Western Australian researchers have been offered an incentive to use state-of-the-art gene sequencing equipment - a $20,000 prize for publication of the first research paper, using the equipment, in an influential scientific journal.
Philanthropist Charles Morgan - who is also chair of the WA Government's Technology and Industry Advisory Council - has provided the incentive above and beyond his gift of almost $1 million to The University of Western Australia to purchase the new equipment.
Mr Morgan said he decided to make the prize available to encourage researchers to use the equipment at the Lotterywest State Biomedical Facility: Genomics (LSBFG) at Royal Perth Hospital to its full capability. The new equipment will allow researchers to sequence an entire genome - human, animal or plant - for relatively low costs and quicker than ever before available in Western Australia
The $20,000 prize will go to the Western Australian researcher or researchers whose use of the equipment leads to a paper published in Nature, Science, Nature Genetics, Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, or Cell.
"I have offered this prize to encourage researchers to think beyond their current research and consider how they might be able to use the equipment," Mr Morgan said. "I am hopeful that this incentive will spur on some of our great creative scientific thinkers."
Professor Robyn Owens, UWA's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), said Mr Morgan's donation to UWA for the purchase of the gene sequencing equipment was a great example of the benefits of philanthropy in research.
"The equipment will provide faster, cheaper and more effective options for clinical research and diagnosis of a wide range of genetic diseases including neuromuscular disorders and cancers. It will be available to all Western Australian researchers and will ultimately benefit the entire Western Australian community," Professor Owens said.