Clifford Chair in Neural Engineering

February 15 / 152

Mr Leigh Clifford AO, Mrs Sue Clifford and their family are donating $5 million to the University to endow The Clifford Chair in Neural Engineering, taking the Believe campaign donations to the significant milestone of $400 million.

The Chair will help facilitate the development of new medical point of care devices, providing clinicians with the information required to undertake faster, more reliable diagnoses and better management of patients, especially those located in Indigenous and rural communities.

It will also work across a number of disciplines to deliver new biotechnologies, treatments and improved engineered systems that replicate biological networks.

Mr Clifford, the current Chairman of Qantas Ltd and former CEO of Rio Tinto, is an engineering alumnus from the University and Deputy Chairman of Believe – the Campaign for the University of Melbourne.

He supports new and innovative engineering, as he believes this will drive Australia’s future, particularly in the area of healthcare.

“The Chair will bring together researchers and experts from engineering, medicine and science to improve health outcomes for every Australian not just those living in major metropolitan cities,” Mr Clifford said.

The Chair will be housed at the Centre for Neural Engineering (CfNE). Professor Stan Skafidis, who heads the centre, is passionate about the interface between engineering, medicine and the future.

“This gift will enable us to address some of the long term and complex challenges facing health care. Bringing together interdisciplinary teams, allows them to build technologies that will change lives and help dictate the future of healthcare,” he said.

“It will also help CfNE in our work towards addressing some of the major challenges in neuroscience and neurological and psychiatric disorders.

“This is an exciting challenge as we work together to create not only portable diagnostic tools, but the next generation of bionic devices and implants.”
Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said the establishment of the Chair was great recognition for the centre’s work.

“In the long-term, this gift is enabling the collaboration required to alleviate some key issues related to healthcare access and equity,” Professor Davis said.

“We are also delighted that a gift of such significance has contributed to a milestone in Believe – the Campaign for the University of Melbourne, our biggest ever philanthropic undertaking.”

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