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UNSW Associate Professor Rebecca Guy has been honoured at the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Research Excellence Awards for her research on HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

The Kirby Institute epidemiologist won the Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship, one of three awarded annually for the top-ranked female applicants in 2016, in the clinical, biomedical and public health areas of the research fellowship scheme.

UNSW Conjoint Lecturer Dr Julie Brown also won a Career Development Fellowship, for her research with NeuRA on preventing road crash-related injury to children, the elderly, and motorcyclists by improving protective equipment.

Associate Professor Guy is the fourth outstanding woman researcher from UNSW to win the Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship in the past three years.

In 2015, Professor Glenda Halliday won the prize for her work with NeurA, and in 2014, Scientia Professor Katharina Gaus was recognised in the biomedical category and Professor Lisa Maher in the public health category.

The Australian health and medical research sector is very strong by international standards... so these awards recognise truly outstanding research and researchers.

Associate Professor Guy is working to translate her research findings into population health outcomes for people at greatest risk of STIs, including youth, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, men who have sex with men, and pregnant women and children in low-income countries.

The fellowships are named after Australian-American Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, who was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

Aimed at fostering the career development of female researchers, the fellowships were awarded at a ceremony in Canberra last night.

Speaking at the awards dinner, NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso said the award winners were ranked by expert peer reviewers at the top of the list of applications to each NHMRC grant scheme in 2016.

“Each year NHMRC provides over $800 million in funding for health and medical research in Australia,’ Professor Kelso said.

“The Australian health and medical research sector is very strong by international standards and competition for NHMRC funding is intense. So these awards recognise truly outstanding research and researchers.”