New Funding Boost For Parkinson’s Diseases Research
The announcement that the Government is to match the University of Otago’s $25 million ‘Leading Thinkers’ strategic
academic research programme has given a big boost to the Centre for Parkinson’s Diseases and Movement Disorders at the
Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago.
The Centre was launched late last year through a bequest of $1.2 million to the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation
(CMRF) by the late Cas Van der Veer. Since then Neurologist Professor Tim Anderson has been appointed head of the
Centre, which will be located close to the School of Medicine and Christchurch Hospital.
The Centre is one of 25 which have been identified by the University of Otago as top research priorities for
private-public funding initiatives. As a result of the initiative announced by the Associate Education Minister, Steve
Maharey, the new Centre will now be fully funded. This joint funding process is common in overseas tertiary
institutions, allowing universities to keep pace with international standards of research excellence.
“This is a very positive development for the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Science’s research programme,”
says the Dean, Professor Ian Town. “The new matched funding from government will help establish the School as a leader
in the field of Parkinson’s Diseases and Movement Disorders and further develop clinical services for patients.”
The Centre will be concerned with both research and clinical treatment of Parkinson’s Diseases. The CMRF will also
contribute further funds for research into Parkinson’s Diseases.
Some 6000 people suffer from Parkinson’s Diseases in New Zealand and it is the most common neurological condition for
people over 65; there is no known cure as yet. CMRF director Guy Johnson says thanks to the generosity of the estate of
Mr Cas Van der Veer, the Centre for Parkinson’s Diseases and Movement Disorders will work closely with patient support
groups to build on Canterbury’s strong commitment to helping people with these conditions.