Date published: 
13 August 2019
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

A team of Melbourne researchers have been awarded a $1 million dollar grant through the Morrison Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Frontiers initiative to develop, test and ultimately implement portable brain imaging tools in air and road ambulances.

The new technologies will better equip first responders and have the potential to transform access to emergency stroke treatment for people in rural and regional areas.

In Australia, there are more than 56,000 strokes each year, and around half a million people are living with the effects of stroke.

This research program, to be led by Professors Geoffrey Donnan and Stephen Davis at the University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH), will target the crucial first hour after stroke onset, known as the ‘golden hour’ to give patients the best chance of survival. 

The program will bring together experts from more than 30 of Australia’s leading health and academic institutes and charities.

Point-of-care diagnosis would be a breakthrough for stroke victims around Australia and around the world, reducing deaths and reducing disability for stroke survivors.

Researchers will spend a year developing a detailed implementation plan for lightweight mobile brain imaging equipment and a telehealth stroke network to transform diagnosis and care for stroke patients.

This service will be key to allowing patients faster access to treatments such as intravenous clot-busting therapy and will dramatically improve stroke outcomes for all Australians.

This research has the potential to save lives and benefit generations to come.

The MRFF Frontiers program is an initiative under the $1.3 billion National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan.

The Frontiers program creates an opportunity for Australia’s best and brightest to form formidable multidisciplinary teams to transform ideas from concept to outcome.

Frontier awardees needed to articulate how their idea was novel and would position Australia as a global leader.

Frontiers has a unique, two-stage structure developed in consultation with Research Australia.

In Stage One, 10 selected applicants will receive funding of up to $1 million each over one year to develop detailed planning for their cutting-edge research projects.

Each of the selected 10 from Stage One will be able to apply for Frontiers Stage Two with the opportunity to secure up to $50 million or more to realise their ground-breaking research plan.

Applications were assessed by an International Scientific Peer Review Panel to ensure those recommended for funding would deliver new to world ideas and opportunities.

Our support for medical research gives Australians access to the next generation of life saving technologies. This support is in addition to our record funding for public hospitals, new medicines and Mental Health.