A Coalition to Buttress PNGIMR

Research, especially in health fields, requires robust global networks. Buttresses are structures that support buildings and roots that give trees strength and nourishment. Buttresses are designed to help; they do not take away from the integrity of the buildings and trees they assist.

Formed in 1999, the Buttressing Coalition is a platform for partners and friends of PNG Institute of Medical Research to support the Institute in all areas relevant to its responsibilities to conduct public health and medical research for the benefit of people in Papua New Guinea and globally. Emeritus Professor Michael Alpers, former PNGIMR Director and lifetime member of the Buttressing Coalition, described the founding ambitions of the Buttressing Coalition in an article published in 2003.

Buttressing Coalition Fund

The Buttressing Coalition introduced membership fees in September 2019. These fees make up a Fund for the development of the Institute administered by the University of New South Wales. Australia’s Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security committed to contribute to the Fund for three years, from 2020 to 2022.

Ten institutional members contribute to the fund in 2023:

  • Burnet Institute, Melbourne
  • Faculty of Medicine, University of Melbourne
  • IS Global, Barcelona
  • James Cook University, Townsville
  • Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Menzies School of Health Research
  • Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
  • Swiss Tropical Public Health Institute, Basel
  • Telethon Kids Institute, Perth
  • Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne

Buttressing Coalition Fund Projects

Thanks to the generous contributions of the Buttressing Coalition members and the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security, PNGIMR has made significant infrastructure improvements and supported our early career researchers. Highlights included renovation and extension of the administration and project building in Port Moresby; repairs and renovation to PNGIMR buildings in Maprik, East Sepik; major upgrades of IT systems; and strengthened administrative procedures. The Fund also supports PNGIMR’s successful virtual symposiums.

View a presentation of the activities, presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting, here.


The Buttressing Coalition is chaired by Professor William Pomat (Director, PNGIMR) and Co-chair Professor John Kaldor (Program Head, Kirby Institute). An Executive Committee meets quarterly to oversee the use of the Fund and to identify other strategies to support PNGIMR. Members of the Executive Committee in 2023 are:

  • Dr Manuel Hetzel, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
  • A/Prof Paul Horwood, James Cook University
  • Prof Christopher King, Case Western Reserve University
  • Dr Moses Laman, PNGIMR
  • Prof Ivo Mueller, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
  • A/Prof Leanne Robinson, Burnet Institute and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
  • Ms Daphne Tion, PNGIMR

The Buttressing Coalition has three lifetime members, appointed at the 2021 annual meeting.

  • Emeritus Professor Michael Alpers
  • Distinguished University Professor James Kazura
  • Clinical Associate Professor Deborah Lehmann

The full membership meets annually, either virtually or on the margins of the annual Papua New Guinea Medical Symposium.

Terms of Reference for the Buttressing Coalition can be viewed here

Become a member

The Buttressing Coalition welcomes new members. It has four membership types:

Institutional members are institutes, schools, departments or other entities involved in public health or medical research and prepared to provide collaborative support to the PNGIMR. Institutional members pay an annual membership fee.

Individual members are colleagues who are or have been research collaborators of the PNGIMR or otherwise are committed to supporting the work of the PNGIMR. Individual members pay an annual membership fee.

Friends of PNGIMR are colleagues who want to be connected with PNGIMR and receive communication about the institute and the Buttressing Coalition. Friends are not required to pay a membership fee.

Lifetime members are invited members whose significant contributions to PNGIMR are recognised through this membership.

Membership fees are waived for Papua New Guinean institutions and individuals. Email [email protected] for more information about membership.

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