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                                                ANNA BURKE MP 
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Federal Member for Chisholm

9 July 2013

$10 MILLION TO CONTINUE BIONIC VISION RESEARCH

The Rudd Labor Government is providing an additional $10 million in funding to allow two Australian research teams to continue their ground-breaking work to make the bionic eye a reality.

This funding is in addition to the $50 million previously provided for the project and means the research program can be extended for another year.

Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr, and Member for Chisholm Anna Burke today announced that Bionic Vision Australia (BVA), led by the University of Melbourne, will receive $8 million and Monash Vision Group (MVG), led by Monash University, will receive $1.9 million.

Senator Kim Carr said both research teams are working on different methods to develop bionic vision, and both have made major breakthroughs.

“This research could lead to one of the most important medical breakthroughs in history," Senator Kim Carr said.

"The extended funding will help these world-class researchers come a step closer to giving, and restoring, sight to many thousands of people around the world,” Senator Kim Carr said.

An independent review into the initiative this year found that both BVA and MVG have made exceptional advances.

Member for Chisholm Anna Burke MP said the work—in collaboration with other universities and research bodies—was progressing with astounding success, and remarkable speed.
“Bionic Vision Australia has successfully performed the first human implantation of an early prototype bionic eye and here in my own electorate, Monash Vision Group recently unveiled its bionic eye prototype, with trials to commence next year,” Ms Burke said.

“This continued investment will help ensure Australia maintains its position as a global leader in bionics.”

Both the original funding and today’s funding extensions have been awarded under the ARC’s Research in Bionic Vision Science and Technology Initiative, which was developed in response to the Australia 2020 Summit.

BVA is developing technology that implants a device in the rear of the eye (the retina) to enable vision to blind patients suffering from degenerative retinal conditions. MVG is developing a device to implant on the visual cortex of the brain, providing treatment for progressive blindness.

For more information, visit the ARC website, Bionic Vision Australia, or Monash Vision Group website.

Media contact:
Fiona Bastian (Carr) - 0427 092 100
Alastair Gowing (Burke) - (03) 9802 0566