UNSW’s expertise in suicide prevention and substance abuse has once again been recognised with $5 million funding for two new Centres of Research Excellence.

The UNSW Centres – one to target suicide prevention, the other mental health and substance abuse – will receive close to $2.5 million each over five years as part of a $42 million investment by the federal government in 17 new National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centres of Research Excellence (CRE).

The Centre of Research Excellence for Improving Suicide Prevention is based at the Black Dog Institute, and led by the Institute’s executive director UNSW Professor Helen Christensen.

Suicide is the most common cause of death in Australians aged 15-44. The CRE will bring together leading experts in Australia and New Zealand to undertake the research needed to determine the best way to deliver interventions to those at risk.

The Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use is led by Professor Maree Teesson, from UNSW’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.

The two new centres build on last year's success in which UNSW won three CREs, the best result in the country. UNSW now has more NHMRC Centres of Research Excellence  than any other university or institute.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek also today announced new appointees to the NHMRC, including the new chair Justice Annabelle Bennett AO.

A UNSW alumna, Justice Bennett is joined by 13 new members of the Council, including UNSW’s Associate Professor Anthony Shakeshaft and Professors Robyn Ward and Greg Dore.

Also appointed to the Council's sub-committes are: UNSW Professor Phil Mitchell (Research); Professor Robyn Ward (Chair, Human Genetics Advisory); Professor Maree Teesson (Health Care); and Professor Mark Harris (Prevention and Community Health).

Media contact: Steve Offner, UNSW Media Office | 02 9385 8107