Applications Open for Round 9 of the Medical Devices Fund

The Medical Devices Fund is a competitive technology program which helps encourage and support investment in the development and commercialisation of medical devices and related technologies in NSW. The Fund aims to provide support to individuals, companies, public and private hospitals, medical research institutes, universities and the medical devices industry to take local innovation to market.

Since its launch in 2013, the Fund has provided over $60 million to 37 projects. These technologies have now treated over 47,000 patients and are delivering better patient outcomes for NSW.

More than $8 million in funding is available for this round.

For further details regarding the Medical Devices Fund including the preliminary application form, guidelines and application kit, please visit .

The Office for Health and Medical Research will also hold an online webinar for the Medical Devices Fund in late February 2021.

To apply, please review the eligibility and selection criteria and email your completed preliminary application form to Preliminary applications close on Monday 1 March 2021 at 5pm.


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The auction of a restored 1946 Ford Jail Bar has seen Motor Neurone Disease (MND) researchers in Brisbane presented with a $200,000 cheque to continue exploring ways to treat the disease.
It’s the latest donation from Australia’s largest transport and logistics specialist, NTI, and brings the total the organisation has raised for MND research to almost $534,000 in four years.
The cheque was handed over at MND and Me’s Christmas event where medical experts pitched their research ideas in a ‘Shark Tank’ style presentation.

NTI’s donation will fund two research grants for Dr Shu Ngo and Dr Adam Walker at The University of Queensland. Dr Ngo was also named the recipient of the 2021 Charcot Award which is presented to the highest ranked innovator grant applicant.

“Everyone is driven to see a world free of MND and funding from the NTI research grant gives young researchers an opportunity to push harder and go further with their ideas. That will be so valuable to finding a cure for MND and I feel humbled and privileged to be able to carry out this research,” Dr Ngo said.

“With these funds, we will be embarking on a research project that is the first of its kind for MND. Using mini 3D spinal cords that we have generated from MND patient skin cells, we will study how neurons and their support cells interact over time to give us insights into how we can save neurons.”

MND and Me CEO Jane Milne said Motor Neurone Disease claims the lives of two Australians every day.

“There are currently more than 2,100 Australians living with MND and the disease can affect adults of any age,” Ms Milne said.

“The commitment NTI has shown to funding MND research is unique in Australia and means researchers can continue their work to find a cure or effective treatment for MND. These two grants have been awarded to researchers who are in the process of moving to clinical trials and are finding promise in treatments in mouse models, or who are working towards a better understanding of the cause of MND.”

NTI CEO Tony Clark said “Black Beauty” was the third truck NTI had restored since 2016 to fundraise for MND research.

“NTI is committed to supporting MND research in honour of our late CEO Wayne Patterson who was diagnosed with the condition in 2015 and tragically lost his battle soon after,” Mr Clark said.

“This research grant is about supporting research but also promoting awareness of MND, of which two Australians are diagnosed every day.

“NTI will continue its support of this incredibly worthy cause and has plans to restore another truck in 2021.”[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4844″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Call for Industry Sponsors to Apply for REDI Fellowship Funding

The REDI program is providing grants of up to $250,000 to industry to secure one of up to 40 industry Fellowships in the medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical (MTP) sector.

This unique workforce initiative is giving industry the opportunity to select a researcher, academic, clinician or technology transfer professional to collaborate on distinct projects involving discovery, translation and commercialisation.

REDI is calling for Australian industry organisations, including multinationals and ASX-listed companies, to apply for a Fellowship, with funding available for up to 40 places.

“Creating links between industry and research is critical for the growth and success of the MTP sector. Our new REDI Fellowships program provides companies with the financial support to bring academics and clinicians in-house for up to twelve months to work on priority medical research projects,” said MTPConnect Managing Director and CEO Dr Dan Grant.

“Our Fellowship program will require that the researcher or clinician return to their home institution for a period at least equal to the term of the fellowship.

“This will help address the issue of ‘brain drain’ of researcher talent into companies and ensure we embed high-level commercial experience in the research sector,” Dr Grant said.

The Fellowship application process is industry-led, so an eligible industry sponsor (company/organisation) needs to submit an application which identifies a Fellow and matches it with a specific research and development project.

