Pyne’s plan to stop third biggest killer

Written By komlim puldel on Rabu, 07 Januari 2015 | 20.01

Stopping the brain drain ... young researchers will be able to apply for grants to work on dementia research from today. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

YOUNG Aussie scientists are being offered lucrative research grants as incentives to trade in overseas academic careers and stay in Australia to help fight dementia.

In a bid to combat fears of a wide-scale research brain drain, Education Minister Christopher Pyne will today announce that scientists and researchers in the early stages of their careers can now apply for a slice of $46 million in grant funding for dementia research.

The fellowship program, which is a part of the federal government's $200 million Boosting Dementia Research Initiative, has been welcomed by dementia and Alzheimer's groups which previously lashed the Coalition for removing an age care subsidy for dementia patients.

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don't go ... the federal government wants young researchers to stay in the country and work on better understanding dementia. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Dementia is currently the third leading cause of death in Australia, with more than 340,000 people living with the disease across the country.

Mr Pyne said urgent action was needed to find better treatments and Australia could not afford to lose its top young researchers to prestigious international universities.

"To make a real dent in this we need new thinking and creative ideas," Mr Pyne said.

"I believe Australia's up and coming researchers have the drive and the enthusiasm to make an enormous contribution," Mr Pyne said.

Pleding funds ... Minister for Education Christopher Pyne says new thinking and creative ideas are needed to combat the third biggest killer of Australians. Picture: News Corp Australia Source: News Corp Australia

Chief executive of Alzheimer's Australia, Carol Bennett, agreed bright young academics would be critical to advancing dementia research.

"This is an area of brain drain in this country," Ms Bennett said.

"We need to ensure that we can attract the best and brightest researchers."

Finding answers ... more needs to be understood about the treatments for and triggers of dementia. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Ms Bennett said a significant amount of research needed to be done examining all aspects of the illness, including its management and treatment, and determining the lifestyle factors that could trigger its onset.

"There are very big and complex questions still to be answered," she said.

The research fellowships will be funded through the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council.

Growing problem ... more than 340,000 Australians have dementia. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

The federal government had come under fire for its decision last year to cut the dementia and severe behaviours supplement, which is paid to aged care facilities looking after patients with dementia, after the cost of the scheme soared.

It has since committed to developing an alternative support package for dementia patients, and Ms Bennett said she was optimistic that would be included in this year's budget.

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