Philanthropists Push for Alzheimer’s Research
28 August 2014 at 12:30 pm
Prominent Australian philanthropists, through the Myer Family Company, have announced a $10 million philanthropic push to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Through their Yulgilbar Foundation, Sarah Myer and Baillieu Myer, the son of Sidney Myer, have called for donations from other philanthropists.
They said they would match any donation offered, with Rupert Murdoch and Lindsay Fox becoming the first to pledge.
Along with their philanthropic announcement the Myer Family has also unveiled post-doctoral excellence awards to top-up the salaries of five young researchers who are working to cure, prevent or slow down the advancement of Alzheimer’s.
The first recipients of the awards were Dr Scott Ayton and Dr Yen Ying Lim from the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Dr Karen Mather from the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing at the University of New South Wales, Dr Stephanie Rainey-Smith from Edith Cowan university and Dr Adele Woodhouse from the University of Tasmania.
Each recipient will receive $20,000 to enable them to extend the scope of their studies.
Baillieu Myer said the funding announcement would coincide with an Australian Government investment into dementia research of $200 million over the next five years.
He said an Australian was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every six minutes.
“We think that this is a great opportunity for private philanthropy to value-add to the government program by bringing the innovation and young minds into the mix,” Myer said.
“We aim to assist in the discovery of drugs that will prevent, delay the onset, slow down the progress and ultimately, cure Alzheimer’s disease.”
The Yulgilbar program will build international connections and will create a network of researchers, according to international advisor to Yulgilbar, Dame Bridget Ogilvie.
“If we attract and support the new blood into Alzheimer’s laboratories we may fast-
track the new ideas and left-of field innovation that often leads to a breakthrough,” Dame Bridget said.
According to the Yulgilbar Foundation 332,000 Australians have Alzheimer’s disease and that figure is expected to triple by 2050.