Eligible Fellows are medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector researchers, academics, clinicians and professionals (technology transfer organisation professionals, entrepreneurs, business development/commercialisation staff, administrators and executives) from academic/public research organisations/hospitals/technology transfer organisations.

Eligible Sponsors are industry organisations defined as a research-intensive organisation such as biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device and digital health companies, specialised best practice organisations such as a Venture Capital (VC) firm, regulatory affairs consultancy, medical affairs consultancy, etc. For clarity, universities, medical research institutes and hospitals are not eligible Sponsors for this program.

Sponsors can select three types of Fellowships to apply for:

  • One-year full time
  • 6 – 12 months full time
  • 6 – 12 months where the fellow spends 50% of time working with the sponsor.

Subject to COVID-19 restrictions, domestic and international Fellowships will be considered.

Applications open on 15 December 2020 and will remain open until either the funds are fully committed or until October 2022, whichever is first.

To find out more, MTPConnect is holding an Information Session on 17 December 2020 from 11am-12pm AEDT – register now and check our website for further information to have your questions ready.


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A new publication in Science Magazine, sponsored by Abbott, shows how Australia can create more value from its enviable biomedical R & D effort by promoting partnerships across industry, research and health services to address our healthcare priorities.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a high point in the recent history of Australian medtech. The urgency of confronting a novel virus put a major premium on agile collaboration.  Arms of the Australian healthcare system that typically operate in competition found themselves working alongside each other to get the most important job in the world done quickly, and right.  We can be proud of the fact that, in Australia, we delivered on the task.  Our testing rates are among the world’s highest; our hospital bed and ventilator capacity scaled up in record time; and normal elective surgery schedules were quickly re-established. 

The important lesson is that healthcare works best when its stakeholders have aligned interests. The urgency of the COVID challenge broke down institutional barriers to collaboration – between the Commonwealth and states, between private and public hospitals, between competitors in industry, and between government and the private sector.  

After the pandemic, there is no need to reinstitute those barriers.  

That is the motivation that inspired Abbott to sponsor a major new publication in the prestigious journal Science, focused on how Australia can, and should, take a partnership approach to the innovation challenges necessary to address our 21st century healthcare needs.  

Australia’s public and privately funded medical research effort is impressive by world standards, at well over $A6 billion.  Yet less than 2% of our R & D spend ends up focused on translating insights from basic science into new therapies, new services or updated clinical guidelines. A key deficiency contributing to that gap is the lack of emphasis on bringing commercial and clinical expertise together with research skills in a coherent way. This insight is not new; it was a key focus of the McKeon Review of Health and Medical Research back in 2013. Not enough has changed since, despite some initiatives from governments and research institutions. 

The Science supplement draws together the major peer reviewed studies conducted over the last decade on what differentiates successful translation efforts. Some of the major findings include: 

  • The role of time. Responsive regulatory and path-to-market systems attract translational investment 
  • Incentives for localisation: where the intellectual property is registered is a complex decision, based not just on market size but other factors including expected returns from reinvestment, relative taxation of IP, and successful examples of win-win outcomes from IP collaborations 
  • Recognition that translation is a specialist skill: integrating it into research institutional structures and incentivising direct funding of translation initiatives. The Medical Research Future Fund does some of this, but added scale will create better results. 

We also highlight two examples of “self-starter” collaborations in Australia with great promise: the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance (ACVA) and Australia’s National Digital Health Initiative, ANDHealth. 

The post-COVID environment is an ideal time to revive the impetus for change in our health innovation effort. We can already see what happens when we all pull together.  [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Australia secures a further 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Two more COVID-19 vaccines have been secured for the Australian population under new agreements, bringing the Australian Government’s COVID-19 vaccine investment to more than $3.2 billion.

Under the agreements, Novavax will supply 40 million vaccine doses and Pfizer/BioNTech will provide 10 million vaccine doses, should the vaccines be proven safe and effective.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment Strategy had now secured access to four COVID-19 vaccines and over 134 million doses.

“By securing multiple COVID-19 vaccines we are giving Australians the best shot at early access to a vaccine, should trials prove successful,” the Prime Minister said.

