Steve Wesselingh appointed as new CEO of NHMRC

Wednesday, 07 June, 2023

Steve Wesselingh appointed as new CEO of NHMRC

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has appointed Professor Steve Wesselingh as the next Chief Executive Officer.

Wesselingh brings a wealth of medical experience and clinical leadership, as well as national and international research success.

He has successfully led and managed large, complex organisations and brings invaluable insights through his Presidency of the Australian Academy of Health Medical Science and as current Chair of the NHMRC Research Committee.

Through the NHMRC, Wesselingh will oversee strategic investment in health and medical research, evidence-based health advice and the ethical practice and conduct of medical research, including improving gender equality in health and medical research.

Wesselingh’s term is for three years.

The government thanked outgoing CEO Professor Anne Kelso AO, whose term expires on 26 July 2023. Kelso was first appointed to the role in April 2015. Her leadership and outstanding contribution — nationally and internationally — leaves a substantial and ongoing legacy.

Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler said, “Australia, like the global community, faces many health challenges including cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and dementia, and the NHMRC is a world-class institution at the forefront of discovering new ways to tackle these and other health conditions.

“On behalf of the Australian Government I welcome Professor Wesselingh to this role and thank Professor Anne Kelso AO for her outstanding leadership, which has left the organisation in such a strong position.”

Wesselingh said he was deeply humbled by the opportunity to provide leadership for Australia’s flourishing health and medical research sector, following in the footsteps of a true great of the industry in Kelso.

“Anne’s legacy across a range of areas — in particular for gender equality and the reimagining of Australia’s complex grant program — is an inspiration for me to continue reforms that empower health and medical researchers in Australia to continue the vital work they do to improve health and wellbeing for people everywhere.

Kelso said, “I am personally delighted that Professor Steve Wesselingh will be the next CEO of NHMRC. He has been a key advisor to NHMRC over many years, most recently as a member of NHMRC Council and chair of NHMRC’s Research Committee, and he will build on that engagement to take the agency to the next level.

“It has been an extraordinary privilege to serve as NHMRC CEO over the last 8 years and to influence how we fund research and foster its translation. I have been inspired by the community’s support for health and medical research and the deep commitment of Australian researchers to their work to improve the human condition. With the critical need for evidence to inform sound and equitable public policy and clinical care, I look forward to seeing today’s research lead to better health tomorrow.”

Image credit: Somsuk

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