Medical Research in Australia sets new priorities and a clear path to success

Medical Research in Australia sets new priorities and a clear path to success

7th November, 2018

New priorities released today for the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) sets a clear path forward for how medical research will be funded in Australia. The Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB), clearly set out the ‘how’ in the priorities document. AAMRI congratulates AMRAB Chair Professor Ian Frazer AC and the Board on their consultative and inclusive process to get to this result.

The document not only details the priorities but also outlines the importance of each priority, specifies guidance in funding, and recommendations on implementation for the MRFF. The President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI), Professor Tony Cunningham AO, said he was pleased to see the level of detail and care taken in setting out plans for this significant expenditure.

“Reading the priorities, what stands out to me is that it not only identifies the health priorities that need tackling, but how these should be tackled – including grants, programs and clinical trials. It also names expert organisations that should be involved in these initiatives. These are excellent additions.”

The MRFF is a Federal Government initiative set up in 2015 and on target to reach $20 billion by 2020-21. It is designed to address emerging health priorities by investing in research areas such as digital health, drug discovery, indigenous health and ensuring we get new treatments into hospitals faster.

When the MRFF reaches the full $20 billion, it will be providing approximately $1 billion per year in medical research funding. Combined with the existing annual investment in health and medical research through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the MRFF will effectively double the Australian Government’s investment in health and medical research. Given the return on investment in Australia for medical research – nearly $4 back into the economy for every $1 invested – it’s essential Australia sees the MRFF reach the promised $20 billion.

“Funding medical research ensures Australia’s economy, healthcare system and communities stay healthier longer,” said Professor Cunningham. “And making sure we have clear priorities and plans in place, that are reviewed routinely with consultation with the sector, is the best way to make sure we deliver that.”

The priorities will guide more than $614 million dollars of new medical research investment over the next two financial years.

In addition, Professor Cunningham said he was looking forward to seeing the competitive processes in place to ensure best value for money by investing in the very best medical research.