Call for More Private Philanthropy
27 November 2001 at 12:11 pm
The recipient of the 2001 Ramaciotti medal for excellence in biomedical research, Professor Grant Sutherland, has called for more private philanthropy to boost Australian medical research.
Professor Sutherland, from the Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital in South Australia was awarded the Ramaciotti medal in Melbourne recently in recognition of his work on a condition called Fragile “X” which causes an intellectual handicap.
His research discovered a method of diagnosing Fragile “X” syndrome through studying chromosomes obtained from white blood cells. This discovery meant that laboratories worldwide changed the way they looked at chromosomes and led to the recognition of the syndrome as the most common familial form of intellectual handicap.
In accepting the medal, Professor Sutherland said that while this recognition increases the level of recognition of science and medical research within the community, he hopes it will also assist in attracting future research funds.
He says awards such as this from charitable foundations like Ramaciotti are a boost to researchers in Australia but this is unfortunately all too rare in Australia.
Professor Sutherland says the large medical charities in the US such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute ($A26Billion) and the Wellcome Trust in the UK ($A40Billion) make major contributions to medical research and it is good to see the Ramaciotti Foundation beginning to have a similar impact within Australia.
However he says there are many wealthy Australians who could be putting their money into a charitable trust or setting up their own foundation to assist with ongoing and vital medical research.
The two Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Foundations are managed by Perpetual Trustees and have a combined capital of over $50 million.
The National Manager of Perpetual Charitable Planning Services, Jan Cochrane-Harry says that in 2001 the Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Foundations are making $2.1 million in donations to support Australian biomedical research projects.
Cochrane-Harry says to date the Ramaciotti Foundations have supported over 3000 Australian biomedical projects and since their inception in 1971 have gifted over $37 million to Australian researchers.
She says the generosity of philanthropists Clive and Vera Ramaciotti has provided seed funding for many projects that otherwise may not have been able to secure the necessary finances.
The Ramaciotti medal was introduced by Perpetual six years ago as a way of recognising lifetime contributions to biomedical research.
As well the Ramaciotti Foundations have also announced funding for a new centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research under a first time $1million initiative.
The funding will provide equipment and facilities to set up a centre for collaboration for top research teams at The Alfred Hospital, Baker Medical Research Institute, Monash Institutes of Health, Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, the Peter MacCallum Institute for Cancer Research and many other major groups.
The Director of Cardiovascular Medicine at The Alfred, Professor Garry Jennings says the Centre will be dedicated to studying proteomics (proteins in genes) that will ultimately lead to better treatments for a variety of diseases and will rival the best facilities in the world.
For information on Perpetual Trustees Charitable Planning Services contact Jan Cochrane-Harry on (02) 9229 3925.