UNSW professors have dominated the latest round of NHMRC funding, winning a record 80 percent of the $39.6 million on offer in NSW.

The haul secured almost a third of the $108m offered by the National Health and Medical Research Council around the country, including $9.35m directed to the UNSW-affiliated Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.

The prestigious Program Grants - worth an average of $7.2m each over five years - are highly prized by researchers, enabling them to pursue the best research options over an extended period. Winners from around the country this year include a Nobel laureate and two former Australians of the Year.

UNSW's recipients are experts in sexually transmitted infections, trauma psychology, dementia and heart disease.

A team led by Professor John Kaldor, from UNSW's National Centre in HIV Epidemiology & Clinical Research (NCHECR), will receive $9.1m for its research into the prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections.

Professor Richard Bryant, from the School of Psychology, will receive $7.1m to build the nation's capacity to reduce psychological problems after trauma such as Victoria's devastating bushfires.

Research into Australia's ageing population received a boost with $6.1m awarded to Professor Perminder Sachdev and his team from the School of Psychiatry to carry out long-term studies into new methods of diagnosing dementia before symptoms become prominent.

UNSW Professor Robert Graham, at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, receives $9.4m to enhance investigations into defects in the development, repair and function of heart muscle cells that are responsible for adult-onset heart disease - a leading cause of death among Australians.

The funding, announced by Federal Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon, will begin in 2010.

Media contact: Steve Offner, UNSW Media | 02 9385 8107 | s.offner@unsw.edu.au