these projects.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2020
  4. Simone

    Simone Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    In case anyone is unfamiliar with some of the names:

    Ken Walder has collaborated with Michael Maes and Michael Berk on ME/CFS work in the past. Michael Berk is also involved in this project.

    Paul Gooley’s project will test Chris Armstrong’s nitrogen hypothesis (which Chris also received a grant to study through OMF). Chris will be involved with this project.
     
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  5. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Statistical power, come on down.
     
    Michelle, merylg, Simone and 10 others like this.
  6. Andy

    Andy Committee Member (& Outreach when energy allows)

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    But they've used results from 7 (I think it was) patients, tested using "the gold standard", previously to make claims about the entire patient population, why do they need to test more???

    Apart from that snark, many thanks to all involved in trying to ensure the money went to as high standard research as possible, it's good to know that patients were involved at the heart of the process.
     
  7. Simone

    Simone Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    One of the good things about the TCR was that NHMRC required applicants to show how patients would be involved in their projects. This meant that several research groups approached Emerge Australia either for input and feedback on their applications or to discuss how patients could be more formally involved. Some research groups also had patient committees established or had planned to do so should their projects get funded.

    Historically, we haven’t had much patient involvement in ME/CFS research in Australia, so this has been a good step too.
     
  8. Michiel Tack

    Michiel Tack Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Sorry if this is a stupid question but: are those amounts Australian or US dollars?
     
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  9. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Australian dollars.
     
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  10. Michiel Tack

    Michiel Tack Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thanks. So given that the current exchange rate is 0.72 dollar per Australian dollar, the 3 million investment equals 2.15 US dollars?

    Does anyone know how many years these projects will last? Should we see this targeted call as a one-time thing, or is there an expectation that the NHMRC will do something similar in the coming years?
     
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  11. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    These sorts of projects typically last at least 3 years.

    There is no expectation. They will say that they will still potentially fund research through the standard grant system, but we know how unlikely that is given history. I dare say patient groups are going to have to lobby again and again...
     
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  12. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    Maybe that will change if Covid leads to lots of people getting ME. But that's a discussion for another thread.
     
  13. Simone

    Simone Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yep, basically. TCRs are similar to NIH’s RFA’s. Getting them to issue one is like pulling teeth. NHMRC hopes that TCR’s will increase the likelihood that researchers can later go on and win other NHMRC grants (that the TCR projects will develop sufficiently to become more competitive in other grant processes). I’ve also heard from a couple of unsuccessful applicants who are considering submitting their proposals through NHMRC’s other avenues too.

    But, yes, lobbying efforts will continue.
     
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  14. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yes, even though the funding is very modest, the choice of projects helps send the right signals, which is important.
     
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  15. DMissa

    DMissa Established Member

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    Really happy to have Chris back in Melbourne and excited to see how this work unfolds.

    Ditto. All involved deserve a huge round of applause.


    Since there has been some discussion about the potential for future NHMRC funding, will link the NHMRC statement as of Tuesday (federal budget release): https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/news-centre/budget-2020-21

    Sections of interest/new info for convenience:

    "Government commitments will provide $6 billion over the next four years for health and medical research with $3.5 billion allocated to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for research funding."
    This echoes last year verbatim, given the fed govt's 4 year funding commitment. Hopefully any lasting deficits imposed by COVID crisis don't see this dropping too harshly in future commitments.

    "Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
    The Australian Government is investing $3.3 million in medical research to improve understanding of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a complex condition with an unknown cause.
    Consumer representatives with lived experience of this difficult condition were key participants in the competitive peer review process.
    The funding will help Australian researchers find new approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of patients presenting with symptoms – for example, using stem cell technology that shows more accurately how cells act in the body of their donor to identify new targets for the treatment of chronic fatigue."
     
  16. Grigor

    Grigor Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Very good indeed. The Netherlands a purely biomedical research agenda. Now this. We are heading in the right direction!
     
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  17. Simone

    Simone Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Without getting too off topic, I think the chances of us using COVID-19 for leverage for more ME/CFS funding in Australia are pretty low. So far, out of a population of 25m, we’ve had just 27,000 cases. The number of long-haulers is so low that journalists have struggled to find people to interview (at this point, at least). There just aren’t the numbers to justify a big funding boost for long-COVID research in Australia, (though there are a couple of longitudinal studies underway).
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
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  18. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Merged thread
    full article here:
    https://news.griffith.edu.au/2020/10/07/1-5m-nhmrc-grant-boosts-me-cfs-research/

    (note various press coverage but all appear to require subscription)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2020
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  19. Andy

    Andy Committee Member (& Outreach when energy allows)

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    https://www.deakin.edu.au/about-dea...o-unravel-secrets-of-chronic-fatigue-syndrome
     
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  20. cfsandmore

    cfsandmore Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    You know the old saying, "From your lips to God's ears."
     
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