Thursday, 14 November 2013

Prof Anne Abbott recognised at the Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize Ceremony

Adjunct Professor Anne Abbott, from Monash Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, has spoken out about the tough climate for scientists working in Australia. 

Anne was recognised for her outstanding work in stroke prevention at the Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize ceremony in Sydney on Wednesday 13th November, receiving $5000 to pursue her research into stroke prevention. 

She says that the prize money is invaluable to young researchers, who may receive little support from elsewhere.

Anne’s research has shown that lifestyle and medication are more effective, safer and cheaper than surgery or stenting in reducing stroke risk in patients with symptom-free carotid artery disease. “I discovered that publishing my results in 2009 was not enough to change existing health policy or practice,” Anne said. “So I started an international campaign and have had success in initiating improvements in stroke prevention standards around the world.”

“ I've been working the last 12 months without an income and I've only done that because the funding I have received so far has allowed me to become the world leader in my field of stroke prevention,” she told ABC’s the World Today.

“I'm making tremendous gains at the moment. So if I stopped now and because I am a leader, nothing would happen. So this prize money actually does help. Every little bit helps.”

The prize aims to encourage Australia's best young biomedical researchers to stay and build their careers locally.

In the current political atmosphere, moving overseas or into a more highly paid job can be a more attractive option for many young scientists.

In the past two months, the Abbott Government removed the position of science minister from Cabinet, scrapped the Climate Commission, and announced it was slashing hundreds of jobs at the CSIRO.

Actions such as these have signalled a worrying trend away from supporting the sciences in Australia.

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