Mr Ben Cowen at the launch of the Fund named after his late father.
The Burnet Institute has welcomed the support of Federal Parliamentarians at the official launch of the prestigious Sir Zelman Cowen Fellowship Fund, which will raise money to provide fellowships for young Australian researchers.
At a function at Parliament House in Canberra, Cabinet Secretary, the Hon Mark Dreyfus QC, MP and Leader of the Opposition the Hon Tony Abbott MP were among the key speakers at the launch of the Fund, named in honour of the late Sir Zelman Cowen AK, GCMG, GCVO, QC, DCL, former Governor-General of Australia and Patron of the Burnet Institute.
Photo: Cabinet Secretary, the Hon Mark Dreyfus QC, MP and Leader of the Opposition the Hon Tony Abbott MP at the launch. Courtesy of Leigh Atkinson.
The research fellowships will address many of the significant issues facing women and children in resource-poor settings and help reduce the numbers dying during or shortly after childbirth.
Mr Ben Cowen, youngest son of Sir Zelman encouraged those who had been touched by Zelman or his work and want to remember him or his contribution in a really meaningful way, to support the Sir Zelman Cowen Fellowship Fund.
“Zelman was, and his family remains, honoured by the Burnet, because this fund enables the privileged to do the right thing by the disadvantaged and the Burnet Institute has the capacity to be able to make a difference,” he said.
“In Papua New Guinea a woman has more than 100 times the chance of dying during childbirth than in Australia and we need to address this terrible statistic,” Mr Cowen said.
Burnet Institute Director and CEO, Professor Brendan Crabb, said the Fellowships would provide a much-needed boost for mid-career researchers who face a significant lack of career funding opportunities.
Patron-in-Chief of the Sir Zelman Cowen Fellowship Fund is Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce, AC, CVO, Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia and Lady Anna Cowen is supporting the initiative as Fund Ambassador.
“This is an important initiative of the Burnet Institute and will enhance its efforts to improve maternal and child health especially in resource-poor environments,” Ms Bryce said.