UNSW is to establish new Centres of Excellence to drive research into the treatment of traumatic brain injuries, immunising at risk populations, and e-Health.

UNSW was awarded $7.5 million in the latest round of NHMRC funding for the three Centres - the largest number of new Centres awarded to any university in Australia.

The Centres draw on expertise across a range of partner universities, hospitals and research institutes in Australia and internationally.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Les Field said the University's success in securing funding for the Centres of Excellence recognised the significance of the research being undertaken by the University in these key areas.

The Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), led by Professor Skye McDonald, is the first centre in the world to take a multidisciplinary, multisite approach to addressing the rehabilitation of people with brain injury. It will bring together key experts and partner organisations around the country to address what is a growing problem.

"Severe TBI from motor vehicle accidents, assaults and accidents will surpass many diseases as the major cause of disability in the Western world by 2020," Professor McDonald said. "It causes cognitive and emotional disorders that result in unemployment, loss of relationships, social isolation and depression in adults and children."

The CRE's activities will focus on improving outcomes for those with TBI, by tackling deficits in fatigue, mood, self-awareness and self-regulation, as well as social competency (involving speech, social skills and communication).

The second Centre of Excellence will examine immunisation in understudied populations. Led by Head of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Professor Raina MacIntyre, the Centre will address research gaps in at-risk populations, such as older and Indigenous Australians, as well as migrants andrefugees, where targeted research is not commercially viable.

"Vaccination is an increasingly complex field, and represents the single largest public health preventive program in Australia," Professor MacIntyre said.

"However, much of the vaccine research which informs national policy, particularly large clinical trials, is conducted by the pharmaceutical industry and there are critical research gaps in special-risk and under-served populations where targeted research is not commercially viable or too complex."

The CRE in e-Health will work to improve the quality, safety and effectiveness of health services. Led by Professor Enrico Coiera, the centre will support the design, evaluation and use of e-health systems in three key areas: monitoring e-health safety using incident monitoring, evaluating consumer e-health safety and developing next generation evidence-based support tools.

UNSW received a total of $46 million in funding in the latest NHMRC round.

Media Contact:Alexander Symonds, UNSW Media Office | 02 9385 1933 | 0431 947 956