Insurance Commission announces next round of neurotrauma research grants
30 July 2018
The Insurance Commission of Western Australia (Insurance Commission) will fund two new neurotrauma research projects via the Neurotrauma Research Program (NRP) located at the Sarich Neuroscience Research Institute.
These are the second round of projects funded as part of a three-year research funding agreement with the NRP that aims to improve the rehabilitation and independence outcomes of people catastrophically injured in car crashes. The research projects were selected for funding following a competitive application and scientific peer-review process, and commenced on 1 July 2018.
Commission Secretary, Kane Blackman, said that the second round of grant applications demonstrated the high calibre of research that is being undertaken in Western Australia.
“The funding we provide to the Neurotrauma Research Program is a proactive initiative to improve the lives of people injured on the road and manage claims costs.”
“Car crash injuries cost the Insurance Commission hundreds of millions of dollars each year,” he said.
The first project will explore an early identification method for urinary tract infections (UTIs) in people with spinal cord injuries to manage recurrence and long-term urological problems. UTIs are one of the largest causes of Emergency Department presentations and hospital admissions for people with spinal cord injuries. The research team led by Professor Sarah Dunlop includes scientists and clinicians from Fiona Stanley Hospital, Royal Perth Hospital, The University of Western Australia (UWA) and Perth Urology Clinic.
The second project will assess the effects of magnetic stimulation to enhance brain plasticity following a spinal cord injury to improve forelimb function including control, accuracy and strength. The project will involve Associate Professor Jennifer Rodger, Associate Professor Stuart Hodgetts and Professor Alan Harvey from the Perron Institute and UWA.
Professor Bryant Stokes, Chair of the NRP highlighted the impact of the vital research program since its inception 20 years ago.
“Since 1998 the NRP, through various funding streams, has facilitated over $15 million to researchers to help improve the outcomes, and find new methods of treatment, for Western Australians with acquired brain and spinal cord injuries.”
“This is the second year of a three year partnership agreement between NRP and the Insurance Commission and it is hoped that ground-breaking research funded through this partnership will translate to more positive outcomes for Western Australians who sustain spinal cord injuries at twice the national average,” Professor Stokes said.
The funding of these initiatives follows an increase in care costs for the Insurance Commission after the introduction of the lifetime care scheme for people catastrophically injured in car crashes in 2016.