An endowed professorial chair is recognised as a University's finest scholar in their field of expertise. They provide a research focal point in the country they are located, helping to attract and retain the brightest researchers and spur colleagues to their finest efforts - benefiting the entire Australian community.
Latest figures from Cancer Australia reveal that 2009-2011 funding for bowel cancer specific research was $47.8 million, making the $8.9 million a significant injection of funding into the research mix.i
Funded largely by the charity's community fundraisers, the announcement comes as government funding for medical research is under review and the NHMRC chief has highlighted the limited number of grants available to medical researchers.
Bowel Cancer Australia chief executive Mr Julien Wiggins said the size of the funding commitment will enable the chair and ancillary support to continue in perpetuity.
"It's good news in tough times. Our funding will expand Australia's research capacity and we hope the Chair will be a game changer for bowel cancer research in this country," he added.
Bowel cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Australia.
"Changing that fact requires significant, long-term funding for dedicated bowel cancer research and that's what we've provided."
"Screening can help with early detection but it won't eliminate bowel cancer. Research is the only way to discover a cure," said Mr Wiggins.
The Chair, to be named the Lawrence Penn Chair in Bowel Cancer Research after one of Australia's oldest bowel cancer survivors, will be based at the University of Sydney's Northern Clinical School Campus.
"We are extraordinarily grateful to Bowel Cancer Australia for their support," said the Dean of Sydney Medical School, Professor Bruce Robinson.
"In times when national research funding is increasingly difficult to secure, we rely more than ever on funds from community groups and individuals to undertake the research which is essential if we are to better prevent and treat bowel cancer."
"The University of Sydney has many world class cancer researchers and clinicians. This philanthropic support for bowel cancer means we can build on our existing programs and make a greater contribution to improving cancer outcomes," said Professor Robinson.
Mr Wiggins said that establishing the Chair will start with an international search in the first half of this year to attract a world-class research leader.
Bowel Cancer Australia relies solely on the generosity of community and corporate supporters as it receives no government funding. Please support Bowel Cancer Australia's ongoing research efforts to help save lives and to improve the health and wellbeing of people living with bowel cancer. To make a donation please phone 1800 555 494 or make an online donation.