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Neurological Foundation Awards Over $1M in Dec 2010

Neurological Foundation Awards Over $1,020,000 in December 2010 Grant Round: Recipients Announced

The Neurological Foundation of New Zealand has today announced research grants, travel grants, fellowships and scholarships totalling more than $1,020,000 for its December 2010 funding round. This allocation brings the Foundation’s total neurological research and training funding for 2010 to over $2,000,000.

In this round, the Foundation awarded four project grants, two Miller PhD Scholarships, one Philip Wrightson Postdoctoral Fellowship, a one-year extension to the 2008 Philip Wrightson Fellowship recipient, one travel grant and two small project grants.

Executive Director Max Ritchie says “The calibre of applications was incredibly high - a sure reflection of the world-class neuroscience research being undertaken at universities and hospitals across the country. We’re thrilled to be able to fund crucial research at this level. Equally pleasing is the record number of young investigators applying for fellowship and scholarship grants in this round. The Foundation has supported career neuroscientists for nearly 40 years, so it is vital that we continue to nurture the talents of emerging scientists who have a passion for neuroscience.”

The first and largest incidence and outcome study of transient ischemic attack (TIA) in New Zealand is one of the four successful project grants. Neurological Foundation Chair of Clinical Neurology Professor Alan Barber will lead the study, which has great potential to play a central role in the planning of services and development of health policy in relation to TIA and stroke, both in New Zealand and internationally, and could be used to inform evidence-based recommendations for health care. TIA heralds the onset of stroke in a quarter of the 8,000 New Zealanders struck down with this devastating illness every year.

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Jessie Jacobsen, nearing the completion of her two-year Philip Wrightson Fellowship awarded by the Neurological Foundation in 2008, has been granted a one-year extension to enable her to continue her research into Huntington’s disease at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the United States. Dr Jacobsen received the MacDiarmid Young Scientist of the Year Award in 2007 for her research into Huntington’s disease, and the University of Auckland’s Young Alumna of the Year 2010, and has been working in the laboratory of noted scientist Professor Marcy MacDonald at Harvard’s Centre for Human Genetic Research.

Mr Ritchie says still more investment needs to be made in neuroscience in this country. “In many areas of neurological research, including the exciting translation into clinical practice, New Zealand scientists are leading the way. There is an urgent need to maintain this level of research and a diminishing number of funding avenues for scientists. The Neurological Foundation will continue to promote and support neurological research at the highest level, and our objective for 2011 is to further increase our funding allocations so even more deserving research can be undertaken.”

The Neurological Foundation is the primary non-government sponsor of neurological research in this country. The Foundation is an independent body and charitable trust and its funding has facilitated many of New Zealand’s top neuroscientists’ pioneering breakthroughs. Without the ongoing support of individual New Zealanders the Foundation could not commit to progressing research to the high level that it does. Ninetyeight per cent of funding comes from donations and bequests.


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