Women Scientists To Take The Lead With $1.25 Million Fellowship

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1st July 2009, 05:19pm - Views: 685






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Media Release


1 July 2009

Women scientists to take the lead with $1.25 million fellowship


A fellowship to encourage outstanding female scientists to take up leadership positions in

medical research has been established by the new Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall

Institute, Professor Douglas Hilton.


Professor Hilton, who today started his directorship of the institute, has made setting up this

fellowship his first initiative, reflecting his strong desire to encourage more women to pursue

lifetime careers in medical research. The fellowship is named after the institute’s outgoing

Director Professor Suzanne Cory.


The $1.25 million Cory Fellowship is open to Australian women wanting a first opportunity to

lead a laboratory.  Whether they completed their PhD two years ago or 20 years ago we

encourage them to apply.


Professor Hilton is passionate about encouraging younger scientists, particularly women, to take

up leadership positions. “There are many talented young scientists in Australia, some of whom

have outstanding research skills, but the current career paths for scientists are so linear that

there are few opportunities for these people to become independent until they reach their 40s

or 50s,” he said.


“I am particularly concerned about the under-representation of women at senior levels. About

60 per cent of PhD students at WEHI are women and similar numbers are found at other

medical research institutes but we don’t see anything like this representation at the top. 


“We need to remove barriers to women continuing in science. I suspect many excellent

leadership candidates simply do not put themselves forward and I hope this fellowship

encourages them to do so.”


“They should be inspired by the achievements of Professor Cory who has made a stellar

contribution to WEHI over more than 30 years, especially in her past 13 years as Director.”


On hearing of the new Fellowship, Professor Cory said, “I am honoured and thrilled about this

special Fellowship. Many women have made superb contributions to science. And yet, even

today, too few women make science their life's vocation. Australia needs all the scientific skills

it can muster to tackle the huge health and environmental problems that lie ahead. We cannot

afford to lose 50 per cent of our capability. I hope this Fellowship will encourage more young

women to stay in science and fulfill their potential.”


The Cory Fellowship will provide the successful applicant with $250,000 a year over five years

to establish a laboratory at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. The institute is looking for

women scientists who work in areas such as diabetes, immunology, cancer genetics,

epigenetics, bioinformatics, stem cells, infectious diseases, and systems biology. Applications

will open in September and the inaugural Cory Fellow will be announced before the end of the

year. 


The Cory fellowship brings to four the number of Leadership Fellowships offered by WEHI. The

fellowships are named after some of the institute’s most distinguished scientists: Professor Sir

Gustav Nossal, Professor Donald Metcalf, Professor Jacques Miller and Professor Suzanne Cory.


For more information contact… Michelle Trevorrow, Head, Fundraising, Communications and

External Relations; Ph: +61 3 9345 2639; Mob: 0400 603 150; Email: trevorrow@wehi.edu.au

****

About Professor Doug Hilton


Professor Hilton, 45, is the sixth Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in its ninety-four year

history. The University of Melbourne has also confirmed his appointment as Research Professor of Medical

Biology and Head of the Department of Medical Biology. Professor Hilton has received many prizes and

awards for his contribution to medical research, including the Amgen Medical Researcher Award, the

inaugural Commonwealth Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research and the

GSK Australia Award for Research Excellence.  At the age of 39 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian

Academy of Science and currently serves on this organization’s Council. In 2008, he was recognised as

one of the NHMRC’s “Ten great minds in health and medical research.”


About Professor Suzanne Cory


Professor Suzanne Cory is the outgoing Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.

She has been celebrated for her work in cancer research and immunology. She was appointed a

Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia in 1999.


About the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute


Established in 1915, affiliated with and a close collaborator of The University of Melbourne and The Royal

Melbourne Hospital, the Institute’s mission is ‘Mastery of Disease through Discovery’. Its research teams

have been responsible for discoveries that have transformed the way the scientists think about the world

and the way patients are treated. Today, researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute are focused on

three big medical challenges: cancer, autoimmunity and infectious diseases. The Institute is located in

Parkville, just north of the Melbourne CBD in Victoria, where it will soon be housed in a state-of-the-art

new building.






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