Research in Australia

Research in Australia

Health and medical research includes research into a whole range of areas affecting human health outcomes, including public health, biotechnology, bionics and biomaterials, cancer, cardiovascular disease, genetics, mental health, indigenous health, stem cells and tissue engineering.

For more information on research areas, refer to the filtering tool on our Members page, which outlines the research areas in which each of our member institutes work.

In Australia, health and medical research is undertaken by researchers in:

  • medical research institutes (MRIs)
  • universities
  • clinical settings such as hospitals and medical centres and
  • biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

Medical Research Institutes (MRIs)

MRIs can either be ‘independent’ charities, university-based institutes, part of a hospital or health provider, or institutes arising from alliances between a hospital and university.

The majority of AAMRI’s members are independent MRIs; that is they are mission-based charities that operate independently from a university or hospital.

Australia’s independent MRIs–over 50 in all–consistently demonstrate the highest level of research impact compared with other research sectors. Primarily based on hospital campuses, independent MRIs have a distinct and vital role in the health and medical research sector, providing a direct interface between laboratory-based research and clinical practice. Each MRI also has an affiliation with a university and trains higher degree research students.

Australia’s independent MRIs have a combined annual turnover of over $1 billion. As non-profit organisations, MRIs receive the majority of their funding through competitive grants for research projects—primarily through the Federal Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The remaining funding comes largely through state government infrastructure support, competitive grants from foundations and trusts, commercialisation collaborations and contracts, and community donations.

Australia’s MRIs vary in size from 20 to more than 1,000 staff and students, and together employ more than 10,000 staff and higher degree students.