Australia’s medical research institutes exceed national and global benchmarks

Australia’s medical research institutes exceed national and global benchmarks

13th February, 2014

The Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI), Australia’s medical research institute peak body, has welcomed the release of the National Health & Medical Research Council’s bibliometric report, Measuring Up 2013.

“This report reinforces the strong international standing of Australia’s health and medical research sector, exceeding world benchmarks in output and impact,” said Professor Brendan Crabb, AAMRI President. “Of special note is that Australia’s medical research institutes outperform all other Australian research sectors, with a relative paper citation impact 40 per cent above the Australian average and 65 per cent above the world average.”

The report—a five-year analysis of biomedical publications by Australia’s research sector—compares the output and impact of Australian health and medical research with the rest of the world by measuring the number of journal publications generated and the amount these were cited by other researchers worldwide.

“The majority of medical research institute funds come from the NHMRC, demonstrating that medical research institutes and the NHMRC are a highly effective combination. Medical researchers understand they have a responsibility to spend Australian taxpayers’ dollars, and the investments of donors, wisely. This report shows that Australia’s medical research institutes are doing just that,” added Professor Crabb.

From 2001 to 2010, Australia’s health and medical research sector ranked sixth internationally in terms of citations per publication[1]. This new report shows that over the five-year period of 2005-2009:

  • Australian health and medical publications had a relative citation impact 17 per cent above the world average, with NHMRC-funded publications, in particular, being 60 per cent above the world average;
  • The number of Australian health and medical research publications increased by 44% between 2002-2006 and 2005-2009, with Australia contributing 3.1 per cent of total world biomedical publications from just 1.1 per cent of global health research dollars;
  • Australia’s medical research institutes outperformed other research sectors and world benchmarks, with a relative citation impact 65 per cent above the world average and 40 per cent above Australia overall;
  • International collaborations increased between 2005 and 2009, with 44 per cent of medical research papers having an international author in 2009; this is important, because papers with an international author had an average citation impact almost double that of publications without an international author.

“The Federal Government’s health expenditure is predicted to grow from 4 per cent to 7 per cent of GDP by 2050[2]. By making knowledge breakthroughs and applying these to disease prevention and clinical practice, medical research has the capacity to drive healthcare efficiencies, reduce the burden of disease in our communities, support the growth of Australia’s knowledge-intensive medicines industry, and create high value jobs.

“The continuing support and implementation of a long-term plan to ensure a sustainable health and medical research sector in Australia will pay dividends for everyone—the government, health professionals, industry and all Australians.”

Contact: Lisa Kuspira | 0423 011 493 |


[1] Thomson Reuters; from McKeon Review, p 29

[2] Treasury Report – Australia to 2050: future challenges, Jan 2010