The Menzies Institute for Medical Research is celebrating its contribution to the University of Tasmania’s outstanding success in the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) rankings.

In the fields of clinical sciences, neurosciences, human movement and sports science and ophthalmology and optometry, the University was evaluated to be “well above world standard”, the highest possible ranking.

The University was ranked “at world standard” in the areas of public health and health services and cardiovascular medicine and haematology.

The outstanding success in the clinical sciences area reflects Menzies’ focus on chronic disease and the diseases of ageing that are prevalent in Tasmania, particularly osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and multiple sclerosis.

Success in the human movement and sports science category reflects the focus on exercise physiology and research into the health benefits of physical activity.

In the neurosciences area Menzies and the University’s Faculty of Health conduct research in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, neurodevelopment, brain trauma and stroke.

This ERA round is the first time the University has been ranked in ophthalmology and optometry. The achievement of “well above world standard” reflects the recruitment of outstanding researchers to Menzies and the Faculty of Health and the university’s research into glaucoma, diabetic ocular complications, corneal diseases and congenital cataract, with a particular focus on the genetics of eye diseases and building on Tasmanian genealogical resources.

Professor Alison Venn, who chaired the University’s ERA submission sub-committee for medical and health sciences and who will take up the role of Menzies Director in the New Year, said the rankings underlined the steady upward trajectory of the Institute’s research output.

The highest possible ranking of “well above world standard” in the clinical sciences duplicated that area’s success in the last ERA round in 2012.

“In all other areas relevant to Menzies the ranking has improved,” Professor Venn said. “This reflects our ability to attract world-class researchers and also our determination to maintain a close focus on those diseases that have particular impact in Tasmania.

“With good reason we are extremely proud of our research record at Menzies and it is gratifying to see this acknowledged at this very high level.

“This success story is also supported by our recent gains of competitive grants in the areas of eye disease, osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, cardiovascular disease and exercise physiology.”

The ERA rankings are a comprehensive quality evaluation of all research produced in Australian universities against national and international benchmarks. They are determined and moderated by committees of distinguished researchers from Australia and overseas.
Miranda Harman Marketing and Communications Manager Menzies Institute for Medical Research University of Tasmania