Dr Koya Ayonrinde Wins Emerging Leaders Fellowship

19 August 2021: Dr Oyekoya (Koya) Ayonrinde from the Universtity of Western Australia’s Medical School, one of the Raine Study’s frequent collaborators and a leader of the Raine Study’s Cardiometabolic Special Interest Group, has been awarded an Emerging Leaders Fellowship at the WA Near-Miss Awards (WANMA) announced earlier this month.

The WANMA program supports emerging WA researchers who narrowly missed out on recent National Health and Medical Reserch Council (NHMRC) grants.

For emerging researchers, securing a NHMRC grant is a critical career milestone, paving the way for further competitive funding.

The Emerging Leadership Fellowships were awarded to the four top-ranked near-miss applicants for the NHMRC Investigator Grants. Emerging Leaders Fellowships funding will be used by the recipients to conduct the research they proposed to the NHMRC, while also reapplying for further support.

Dr Ayonrinde was awarded $231,208 to determine factors that underpin poor health outcomes related to the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and abdominal pain from adolescence into adulthood. Data from the Raine Study forms the basis of Dr Ayonrinde’s research.

“Many health problems diagnosed in adults have risk factors that were unknowingly present or developed during childhood or adolescence. This is true for fatty liver, irritable bowel syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease,” Dr Ayonrinde said.

“Thousands of Western Australians have made research into finding risk factors for various health problems possible, by their dedicated participation in the Raine Study over the last 30 years.”

The projects are supported with funding from the WA Department of Health, and were announced by Health and Medical Research Minister Roger Cook. In total, $5 million has been awarded to help Western Australian researchers achieve a competitive advantage to secure a highly sought after NHMRC grant.

The WANMA program is funded by the McGowan Government’s Future Health Research and Innovation (FHRI) Fund, which provides a secure source of funding to drive health and medical research, innovation and commercialisation.

Forty-one researchers received 2021 WANMA grants, each to the value of $74,000, to assist the recipients to enhance their application for resubmission to a future NHMRC selection round.

Comments from Minister for Health and Medical Research Roger Cook:

“The McGowan Government’s Future Health Research and Innovation Fund is providing a strategic funding injection that will set our emerging research leaders on a stable, self-sustaining career pathway.

“In the long-term it is anticipated that the researchers being supported will contribute to finding new ways to keep people healthy and cure disease, and to establishing WA as a leader in health and medical research.

“It is extremely exciting to have such talented researchers here in Western Australia and the McGowan Government is committed to supporting them to realise their full potential.”

The complete list of WAMNA recipients can be found at https://fhrifund.health.wa.gov.au/News-and-Events/2021/08/12/$5-million-to-boost-emerging-researcher-bids-for-major-Australian-Government-funding

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