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$10 million gift from Marcus and Caroline Blackmore to advance complementary medicine research
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$10 million gift from Marcus and Caroline Blackmore to advance complementary medicine research

Western Sydney University’s NICM Health Research Institute (NICM) has welcomed a major philanthropic donation of $10 million from the Blackmore Family Foundation, Marcus and Caroline Blackmore’s personal philanthropic trust.

This transformational gift will strengthen NICM’s research capabilities and support research targeting high priority chronic disease areas where complementary medicine promises the most impact.

The donation was announced at a special event, attended by Western Sydney University’s Chancellor, Professor Jennifer Westacott AO and Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO, together with Chair, Blackmore Family Foundation, Dr Marcus Blackmore AM, and the Minister for Medical Research, the Hon. David Harris MP.

Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO, acknowledged Dr Blackmore and the Foundation for their ongoing commitment to research in integrative and complementary medicine, as part of an evening that brought together research, philanthropy, industry and government.

“This significant gift from Dr Blackmore and the Blackmore Family Foundation, longstanding supporters of the NICM Health Research Institute since 2007, is an example of collaboration between universities and philanthropists to drive research and innovation,” said Professor Glover.

Dr Marcus Blackmore AM, Chair, Blackmore Family Foundation, said: “NICM Health Research Institute has grown into a world leading institute and is a game changer not just for industry, but also for the 70 per cent of Australians who take complementary medicines each year. The Blackmore Family Foundation is truly proud of our long-standing involvement with Western Sydney University and NICM.”

According to the Securing the Future of Complementary Medicines Manufacturing in Australia report, developed by NICM in collaboration with KPMG, the nation’s complementary medicine manufacturing and export sector is thriving. However, there are pressing challenges including the need for more skilled workers, greater research collaboration, manufacturing capability, sovereign access to raw materials and increasing international competition.

As part of the response to these critical challenges, NICM has launched a state-of-the-art small-scale Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility. This facility will play a pivotal role in producing clinical trial batches to aid researchers and industry, facilitating small-scale commercial batch production to support SMEs in market testing, and providing essential GMP training in herbal medicine manufacturing to address workforce shortages.

Professor Dennis Chang, Director of NICM Health Research Institute, said the $6 billion complementary medicines manufacturing industry stands at a crucial crossroads.

“Australia is uniquely positioned to leverage its research, innovation and manufacturing strengths to substantially grow skilled jobs and regional exports in complementary medicines manufacturing. However, further investment in clinical trials is needed to address the growing burden of ageing and chronic diseases, and to shift the focus to prevention and to helping to support individual participation in health and wellbeing,” said Professor Chang.

“The new Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility within NICM is an example of innovation in the sector that will facilitate clinical trials and essential training, aiding researchers and industry. We welcome the opportunity for strengthened collaboration, particularly with government, to help the sector thrive further.”


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