Hunter Medical Research Institute celebrates its 20th anniversary today marking two decades of ground-breaking achievement and community engagement.
The organisation began in 1998 as a bold vision to deliver patient-focused research and improve community wellbeing in the Hunter Region of NSW.
Since 1998 HMRI has evolved into a world-class institute which sees 1700 medical researchers, students and support staff striving to prevent, treat and defeat a multitude of serious illnesses.
HMRI facilitates that by seeding start-up studies and fostering a flow of information and innovation back and forth between scientists, clinicians and public health professionals.
The organisation has been hugely successful in attracting top medical specialists, while collaborating with other leading institutes and industries helps to fast-track the provision of new and better health solutions.
The opening of a state-of-the-art medical research facility adjacent to John Hunter Hospital in 2012 consolidated those efforts.
For the first time the region’s major teaching hospital had a research facility associated with it, thus enhancing the integration of research with clinical services.
HMRI was created by combining the research prowess and aspiration of the University of Newcastle, the clinical and treatment capabilities of the Hunter New England Health and the foresight and commitment of a community that undertook to raise additional money for medical research to be conducted in the Hunter.
Governance was delivered via a board consisting of three representatives from each of the University, the Health Service and the community together with the Executive Director of HMRI, the Chair of the HMRI Foundation, and an independent Chair with an additional vote if ever needed
The HMRI Executive oversees the operational activities of the organisation, and ensures HMRI operates within a strong set of commercial and financial management governance principles.
The HMRI Research Council advises the Board on scientific matters and research management processes, ensuring that Hunter research is relevant and of high quality, and is conducted in accordance with the National Code of Conduct for Health and Medical Research.
HMRI researchers rely on philanthropic donations from the community, along with Australian Government funding and the fundraising efforts of the HMRI Foundation, HMRI Sydney Foundation and a number of authorised affiliate foundations to support research projects, equipment, scholarships, fellowships and travel grants.
The HMRI Foundation is a group of Hunter community leaders, who volunteer their time and expertise to assist with HMRI’s fundraising activities. The Foundation reports to the HMRI Board, and the Chair of the Foundation is invited to be a member of the HMRI Board.
The HMRI Sydney Foundation is focused on growing the institute’s fundraising reach in Australia’s biggest city, reaching out to Hunter “ex-pats” and other community-minded individuals who have their “Head in Sydney and Heart in the Hunter”.
Internal grant funding is allocated through a rigorous peer-review process and invested in areas of highest public need.
Infrastructure funding is provided by the NSW Office for Medical Research through the Medical Research Support Program, and the NSW Department of Health through the Capacity Building Infrastructure Grant Program.
HMRI can be rightly proud of the processes it has put in place to establish a world class medical research institute in a regional area, advancing Newcastle’s emerging identity as an intellectual centre of excellence on the international stage.