Marcus Blackmore

Gift to boost CM research & innovation at Western Sydney University

On Friday 31 March, 2017 Blackmores, together with The Blackmore Foundation (the personal philanthropic trust of Marcus and Caroline Blackmore) announced that they are each gifting $5 million dollars to the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), at Western Sydney University.

“This is the Blackmores’ group’s most significant investment into research and development in the history of the company,” said Blackmores Institute Director Dr Lesley Braun. 

Blackmores Chairman, Marcus Blackmore said, “As industry leaders, we believe it is our responsibility to invest in complementary medicine research and to support innovation in this field. NICM is a world-class research facility, and we are very proud to provide this untied donation to help advance science and innovation in integrative and complementary medicine.”  

“We are proud and excited to be supporting the growth of complementary medicine research within a group who has achieved an ERA ranking of 5. This ERA ranking has been awarded rel="noopener noreferrer" by the Australian Research Council, recognising NICM for its high quality research, evidenced by its outstanding performance well above world standard,” said Dr Braun. 

NICM Director Professor Alan Bensoussan said, “The gifts will support new PhD scholarships, postdoctoral fellowships, support for international visiting scholars, as well as advancing research translation”. 

“This very welcome gift will further the development of NICM as a world-class integrative and complementary medicine research facility, and expand our research and clinical trials, and education and training.”

Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor Professor Barney Glover said, “The gifts will support research and innovation in integrative and complementary medicine at NICM, and is a wonderful example of universities and industry collaborating to drive research.”

“If we want to continue to develop ideas that improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians, as well as generate new jobs and industries, we need to encourage a greater level of private support of higher education research and innovation.”

“Australian medical research institutes draw, on average, 30 per cent of their funding from the private sector.  This support is essential to fulfilling the Federal Government’s agenda to improve university and private industry collaboration to promote research and build upon Australia’s Global Innovation Strategy.”

Dr Braun said, “Blackmores believe it is important to grow the future of complementary medicine, to support new leaders, and to keep building the evidence base to help improve public health.”

The Australian government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda have advised that Australia has the lowest level of industry-research collaboration in the OECD. Some of the countries that Australia is lagging behind include Latvia, Turkey, Chile and Estonia.

Dr Braun said, “While industry engagement happens at all universities the Chief Science officer of Australia, Alan Finkel, is encouraging more.”

The Medical Research Future Fund which released Australian Medical Research and Innovation priorities for 2016-2018 has set a list of priorities which includes utilising industry investment for the rapid funding of priority areas in health and medical research.

Dr Braun added, “Industry partnerships with universities are not new. All prestigious Australian universities have long-standing partnerships with industry that are subject to governance, and university oversight.”  

These include:

- Monash University – partnerships with Pfizer, Merck Sharpe & Dohme, GlaxoSmithKline and Janssen Pharmaceuticals

- Sydney University – partnerships with GE Healthcare, Rio Tinto and Sirtex Medical

- University of Queensland – partnerships with Pfizer, Janssen Biotech and LEO Pharma

This is not the first, nor the last time that Blackmores has supported independent research into complementary medicine. Historically Blackmores have been strong supporters of research and academic institutions to help address the need to build capacity, expertise and research activity in complementary medicine. 

Blackmores are enormously proud of the contribution that this gift will make towards the advancement of complementary medicine research, innovation and research translation. Credible research and continuing to grow the evidence base of natural health underpins the future of the complementary medicine industry.

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