UNSW has been awarded the largest Australian grant in its history, receiving $17.7 million in funding to advance understanding of HIV and hepatitis C.

The funding, from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC), was one of only four program grants announced by the Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, this week.

Professor David Cooper from the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research (NCHECR) will lead a nine person team combining researchers with skills in virology and immunology with those who have expertise in translating findings in the laboratory into human clinical trials.

"One component of the grant will examine novel immune-based therapeutic approaches to treat those with HIV/AIDS," said Associate Professor Greg Dore, who is head of Viral Hepatitis Clinical Research Program at NCHECR.

"This departs from the current approach, which involves anti-viral drugs.

"Proof of principle has already been carried out in animals and while it is early days yet, it is promising for those with the disease."

In addition, UNSW received another $5.5 million to help further the careers of 28 of its researchers.

Minister Roxon announced a total of $124 million in grants.

For more information, go to the NH&MRC website