“We aren’t putting all our eggs in one basket and we will continue to pursue further vaccines should our medical experts recommend them.

“There are no guarantees that these vaccines will prove successful, however our Strategy puts Australia at the front of the queue, if our medical experts give the vaccines the green light.”

The Novavax and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are expected to be available in Australia from early to mid 2021 – subject to approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for use in Australia.

The Pfizer/BioNTech is a messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) type vaccine and the Novavax vaccine is a protein vaccine containing an adjuvant (Matrix-M) which enhances the immune response.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine portfolio now had two protein vaccines and one mRNA and one viral vector type vaccine, strengthening Australia’s position to access safe and effective vaccines as soon as available.

“The goal and the expectation is that Australians who sought vaccination will be vaccinated within 2021,” Minister Hunt said.

“There are no surprises, health and aged care workers and the elderly and vulnerable will be the first to gain access to a vaccine that’s deemed safe and effective.”

These new agreements build on the Australian Government’s existing commitments to purchase the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and a local candidate from the University of Queensland together with Australian manufacturer CSL Limited (Seqirus).

Subject to the vaccine being registered by the TGA as safe and effective, preliminary advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation is that the priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccine are those people who are at increased risk of exposure, such as health and aged care workers, the elderly and those working in services critical to societal functioning.

The Australian Government is currently consulting with the states and territories, key medical experts and industry peak bodies on the framework for the initial roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination program in early 2021.

Key vaccination sites will initially include GPs, GP respiratory clinics, state and territory vaccination sites and workplaces such as aged care facilities.

Australia has a world class vaccination program with world leading vaccination rates. The COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandatory and individuals will maintain the option to choose not to vaccinate. The vaccine will be available for free to those who choose to be vaccinated.

This commitment forms a crucial part of the Australian Government’s response to COVID-19 and the strategy to protect the health and wellbeing of Australians and the national economy.

Internationally, Australia has also joined the COVAX facility, which will provide access to a large portfolio of COVID-19 candidates and manufactures around the world for up to 50 per cent of the Australian population.

The Australian Government has also committed to support access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the Pacific and Southeast Asia, as part of a shared recovery for the region from the pandemic, as well as $80 million to the international COVAX Facility for the benefit of high-risk populations in developing countries.

The Government’s agreements allow Australia to donate to partners in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, should these vaccines prove safe and effective, and units are available above domestic needs.

The Government is contributing significantly to vaccine research and development both in Australia and around the world, investing $363 million in vaccines, therapeutics and COVID medicines – including $257 million in vaccines.

The roll-out of a potential COVID-19 vaccine is a significant logistical challenge, suppliers that have a proven track record in vaccine logistics and distribution or booking systems, tracking and reporting of vaccines are being invited to participate in a limited tender process.

As part of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccines strategy and broader vaccines strategy, the Australian Government is considering an amendment to the Australian Immunisation Register Act 2015 to mandate reporting of all vaccinations to the Register.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The MRFF investment includes grants for:

  • Biologics for the prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19
  • Ovarian cancer: investing variations in care and survival, aetiology and risk factors to improve outcomes in Australia via national data linkage
  • A randomised control trial of positive end-expiratory pressure levels during resuscitation of preterm infants at birth.

More than 90% of the grants and three quarters of the funding awarded to date have been through competitive funding rounds.

“This shows the MRFF is investing in the highest quality research and I applaud the Government for building competitive and robust funding structures,” said AAMRI President, Professor Jonathan Carapetis AM.

“It is great to see this new investment in medical research, the scale of which is unprecedented and will in turn deliver huge economic and health benefits for the nation.

“The value and trust that the Government has placed on research will enable some of our best and brightest minds to make life-changing medical discoveries which will help protect and save lives.

“I’m also very pleased to see the rapid investment in COVID-19 and bushfire health research. This fits with the vision of the MRFF, to include an ability to respond quickly to emerging health threats,” Professor Carapetis.

