Eight million dollars will be invested over the next five years to establish Australia's first Professorial Chair of Schizophrenia Research. The position will be based at the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute (POWMRI) in a joint program with the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
The Board of the Neuroscience Institute of Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders (NISAD) awarded the Chair to the joint bid, one of six high quality submissions from New South Wales' major universities and Institutes.
Executive Director, NISAD Deborah Willcox, said: "This is a significant milestone for NISAD, UNSW, POWMRI and most importantly, for sufferers of schizophrenia and their families."
"The Professorial Chair will drive the research effort of some of the world's leading experts in schizophrenia, based here in NSW and overseas. It is the beginning of a very exciting chapter in NISAD's effort to find a means to cure and prevent this devastating disease."
"The quality of the joint bid from UNSW and POWMRI was extremely impressive and NISAD is very proud to enter into this prestigious partnership," Ms Willcox said.
In early 2004, the New South Wales Minister for Health, Morris Iemma, announced a recurrent grant of $500,000 to NISAD to establish a Chair of Schizophrenia Research.
NISAD will fundraise to bring the total figure to $1million per annum. In addition, over the next 5 years UNSW and POWMRI will contribute a further $3 million.
Following a lengthy period of consultation, NISAD's research community determined that the Chair should be an expert in the field of developmental neurobiology.
"Now that the host institution has been determined we can jointly embark on the search for a high calibre scientist," Ms Willcox said.
"UNSW is one of Australia's most respected universities. Its reputation will enhance our ability to attract the best national and international candidates."
"The 'Brain Sciences' – neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology and neurology – are major strengths of UNSW and affiliated institutes," said UNSW Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mark Wainwright.
"This Professorship will capitalise on those strengths and build new pathways to advance scientific knowledge and ultimately, treatments," he said.
Executive Director POWMRI, Professor Peter Schofield, is a highly respected researcher with a strong track record in mental illness research. He also has been involved with NISAD since its inception in 1996. Peter is a member of the NISAD Research Council.
"The Institute has been expanding its research in both laboratory sciences and into mental illness research. The partnership with NISAD and UNSW will allow us to harness neuroscience research to tackle the heavy burden of schizophrenia," said Professor Schofield.
Source: Eurekalert & othersLast reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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