With an eye on the upcoming national election, the Australian government this week announced funding of more than AUD $129 million (USD $92.8 million) in program and enabling grants through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

And it's only the beginning. Health Minister Tony Abbott said funding for health and medical research will total more than $420 million during 2004–2005, more than double the amount distributed in 1999. The grants form part of a multibillion-dollar research funding boost announced in the national budget in May.

Programs investigating preventive health strategies for children and indigenous Australians were the recipients of the largest program grants, while enabling grants were awarded to teams working on epidemiological databases, a phenome bank, twins, brain tissue, breast and prostate cancer, and cell cultures.

The enabling grants scheme is designed to provide support for specific facilities that will enhance the national research effort, Abbott...

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