The MRFF is a once-in-a-generation funding opportunity that will make Australia a world-leader in medical research. It will invest an additional $650 million per year in medical research, which is on top of the near $900 million invested through the NHMRC.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


The annual conference brings together industry leaders, innovators, academics, policy-makers, researchers and clinicians to share their insights, experiences and achievements in new and cutting-edge MedTech that’s helping to improve the lives of everyday Australians.

This year’s conference was help virtually, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and included 17 different sessions and multiple streaming options focused on particular topics that attendees were able to choose from.

MTAA’s CEO, Ian Burgess, said that MedTech conference was continuing to lead by example during the pandemic, by showing just how the MedTech industry had adapted to the challenges posed by the virus, not just with a reformatted virtual conference, but also with a once in a 100-year industry effort, with government, to coordinate Australia’s response to the global pandemic.

“MTAA took this opportunity to transform how our conference was conducted, tailoring every session to make it easily accessible to participants, including live recording for attendees to stream back later,” Mr Burgess said.

In an address to conference-goers, Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, who opened the conference acknowledged the “profound role of the medical device and technology sector in helping Australia through COVID in a way very few other countries have been able to achieve.”

Also speaking at the conference was Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, who said “the MTAA led the effort to ensure we had the essential medical equipment to meet a worst case scenario” during the pandemic.

This year’s conference featured a whose-who of industry leaders and experts, including:

  • Dr Sarah Aitken, Vascular & Endovascular Surgeon, Concord Repatriation General Hospital and Clinical Academic, University of Sydney
  • Mr Andrew Frye, Senior Vice President & President, APAC, Baxter Healthcare, Chairman of APACMed
  • Prof. John Skerritt, Deputy Secretary, Health Products Regulation Group, Therapeutic Goods Administration

If you missed the conference, don’t worry, MTAA says on-demand streaming of sessions is available anytime, anywhere, click here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Big jump in My Health Record from 2019 to 2020

Whether it was due to natural disaster or the COVID-19 lockdowns and closed state borders, many patients couldn’t see their healthcare provider face-to-face.

This is when My Health Record really shines and healthcare providers can access their patients’ important medical information such as test results, medications and hospital discharge summaries anywhere, anytime.

Independent Clinical Advisor to the Australian Digital Health Agency, Dr Steve Hambleton, said more and more healthcare workers were realising the practical benefits of digital health.

“I want hospitals and specialists to have rapid access to relevant information about my patients when they are caring for them, and as a GP, when a patient comes back to see me having been discharged from hospital or with a report from a specialist, I value what those hospitals and specialists share and upload to My Health Record for the ongoing care I provide,” he said.

From July 2019 to June 2020:

  • the number of documents uploaded by GPs and viewed by others has risen to 187,000, a 165 per cent increase.
  • GPs viewed 416,000 documents uploaded by others, an increase of more than 250 per cent
  • the number of documents uploaded by public hospitals and viewed by other healthcare providers has risen to 322,000, an increase of nearly 300 per
  • Public hospitals viewed 271,000 documents uploaded by others, an increase of more than 300 per

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4808″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Agency CEO Amanda Cattermole said “Over the last 12 months it’s been great to see the increases in clinically helpful data in the system and the sharing and viewing by health professionals.

“My Health Record provides the repository for consumers’ health data and a great way for them to safely and securely engage with their healthcare providers.

“I encourage people to log into their My Health Record and ensure their information including allergies, medicines, immunisations, and any pathology reports has been uploaded.

“This will give you peace of mind, knowing that in an emergency situation, information like your medications and allergies are rapidly available to medical staff.

“It can make a significant difference to health outcomes and assist medical staff in diagnosis and treatment.”

Key statistics July 2019 to June 2020:

  • Total number of My Health Records in Australia increased by 230,000, from 22.55 million to 22.78
  • Total number of records with data in them increased from 10.08 million to 19.41 million, a nearly 93 per cent increase.
  • Number of health documents in the My Health Record system has risen from 1.3 billion to 2.09 billion over the financial year. Clinical documents, uploaded by hospitals, pathologists or radiologists, have risen from 23 million to 75
  • Medicine documents, uploaded by pharmacies and GPs, have risen from 56 million to 143
  • Immunisation documents in the system have gone from 4.8 million to 15
  • Organ donor registrations have gone from one million to 1.5
  • Pharmacies registered with My Health Record have risen from 88 per cent to 99 per cent. GPs registered have risen from 86 per cent to 93 per cent. Public hospitals have risen from 75 per cent to 95
  • Pathology reports in My Health Record have gone from 13 million to 53
  • Diagnostic imaging reports have risen from 2.6 million to 8.2
  • Dispense records have risen from 27 million to 82 million.

