Image: Burnet Institute Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb presents to the AGM
Burnet Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC has described 2016 as a record year for the Institute on every front.
Addressing the Institute’s 28th Annual General Meeting at the AMREP Theatre, Professor Crabb said 2016 had continued the Institute’s momentum of growth in output.
There had been new records set in publications and NHMRC grants, an “enormous” number of contracts awarded to build capacity, and a bolder approach to commercial activities.
He singled out the new strategic plan Burnet 2020, formulated throughout 2016, as one with “deep buy-in from staff and supporters”.
“Our vision and mission is sharper and we have very defined five year goals.”
Burnet Director, Mr Ben Foskett presented the 2016 Annual Report at the AGM, paying tribute to the Institute’s breadth and efficiency in its 30th anniversary year.
“The staff at this institute do a great job,” he said.
Professor Crabb said it was a special time for the organisation, with global challenges presenting new opportunities.
“An organisation like ours sits at the interface between research and implementation – we are able to take advantage of this,” he said.
Growing pressures to maintain or improve outcomes for the same funding, combined with new demands for evidence-based practice, would play to the Institute’s strengths, he predicted.
“We know the way to do this is to embed a research, knowledge, evidence-based culture,” he said.
“Even in international spheres … we’re seeing a narrative around the use of knowledge and evidence to drive expenditure, which is so different to 10 years ago.
Burnet’s point of advantage is its technical breadth, as it united people from different backgrounds and disciplines to work on complex problems.
“Our challenge is to use that technical breadth to the max,” he said.
One ongoing challenge was the funding of indirect costs, he said. Government research grants for direct costs were always welcome, but raised questions about how then to fund accompanying indirect costs.
Image: (L-R) Jayden and Steeve Beever present the Jim and Margaret Beever Fellowship to Dr Megan Lim
He said the Institute was working to broaden its revenue base, with $6.3 million in philanthropic income in 2016, and a continuing pursuit of commercial activities.
With the world seeing “incredible” improvements in mortality rates of the under-fives, it was a time for hope.
“The world is the best it’s ever been to be a human right now. We want to continue that momentum.”
Also at today’s AGM, the Jim and Margaret Beever Fellowship was presented to Dr Megan Lim for her work around the role of technology in young people’s health.
The prestigious 2017 Gust-McKenzie Medal was presented to Dr Joe Doyle for his research into viral hepatitis.
Dr Doyle, Burnet Institute’s Deputy Program Director, Disease Elimination and Co-head, Viral Hepatitis Research, was awarded the Medal for his outstanding research in the epidemiology, management and prevention of blood borne viruses (HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B).
Named in honour of the founding directors of the Burnet and Austin Research Institutes, Professor Ian Gust AO and Emeritus Professor Ian McKenzie AM, the award is presented annually to an outstanding mid-career Burnet staff member in recognition of excellence in research and/or public health.
You can download the 2016 Annual Report here.
For a full copy of the 2016 Financial Report click here.