Centenary Fellowships: investing in the future of medical research

Centenary Fellowships: investing in the future of medical research

Virally infected cells
June 2015

Dr Ian Majewski, Dr Leigh Coultas, Dr Tracy Putoczki and Dr Simon Willis
Inaugural Centenary fellows Dr Ian Majewski, Dr Leigh
Coultas, Dr Tracy Putoczki and Dr Simon Willis (L-R).

As the Institute celebrates 100 years of discoveries for humanity, we have begun securing the best and brightest minds for the next 100 years of research.

Seven generous donors have so far contributed $5 million to establish 10 Centenary Fellowships.

Institute director Professor Doug Hilton said the fellowships would provide crucial support for young scientists.

“Our hope is that we will be able to embark on the next 100 years of discoveries by supporting 100 young scientists through the early phase of their careers,” Professor Hilton said.

Funding future discoveries

Four Centenary fellows have already been appointed, thanks to donations from the Walter and Eliza Hall Trust, Dyson Bequest, L.E.W. Carty Charitable Fund and the Alfred Felton Bequest.

Over the coming months, a further six early-career scientists will receive fellowships with the generous support of CSL Ltd and Institute board member Mrs Jane Hemstritch. The University of Melbourne has pledged to support two Mathison Centenary Fellowships to aid clinician-scientists, in honour of the Institute’s first director-designate, Dr Gordon Clunes McKay Mathison.

Professor Hilton said the centenary gifts would aid discoveries to benefit people in Australia and across the world. “It is thrilling for our early-career scientists to be able to get on with their research knowing they have the support of the community,” he said.

Supporting the next generation

Securing grant funding is becoming harder for early-career scientists, Professor Hilton said. “In 2014, the success rate among scientists applying for government research grants fell to less than 15 per cent, the lowest since the turn of the century,” he said.

“Our early-career researchers, however talented, must compete against senior and established scientists for these limited resources, and their lack of track record in comparison is a significant barrier to success. “By providing five years of funding through a Centenary Fellowship, we can give them the best chance of being competitive for grant funding.”

The Institute has set a target of creating 100 Centenary Fellowships over the next five years. If you would like to invest in the next generation of scientists and support a fellowship, contact the director’s office on 03 9345 2552.