Former Intensive Care Registrar at Armidale Health Service in Western Australia, Rowan Ellis, attests to the benefits of My Health Record: “We had a patient who presented as critically unwell and intensive care staff were asked to review the patient,” he said.

“It became apparent that they had been treated recently at a different hospital and we didn’t have access to their records, so we hopped onto My Health Record and found all the necessary discharge summary information details of their specialist who we then contacted directly to discuss their care. We then arranged transfer out to the hospital where they were already receiving ongoing treatment.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

ACN endorses Nursing and Midwifery Digital Health Capability Framework

“There is no denying the delivery of health care is changing, in large part due to technological advances,” Australian College of Nursing CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said.

“Digital health has the potential to bring about vast improvements in how healthcare is delivered, where people can access quality care, and health outcomes. This potential can only be realised if we have a workforce that is ready to adopt digital health tools and services and maximise the benefits.

“The goal of the Capability Framework is to ensure the nursing workforce can confidently utilise digital health technologies.”

ACN was represented on the Framework’s Advisory Committee by Adjunct Associate Professor Naomi Dobroff FACN, Chair of the ACN Nurse Informatics Community of Interest and Aaron Jones, Chair of the ACN Chief Nursing Information Officer Community of Interest.

“This work gives everyone involved in healthcare a guide as to the skills and knowledge nurses and midwives need to deliver health in a digital world,” Adjunct Professor Dobroff explained.

“I am particularly pleased a Framework specific to nurses and midwives has been developed not only because our profession makes up over 50 per cent of Australia’s health workforce, but because it recognises the leadership role nurses and midwives have.

“Nurses and midwives play a critical role in ensuring that clinical information and communication systems are designed and used to deliver high quality, coordinated care to Australians across all aspects of the patient journey.

“The Framework outlines the capabilities each of us as individual professionals, our workplaces and our educational organisations, such as ACN, who are required to extend our digital health development to develop all nurses.”

Reflecting the nursing profession’s enthusiasm for adoption of technology and innovation, the Australian College of Nursing has added a specific digital health unit to some of its Nursing Graduate Certificate courses. Learning outcomes include being able to appraise how clinical communication occurs in a digitalised health care system.

“In terms of technology take-up, nurses are vital, but more importantly we need nurses to take a leadership role, which is a domain in the Framework, in order to make sure digital health successfully enhances patient care,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.

“Technology cannot replicate the complex and holistic care provided by nurses, but it can help expand the profession’s scope of practice and delivery of best practice care to all Australians.

“Nurses provide care all day, every day, across every care setting and are best placed to assist in reimagining the delivery of healthcare aided by technology.

“Therefore, we commend the Framework and look forward to playing a role in making sure it inspires broader digital expertise within the nursing profession by providing free online educational resources at the foundational level of learning to all nurses and midwives on the ACN website next year.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


“The Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has described the expansion of telehealth as a ‘revolution in the delivery of primary care’ which we strongly support,” the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the strength, and the opportunities for more public investments to improve Australia’s health system.

“It has shown the link between the health of the community and of the economy is inextricable.

“Telehealth has been stimulated by the pandemic to trigger easier and safe access to doctors and we look forward to further developments after the six month extension to March 2021 expires.

The telehealth disruption shows that transformative change is possible in healthcare and we hold great ambition for the scope of services that will be possible under the 10 Year Primary Health Care Plan currently in development.

“But the pandemic has also shown up the dramatic failings of the aged care system that has brought too many avoidable deaths and too much suffering.

“The lesson for Australia should be that we need to invest much more in a publicly-funded and effectively regulated system.

“The Government says it is making a record investment in health over four years of $467 billion, up by $32 billion on last year’s figures.

“It is to spend $2.4 billion on telehealth a development that just nine months ago would have seemed unbelievable.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]