Budget 2016-17 confirms continued building of Medical Research Future Fund

2016-17 Budget

Budget 2016-17 confirms continued building of Medical Research Future Fund

3rd May, 2016

The recommitment of the Federal Government to the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) is without doubt a budget highlight for the medical research sector, Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) President Doug Hilton says.

Professor Hilton said the medical research sector was eagerly anticipating the growth of the MRFF to $20 billion by 2020-21, at which point it will double Federal Government investment in medical research and bring Australia back into line with the OECD for such investment. Tonight’s budget indicated this growth was on track.

“The MRFF being announced as part of the 2014 budget was a big win for our sector, and important recognition of the critical role it plays in our economy, and the health of the community, through improved diagnostics and treatments, and tremendous savings to the health system,” Professor Hilton said.

Professor Hilton congratulated the government on its affirmed commitment to the MRFF, projected in budget papers to reach $20 billion by 2020-21, with $61 million in funding distributions from the fund for medical research in 2016-17, and another $723 million over the following three years.

“Hopefully this additional funding will reassure many concerned medical researchers that they have a future in Australia, after a recent survey by Professional Scientists Australia found four out of five medical researchers were considering leaving the sector due to a lack of job security primarily stemming from funding issues.

“As a nation we invest hugely in the training of our talented medical researchers, and we simply cannot afford to keep wasting this talent. We must ensure our best and brightest continue to work in Australia, conducting world-class research that helps save lives, and money.”

Professor Hilton said the recent medical research workforce survey by Professional Scientists Australia highlighted the importance of the MRFF reaching its full potential on its current timetable.

“The MRFF will be a huge boost for medical research funding in Australia, and should encourage our best and brightest to stay here and make the discoveries that will help our people and our economy.

“The MRFF is the sort of far-sighted public policy we so often cry out for in Australia. If jobs and growth are what Australia needs, then there is no better investment than in medical innovation.”

Professor Hilton said he was also pleased to see funding to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) maintained in the 2016-17 budget.

Media Contact: Rebecca Thorpe, 0401 419 590, rebecca.thorpe@aamri.org.au.

Budget papers show that the balance of the MRFF is expected to reach $4.7 billion by the end of 2016-17, and $20 billion by 2020-21. The first transfer to the MRFF Special Account, which will fund investment in medical research, is projected to be $61 million in 2016-17, rising to $121 million in 2017-18, $215 million in 2018-19 and $386 million in 2019-20.

Read a summary of budget measures affecting medical research and innovation here.