This year has been a very significant and historical year for NICM, with our establishment and move to the Westmead campus. Westmead is an ideal location for Australia's lead institute in integrative medicine research. Positioned in a historical landmark building at Westmead – one of the world’s largest dedicated health and medical research precincts – we have a strong visible presence for our Institute and the important research we do.
Our move to Westmead also coincides with NICM’s recognition by our University Board of Trustees as an official University Research Institute. The University's support and vision for NICM has been and will continue to be strong. The University has provided generous support in the renovation and establishment of NICM at Westmead.
In helping us achieve our vision, we had the pleasure of announcing in 2017 a combined $10 million gift from Marcus and Caroline Blackmore's personal philanthropic trust and Blackmores Limited (representing a commitment of $5 million each). I’m thrilled to announce in this newsletter the generous gift and legacy of a further $6 million by the The Jacka Foundation of Natural Therapies - signed at our October housewarming and completion of Stage 1 building. The gift will support a new world-class conference centre, located on the top floor of our Westmead building, in addition to expanding The Jacka Foundation Integrative Medicine research program at NICM and strengthening research translation.
Judy Jacka, Marcus and Caroline Blackmore are extraordinary philanthropists in their commitment and support of our sector. They share a strong line of sight into the importance of research and education in the future of complementary medicine, and their assistance and support in building these platforms is unique in Australia and leaves a lasting legacy and strong foundation for a future generation of world-class researchers.
NICM Health Research Institute has arrived where we are today thanks to such generous and gracious support from the visionary and ongoing commitment to our research from all our donors, our research partners and academic colleagues.
Government also has an important role to play and the new National Health and Medical Research Council grant processes are a refreshing change that will support further innovation. The reformed regulatory pathways for complementary medicine also encourage and promise greater research investment by industry.
This year has been an intensive year, and there is much to look forward to in 2019, including our Stage 2 completion and official opening - set to take place towards the end of 2019. Stage 2 construction will see The Jacka Foundation Conference Centre and NICM’s new scientific laboratories finished by September 2019.
Planning also continues for the completion of NICM’s Western Sydney Integrative Health clinic, which will provide a unique multidisciplinary health service in integrating evidence-based complementary therapies with mainstream healthcare. We look forward to the launch and opening in 2019.
As you’ll read in our Newsletter we also take this opportunity to celebrate the success and achievements of all our staff and students. We have achieved an extraordinary number of high impact research publications supported by extensive positive media coverage. Several researchers and students have also been awarded prestigious grants and recognitions.
As we close today on our last day for the year, on behalf of the NICM team, we wish you and your loved ones all the very best for a safe and peaceful holiday break and the New Year ahead.
NICM offices are now closed for the holiday break, and will open again Thursday, 3 January 2019, when normal business hours will resume.
Wishing you a relaxing holiday and a healthy, fulfilling 2019.
Professor Alan Bensoussan
19 December 2018