Melbourne | Public health experts from Australia and India will collaborate on new research about non-communicable, lifestyle-related ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancers in India and other countries in South Asia. ENCORE – Excellence in NonCOmmunicable disease REsearch will train a new generation of researchers in non-communicable disease prevention and control in India and other low- and middle-income countries in South Asia.
ENCORE project lead Professor Brian Oldenburg said that the principal causes of deaths in the world are now lifestyle-related. Chronic, non-communicable conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancers have become the leading causes of deaths in the developing world. Today, 80 per cent of these deaths are people from low- and middle-income countries like India, he said. To address the burden of chronic conditions, there is an urgent need for more research to improve disease prevention and management, Oldenburg said.
ENCORE will be co-led by senior researchers from the University of Melbourne and India’s top public health and medical research institutes. The collaboration partners are: the University of Melbourne; the Public Health Foundation of India; All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS); Christian Medical College and Hospital (Vellore); and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology.
Professor K R Thankappan from Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute in Kerala said that the collaboration will be very significant over the next three years. We anticipate involving almost 40 doctoral and postdoctoral students from the Australian and Indian collaborating partner institutions, he said. Trainees will undertake research exchange, participate in online web conferences, take advanced subjects at one another institutions, participate in annual workshops, attend international conferences and undertake exchanges with top research institutes in the US and UK, Thankappan said.
Announcing that the University of Melbourne will fund the ENCORE project over the next three years, Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis said it was an outstanding example of collaboration between India and Australia. India is such an important research partner for Australia and ENCORE is one of a number of high quality collaborations the University of Melbourne and our Indian partners have established in recent years, said Davis.
In ENCORE there is such a wonderful opportunity to work together with policy makers, clinicians and other health professionals in India to help curb the spread of non-communicable diseases in India and in other countries throughout Asia, Davis said.
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