People predating 20th century
Health and medical research has significantly contributed to improvements in human health and wellbeing throughout the world, and Australia has played its part.As a result of this research, Australians have benefited by remaining healthier for longer through better treatments and improved health care, and from contributions to national wealth through the development of innovative industries.
Examples include observations on smallpox in the late 1700s, successful smallpox vaccination by John Savage and Thomas Jamison in the early 1800s, and Harry Allen's study of the pathology of syphilis as well as John Thomas's work on hydatid disease in the late 1800s.2 In 1862, the University of Melbourne began teaching its first medical students, followed by the University of Sydney in 1883, and other states and territories over time.They’re stuck in the late 20th century, the Arrogant Age, with its love of gigantism in architecture and art.Frank Gehry’s 1997 Guggenheim Bilbao, a sky-reacher with a sasquatch footprint, scaled to accommodate colossal Richard Serra sculptures, epitomized that love. Gehry’s 2014 Vuitton Foundation museum in Paris, a glass galleon packed with bland blue-chip cargo, reconfirmed it.Despite the significant role of research in Australia, there have been few specific compilations on the Australian history of health and medical research.This article is a brief overview of Australian health and medical research, with the role of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) as a main focus.
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The NHMRC was also one of the earliest funders to introduce specific criteria for peer review into its grant assessment practices, predating the recent call for this in the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment.31 The success of Australian researchers in contributing to major advances continues in this century.