Biomedical Translation Fund to foster medical research innovation

Biomedical Translation Fund to foster medical research innovation

3rd August, 2016

The Biomedical Translation Fund is a shot in the arm for Australian medical research and underscores the important role innovation in this sector plays in Australia’s economic prosperity, Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) President Professor Doug Hilton AO says.

The Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF) was launched today at AAMRI member, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, by Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon Greg Hunt MP.

The fund was a recommendation of the landmark Strategic Review of Health and Medical Research (or the McKeon Review), and was originally announced as part of the Federal Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda. The $250 million allocated to the BTF by the Government will be matched by fund managers selected through a competitive process to bring at least matching investment from the private sector. Applications for fund managers are now open, and will close 14 September 2016.

“Australia’s future prosperity depends on research and innovation to compete on the international stage, to deal with complex issues and capitalise on the opportunities of the future,” Professor Hilton said.

“Nowhere is innovation more evident than in the health and medical research sector, where discoveries play a crucial role in improving our health system, helping Australians to live longer, healthier and more productive lives, reducing the burden of disease on our economy, and delivering the jobs of our future.

“We know that every dollar invested in health and medical research returns at least two dollars, with many studies suggesting this rate of return is much higher. These returns come not just from marketable medical discoveries but also from innovations leading to more efficient diagnoses and treatments.

“The pharmaceutical and medical devices sector is Australia’s best performing smart industry and we are pleased to see the Government working to ensure the growth of this sector.”

Professor Hilton said medical research institutes around Australia, and the scientists working in them, were eagerly anticipating the distribution of money from both the BTF and the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

“So much of the best medical research in this country occurs in medical research institutes,” Professor Hilton said. “These institutes, which represent a third of the Government’s investment in health and medical research, are an integral part of the nation’s research sector, with the primary purpose of advancing health outcomes through research and innovation.

“With an ageing population and half of all Australians living with chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, cancer, diabetes and mental health issues, we cannot afford not to invest in health and medical research to find new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent these debilitating diseases.

“As the Government continues to focus on innovation policy, we look forward to working with them to ensure the transformative nature of the BTF and MRFF are fully realised through the participation of the whole research sector.”

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