Hunter-based Greater Bank is one of seven major benefactors recognised at the recent HMRI Awards night on Thursday, 10 November 2016, attended by hundreds of the region’s top researchers.
Greater Bank and its charitable foundation have together provided $1.89 million in funding support to medical research.
In 1998, Greater Bank (then Greater Building Society) provided $25,000 to then HMRI Young Medical Researcher of the Year, Darren Shafren, to fund a study to look at whether the common cold could cure cancer. That and subsequent funding for the cutting edge medical research field of oncolytic virotherapy has helped spawn the commercialisation of Viralytics and more, multi-million dollar, research internationally. The bank’s subsequent funding of local stroke research has since attracted additional funding to become an international multi-centre study looking at new clot-busting drug therapy to revolutionise the way patients worldwide are treated following a stroke .
HMRI Director, Professor Michael Nilsson, said the support from Greater Bank has extended beyond financial support and produced benefits beyond research outcomes. Michael said Greater Bank staff donate their own money through workplace giving and volunteer at HMRI events.
A 2013 social return on investment analysis on the impact of the bank’s funding of HMRI stroke projects showed for every dollar of the $240,000 received from Greater Charitable Foundation for the Improving Patient Selection for Effective Stroke Treatment project, a return of $6.63 was obtained in the generation of additional research grants and better patient outcomes (cost avoided in treating stroke patients).
Greater Bank has funded three fellowships, which has brought leading researchers to the region. Those researchers also become part of the region’s medical workforce, providing clinical services to local patients.
“The support we receive from Greater Bank and other major benefactors is vital to attracting and retaining researchers and other supporters,” Michael said.
“It is also having a real impact on improving healthcare locally and across the world.”
Greater Bank Chairman Wayne Russell accepted the accolade on behalf of the bank’s staff and customers.
Wayne said it is very rewarding to see research that Greater Bank helped to kick-start has gone to the next level of clinical trials and closer to commercialisation.
“More importantly it is exciting that this local research has the potential to help many people locally and world-wide,” Wayne said.
“Our partnership with HMRI, and the support of other generous benefactors, shows why businesses must get behind our local medical research institute and its very talented researchers.”
The other major benefactors that have each given in excess of $1million are:
- Port Waratah Coal Services
- nib Foundation
- Kiriwina Investment Company
- HMRI Life Governor Jennie Thomas
- Thyne Reid Foundation
- Gastronomic Lunch of the Year (Neil Slater)
Hunter-based HMRI is a world-class institute with 1500 medical researchers, students and support staff striving to prevent, treat and defeat a multitude of serious illnesses.