Premier’s Awards for Health and Medical Research
Applications are now open for this year’s Premier’s Awards for Health and Medical Research.
The Premier’s Awards, established in 1995 by the Victorian Government in partnership with the Australian Society for Medical Research, recognise the exceptional contributions and capabilities of Victoria’s early-career health and medical researchers.
Recipients of the five category awards receive $5,000, and an additional $15,000 is granted to the Premier's Excellence award winner.
The five award categories include:
- Basic Science Researcher
- Clinical Researcher
- Aboriginal Researcher undertaking research in any field of health and medical research
- Health Services Researcher
- Public Health Researcher
Current PhD candidates within a health and medical field who are at least two years into candidature at a Victorian academic or research institute, and post-doctoral researchers within health and medical field who have completed a PhD at a Victorian academic or research institute in the last two years, are encouraged to apply.
More information, including full eligibility criteria, can be found in the program guidelines below.
Applications will close on 17 January 2022.
Guidelines and materials
Frequently Asked Questions
Applications will close on 17 January 2022.
If you require further assistance, submit an online enquiry
Premier’s Awards - 2020 winners
Last year’s award recipients were announced at a virtual ceremony on 7 December 2020. Find out more about the 2020 winners and their work below.
Dr Simone Park (University of Melbourne and the Peter Doherty Institute) – Local immune protection against cancer and infection
The immune system is essential to control the development and spread of cancer and infections. Tissue-resident memory T (TRM) cells are a group of immune cells that are anchored in tissues such as the skin, lungs and gut without recirculating through the blood. TRM cells have been shown to enhance immune protection against malaria and influenza, as well as being associated with cancer protection.
Dr Park explores how TRM cells prevent cancer progression and inhibit viral infection. This information can be harnessed to advance disease treatment.
Dr Park’s research project used a novel melanoma model that allows tumour cells to be transferred to the superficial layers of mouse skin. For the first time, Dr Park showed that TRM cells are critical to protect against cancer development and can inhibit the growth of tumours without completely removing them from the body.
Dr Park also discovered that skin TRM cells can protect against viral skin infections and multiply after reactivation which allows them to be maintained in the tissue over time.
These findings have revealed how local immune cells inhibit cancer and infection and provided evidence to explore TRM cells as targets of future cancer therapy and vaccines to treat human disease.
Dr Park is currently working as a Postdoctoral Researcher at The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.
Dr Melissa Lee (University of Melbourne and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) – Improving outcomes after surgery for coarctation of the aorta: a common congenital heart disease condition
One of the most common heart defects babies can be born with is called coarctation of the aorta, where the main blood vessel from the heart has a narrow area so less blood is pumped around the body than normal. This means the heart must work harder to pump the blood around the body and is often unable to keep up.
It is often treated with surgery but over time people can develop high blood pressure. The cause of the high blood pressure is unknown as it can still develop in people who have no sign of any ongoing narrowing in the main blood vessel.
Dr Lee’s research following up patients after this heart surgery is the largest and longest study of its kind in the world. She worked in collaboration with the Royal Brompton Hospital (London, UK).
Dr Lee’s research found that these patients had three times the risk of early death due to the side effects of having higher blood pressure
Dr Lee’s research has led to a change in how this heart surgery is performed and improvement in long term follow up of these patients leading to better outcomes. Her research findings have been incorporated into international guidelines for the diagnosis and management of hypertension.
Dr Lee is currently working as a Cardiology Registrar at The Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Cammi Murrup-Stewart (Gukwonderuk Unit, Monash University) – 'Connection to culture is like a massive lifeline': Yarning to further understand young, urban Aboriginal perspectives and experiences of culture and social and emotional wellbeing
It is widely accepted that culture is critical to Indigenous Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB). Mrs Cammi Murrup-Stewart explores evidence to inform SEWB programs and policies among young urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Mrs Murrup-Stewart’s PhD research had two phases – a systematic review and a qualitative study. The systematic review explored Indigenous perceptions of SEWB program successes and failures. The qualitative research phase employed Indigenous Yarning research methods with 20 young urban Aboriginal knowledge-holders to understand how they experienced culture, connection and wellbeing.
The insights found within the PhD provide vital evidence to the community, policymakers and scholars about centrality of culture to wellbeing and the value of listening to Indigenous youth.
Mrs Murrup-Stewart submitted her PhD in September 2020 and began an assistant lecturer role in psychology at the Turner Institute, Monash University in December 2020.
Dr Xinyang Hua (Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne) – Obtaining maximum health outcome benefits with minimum expenditure
Chronic diseases cause more than half of deaths worldwide today and bring a heavy economic burden on both individuals and health systems.
Dr Hua’s research includes six individual studies, covering a wide variety of research topics surrounding the theme of health economics and chronic disease.
Using novel research design, rigorous methodology and statistical analysis, Dr Hua has filled a number of gaps in the existing chronic disease literature and made several important contributions as a result.
In one study, Dr Hua investigated the trend of out-of-pocket expenditure for medical services in Australia. She was able to generate more transparent and informative statistics on medical services out-of-pocket expenditure, which can be used to help facilitate the evaluation on current policies.
Dr Hua’s studies provide important new evidence on the costs of chronic disease and several practical tools to improve resource allocation and the better targeting of treatments for chronic disease.
Dr Hua worked for two years at the University of Oxford as a Researcher in Health Economics, after completing her PhD. She is now a Research Fellow at the Health Economics Unit, University of Melbourne.
Dr Jesse Young (Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne) – Improving the health of people with mental disorders released from prison
People in prison often have poor health, experience social exclusion and economic disadvantages. Mental health disorders, especially severe mental ill-health, are more common among people in prison compared to the general population.
People who are released from prison are at particularly high risk of poor health outcomes, and this risk is increased if there is a pre-existing mental health disorder.
Dr Young’s six globally unique studies show that people with pre-existing mental health disorders experience gaps in transitional service provision and are at increased risk of poor health outcomes compared to those without a mental health disorder after release from prison.
Dr Young’s research makes a compelling case that increased integration between forensic and community healthcare providers would improve the continuity of care and prevent poor health outcomes experienced by people released from prison.
His findings can inform the development of interventions and service responses to improve the continuity of care for people with mental health disorders released from prison.
Dr Young is currently working as a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Emerging Leadership Fellow in the Justice Health Unit at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne.
Page last updated: 24 November 2021