Showcasing BIRCH: Frank McGuire and Juliana Addison hear from BIRCH’s Mark Yates about the important medical research being undertaken in Ballarat. Photo: CAROL SAFFER

BIRCH medico eco-system on show

November 28, 2019 BY

AFTER walking around the health and knowledge precinct at the top end of Mair Street, Frank McGuire, Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research, was impressed.

At the invitation of Member for Wendouree, Juliana Addison, Mr McGuire met with Associate Professor Mark Yates for a firsthand explanation of the work carried out by Ballarat Innovation and Research Collaboration for Health.

Mr McGuire said apart from sport, medical research is one of the areas that Australia is seen as world leaders.

“There is one thing about understanding how the system works, but you should always go and meet the people and see it for yourself,” he said. “World class medical research is being done here.

“What we are trying to make sure is, this is particularly a template for different cities, and how do we aggregate the assets, get the value out of the intellectual property and how do we translate that into other cities.”

The Ballarat Innovation and Research Collaboration for Health, BIRCH, was established in 2019 to foster collaboration between health and academic partners to enable on the ground research which can ultimately be applied to patients for better health results.

Executive Director, Associate Professor Yates said BIRCH is a great collaboration in Ballarat that is quite unique.

“[With] six universities with health care interests and two major health services, what we can drive with that sort of engine is real change,” he said. “We know that we should be driving that research into real patient care.

“Ballarat is geographically compact and our health resources clustered, which makes possible the collaborative, broad-based system change typically required to accelerate research that improves patient outcomes.”

Ms Addison said BIRCH has quickly become an important asset for the city.

“This project is putting Ballarat at the forefront of medical research in Australia and I was delighted Frank McGuire could join me here today to see the work firsthand,” she said.