RUMOURED budget cuts to medical research did not eventuate from last night’s federal budget, to the relief of Hunter philanthropist Jennie Thomas.
Ms Thomas has given more than a million dollars to the Hunter Medical Research Institute and University of Newcastle over the past decade.
She said private donations helped fund seed research that then attracted government grants.
Mrs Thomas’s husband Philip Emlyn was a researcher who first studied at the Newcastle University College at Tighes Hill.
He helped develop atomic absorption spectrophotometry but took his life after suffering a stroke.
It led Mrs Thomas to become a benefactor in medical and mental health research in the Hunter even though she now lives in Canberra.
She said any funding cut could have harmed the Hunter Medical Research Institute’s international profile, which it had worked so hard to develop.
‘‘It’s an integral part of Newcastle as something different to the coal and steel town,’’ she said.
The National Health and Medical Research Institute’s funding went up 4.3 per cent last night.
‘‘It’s such a relief the funding hasn’t been cut,’’ she said.
‘‘Research doesn’t happen overnight sometimes the ‘aha’ moment might be 10 years down the track.
‘‘If we’re not passionate step-by-step we might miss that moment.’’