A generous donation from two University of Queensland alumni will kick-start a new research centre focused on one of Australia’s most pressing problems – providing affordable and sustainable healthcare.
Fidelity Worldwide Investments Head of Australian Equities Paul Taylor and his wife Sue have donated $1.25 million towards establishing UQ’s Centre for the Business and Economics of Health.
The centre will bring together researchers and resources from the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law (BEL), Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences (HABS), Mater Health Services and the Mater Research Institute – UQ.
The centre will aim to complete vital research into cost-effective healthcare solutions against the backdrop of an ageing population.
It will also provide leadership and management courses for health professionals moving into administrative roles, and healthcare courses for businesspeople entering the health sector.
Mr Taylor said the Centre for the Business and Economics of Health was an initiative that he believed strongly in.
“It feels like the time has come for this sort of initiative. Health is one of Australia’s largest and fastest growing sectors, and the rising cost of healthcare is a critical issue,” Mr Taylor said.
“As my wife and I are psychology and commerce graduates, the centre also reflects our own backgrounds and interests in a unique way.”
Mr Taylor said they felt it was important to give back to UQ.
“Universities are finding it tougher and tougher to access government funding,” he said.
“We feel strongly that it is up to alumni to fill the gap; helping to keep UQ among the top echelon of educational institutions worldwide while continuing to make university education accessible to the next generation.
“I also wanted to honour my parents, Eric and Marion Taylor, with this donation, who were the driving force behind my own education and community service.”
BEL Executive Dean Professor Iain Watson said the Taylors’ donation was instrumental in establishing the centre.
“The generosity of alumni such as Paul and Sue Taylor cannot be overstated,” Professor Watson said.
“The Taylors have maintained strong links with UQ and made several significant contributions over the years. Their donations have supported student scholarships, the emergency student welfare fund, the library and medical research.
“This donation is by far their largest single gift and will give the University the opportunity to conduct valuable interdisciplinary research across the important fields of business, economics and health, while building important partnerships with providers of health services nationally and internationally.”
HABS Executive Dean Professor Bruce Abernethy also paid tribute to the gift from the Taylor Family.
“By helping establish the Centre for the Business and Economics of Health, the Taylors will assist UQ develop a critical mass of established researchers and next-generation educators,” Professor Abernethy said.
“These researchers and educators will then lead the nation in the development of healthcare that is both effective and economically sustainable.”
The Centre for the Business and Economics of Health is expected to be operational by mid 2016.
Words: Danielle Coopman