$2.5m for a new Centre of Research Excellence in stroke management

Leading stroke researchers from The Florey Institute will be part of a new Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) aiming to deliver better healthcare for stroke patients.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recently announced that the ‘Centre of Research Excellence to Accelerate Stroke Trial Innovation and Translation’ would be one of 14 new CREs receiving $2.5 million.

The Florey’s Professor Vincent Thijs and Dr Kate Hayward will both take on Chief Investigator roles within this CRE, collaborating with Professor Richard Lindley at University of Sydney. Professor Julie Bernhardt from The Florey will also be joining the CRE as an Associate Investigator.

Part of a nationwide collaboration, the CRE brings together key research partners from 12 Universities and Research Institutes, as well as lived experience advocates and the Stroke Foundation.

Dr Hayward, who is currently leading a project testing new ways to regain arm movement and communication after stroke, said the CRE will transform stroke research in Australia.

“While we have seen incredible improvements in acute stroke care over the past three decades, progress in rehabilitation, aphasia and psychological interventions has been much more limited,” said Dr Hayward.

“The CRE has a key focus on developing robust evidence more efficiently so what we learn can have an impact faster. We want to see our research translate into better clinical care and support across Australia – and people with lived experience will be able to take part in our research studies even if they live regionally.”

The team hope to continue to develop work produced by a CRE in rehabilitation and brain recovery, which was led by the Florey from 2015-2020. As well as building several important initiatives, that CRE also focused on nurturing the next generation of leaders in stroke research.

Professor Thijs, with more than 15 years of experience in stroke research, said training the next generation of stroke researchers will be an important part of the CRE in stroke management.

“Stroke incidence remains a common cause of death and disability in Australia, with one in four people experiencing a stroke in their lifetime,” said Professor Thijs.

“By supporting, educating and developing the next generation of clinical researchers, we can ensure that current knowledge informs the innovation that we will see more of in this space. Ultimately this means we can continue to improve stroke prevention, treatment and recovery to improve the lives of stroke patients in new and exciting ways.”