A UK research academic with distinguished credentials in clinical governance and health technology assessment has been announced as the incoming Director of the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), following a successful international recruitment drive.
Professor Thomas (Tom) Walley currently heads the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society at the University of Liverpool, having formerly served as Director of the Health Technology Assessment program for Britain’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
He will commence his HMRI post in early November, replacing Professor Michael Nilsson who was recently appointed as Global Innovation Chair of the University of Newcastle’s Centre for Innovative Technologies in Rehabilitation Settings (CITRS).
HMRI Board Chair, Kyle Loades said Thomas’ exceptional leadership qualities, strategic vision and entrepreneurial acumen will help take HMRI to new heights as the institute celebrates its 20th anniversary and looks beyond.
“The HMRI Board found the right person in Michael Nilsson back in 2011 and we’ve attracted another global leader of the highest calibre to succeed him,” Kyle said.
“It followed an exhaustive recruitment process that unearthed an outstanding field of candidates.
“Thomas is a highly experienced physician, pharmacologist and administrator with a broad understanding of the translational research landscape through his leadership of the Health Technology Assessment Program.
“This program grew almost sevenfold to become the largest funding stream for clinical research in the UK. I’m confident Thomas can continue HMRI’s growth trajectory in both research scope and funding, capitalising on the platform that Michael and his team have laid over the past six years.
“At the same time, we congratulate Michael and sincerely thank him for his six years of service as HMRI Director and for remaining as Director during the recruitment process, ensuring a smooth transition.”
Thomas also oversees NIHR programs in public health research, health services delivery and organisation, promoting the closer linkage of clinical practice and evaluation.
“I have used all of these positions to promote the greater use of research evidence in healthcare policy, which has led to patient and public benefits,” Thomas said.
“Now I’m very excited to move to Newcastle and to help develop HMRI to deliver its potential for improving the health of the people of the Hunter Region and Australia.”
HMRI Research Council Chair Laureate, Professor Paul Foster will be acting as interim Sirector as Michael is currently in Europe and will transition to CITRS upon his return.
IMAGE | Professor Thomas Walley has been announced as the incoming Director of the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI).
The Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) is a translational research institute. Since 1998, its pioneering partnership with the University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Local Health District has delivered key translational health and medical research and technology closely aligned to community health needs.
Throughout Newcastle and the Hunter, more than 1200 clinical and biomedical researchers and support staff are employed across seven HMRI Research Programs, striving to prevent, cure and treat a diverse range of serious illnesses by translating research findings made in the laboratory and through advanced imaging techniques, into real health treatments and preventative strategies for the community.
HMRI provides vital funding and facilities to fuel research, but the heart and soul of the Institute are people, the researchers, the generous donors and supporters, the committed volunteers, and the patients who participate in trials and ultimately benefit from the research results.