Spinal Research Grants Announced

Minister for Science and Medical Research, Frank Sartor today announced nearly $3 million in grants to NSW researchers working in the area of spinal cord injury and neurological conditions.

This brings the total amount awarded under the NSW Spinal Cord Injury and Related Neurological Conditions Research Grants Program to nearly $8.4 million since 2004. “Through dedicated and targeted research investment, NSW has emerged as a leader in research into spinal cord injury,” Mr Sartor said.

“Nearly 100 people suffer a spinal cord injury each year in NSW alone. The cost of care is close to $1 million per person every year throughout their lifetime.

“Most spinal cord patients are aged between 15 and 44, almost 80 per cent are male, and most are caused by car and road accidents, falls, or sports.

“The NSW Government is encouraging innovative research to improve the independence, mobility and quality of life for injured people, while at the same time emphasising to those most at risk that prevention is the only cure,” Mr Sartor said.

The research grants are part of a $35.9 million initiative announced by former Premier Bob Carr in January 2003 at Making Connections – the NSW Premier’s Forum on Spinal Cord Injury and Conditions – attended by the late Christopher Reeve.

This funding is to promote research and improve services for people with spinal cord injury and other neurological conditions, and includes:

  • $10.9 million over four years for the NSW Spinal Cord Injury and Other Neurological Conditions Research Grants Program;
  • $23 million over four years for an extra 100 attendant care places to help people with physical disability do everyday tasks such as get out of bed, shower and get dressed;
  • $2 million for a two year pilot program to improve coordination of services for people who have suffered catastrophic injuries that would concentrate on the move from rehabilitation centres back into the community.

All grant recipients were selected by an expert panel chaired by Professor Perry Bartlett, Foundation Professor of Molecular Neuroscience at the University of Queensland. The panel included clinicians, neuroscientists, medical researchers, government and a consumer representative.