Updated on 5 December 2012
However, since the 2008 global financial crisis, there has been an on-going dearth of venture capital in Australia for these experiments. To address this issue, the Australian Government has recently invested $35 million in infrastructure in the Translating Health Discovery into Clinical Applications initiative. Specifically, four investments were made that are being managed by the not-for-profit company, Therapeutic Innovation Australia (TIA).
One of these investments, the TIA-Queensland Node comprises the CIPDD and four collaborating translational research Centers located in South-East Queensland that have complementary nonclinical and clinical research capabilities, viz the UQ Diamantina Institute, Griffith health Institute (GHI) at Griffith University, UQ Center for Clinical Research and Queensland Center for Clinical Trials & Biostatistics at UQ. The mission of the TIA-Queensland Node is to provide a facilitated pathway to assist Australian life sciences discovery researchers to progress their inventions across the so-called ‘valley of death' towards commercialization. Co-investment funding of $2 million was provided by the Queensland government in 2012 for operational funds and to undertake four ‘exemplar' translational research projects that will begin to deliver commercial returns within five years.
However, things are not that dim either. Strategic investment by various governments has attracted a critical mass of talented and committed individuals across many disciplines to the sector. An advice which Professor Smith gives to the young researchers of this generation is that "Find your passion, become an expert in one or more sub-disciplines in the field and collaborate with experts in complementary areas as progress is often made at the interfaces between established sub-disciplines. Also, think ‘outside the box', set stretch goals and make a plan. It will be a bumpy ride with many ‘ups and downs' but if you maintain focus and stay the course, you will be well-placed to fulfill your dreams."
Professor Smith hopes to continue her role as executive director of her center and work in collaboration with the TIA-Queensland Node colleagues to provide a facilitated pathway to assist Australian life sciences discovery researchers to move their inventions through various nonclinical and clinical development steps to the point where they will attract investment for commercialization into products for improving human health.