Professor Steve Wesselingh is the new CEO of NHMRC

The Albanese Government is pleased to announce Professor Steve Wesselingh will be the next Chief Executive Officer of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care

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The Albanese Government is pleased to announce Professor Steve Wesselingh will be the next Chief Executive Officer of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).


The NHMRC is Australia’s lead agency driving innovative health and medical research to improve the health of all Australians.


Professor Wesselingh has a unique combination of leadership, experience and qualifications to lead the NHMRC in its vital work to reduce the burden of disease – from discovery science through to public health delivery.


He brings to this important position a wealth of medical experience, clinical leadership, as well as national and international research success.


Professor Wesselingh has successfully led and managed large complex organisations and brings invaluable insights through his Presidency of the Australian Academy of Health Medical Science and as current Chair of the NHMRC Research Committee.


Through the NHMRC, Professor Wesselingh will oversee strategic investment in health and medical research, evidence-based health advice and the ethical practice and conduct of medical research, including improving gender equality in health and medical research.


Professor Wesselingh’s term is for 3 years.


The Government thanks outgoing CEO, Professor Anne Kelso AO, whose term expires on 26 July 2023.


Professor Kelso was first appointed to the role in April 2015. Her leadership and outstanding contribution – nationally and internationally – leaves a substantial and ongoing legacy.


Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:


“I welcome the announcement of Professor Steve Wesselingh as CEO of the NHMRC.


“Australia, like the global community, faces many health challenges including cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and dementia, and the NHMRC is a world-class institution at the forefront of discovering new ways to tackle these and other health conditions.


“Professor Wesselingh has the combination of skills Australia needs to lead the NHMRC in the pursuit of health and medical research excellence for the benefit of all Australians.


“On behalf of the Australian Government I welcome Professor Wesselingh to this role and thank Professor Anne Kelso AO for her outstanding leadership, which has left the organisation in such a strong position.”


Quotes attributable to Professor Wesselingh:


“I’m deeply humbled by the opportunity to provide leadership for Australia’s flourishing health and medical research sector, following in the footsteps of a true great of our industry in Anne Kelso.


“Anne’s legacy across a range of areas – in particular for gender equality and the reimagining of Australia’s complex grant program – is an inspiration for me to continue reforms that empower health and medical researchers in Australia to continue the vital work they do to improve health and wellbeing for people everywhere.


“I’d like to thank SAHMRI and the many incredible people there who I have worked alongside over the past 12 years. My experience at SAHMRI has given me a great understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the health and medical research community, which equips me to now make a contribution at the national level.”


Quotes attributable to Professor Kelso:


“I am personally delighted that Professor Steve Wesselingh will be the next CEO of NHMRC. He has been a key advisor to NHMRC over many years, most recently as a member of NHMRC Council and chair of NHMRC’s Research Committee, and he will build on that engagement to take the agency to the next level.


“Professor Wesselingh knows the Australian health and medical research sector well from his own experience as a researcher, clinician and institutional leader. He will bring all those perspectives to the role of NHMRC CEO at a time of great opportunity and need for research to drive improvements in our health and healthcare.


“It has been an extraordinary privilege to serve as NHMRC CEO over the last 8 years and to influence how we fund research and foster its translation. I have been inspired by the community’s support for health and medical research and the deep commitment of Australian researchers to their work to improve the human condition. With the critical need for evidence to inform sound and equitable public policy and clinical care, I look forward to seeing today’s research lead to better health tomorrow.”

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