VicAAMRI: life changing research and finding the funds for indirect costs

VicAAMRI: life changing research and finding the funds for indirect costs

31st October, 2019

This budget, the Victorian chapter of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (VicAAMRI) is calling on the State Government to strategically invest in the medical research sector by providing an additional $20 million per year to cover the gaps in research grants.

Victoria is home to some of the best minds and medical research institutes in the world, allowing us to deliver more life-saving treatments, diagnostics and therapies to more Victorians, faster. To ensure Victoria continues to be a world leader in medical research, VicAAMRI has identified the key issues facing the sector and has put forward a submission to the Victorian Government for consideration in the next State budget.

Research grants are structured in such a way that although the salaries of the researchers, the supplies for the research and some equipment may be covered – anything else needed in the day of a life of a researcher at an independent medical research institute, is not.

These additional costs – water, electricity, the cost of filing a patent, the lawyer to file the patent, payroll, the commercialisation team who makes the deal with the company who helps run the clinical trial – are known as indirect costs.

The Victorian Government provides invaluable funding for these costs through the Operational Infrastructure Support Program. Despite that crucial support, institutes currently face a funding gap for indirect costs of over $100 million a year.

“It’s an ongoing complex problem that every institute is continually trying to solve. Last year the indirect costs of research for Victoria’s independent medical research institutes totalled $175 million dollars, of which $34 million was covered by the Victorian Government indirect costs program,” said Professor Brendan Crabb AC, VicAAMRI chair.

“This year we’re asking for an extra $20 million a year from the Victorian Government for the indirect costs program, to help our researchers focus on what they do best and remove some of that burden from the institutes.”

In the 2017 budget the Operational Infrastructure Support Program was increased by $8 million per year, which has delivered 200 new full-time medical research jobs in the past two years.

“Further investment in indirect costs will be catalytic for Victoria – creating thousands of new, high-skilled jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars of increased commercial and research revenue, and almost half a billion dollars in social and health benefits for Victorians over the next ten years,” said Professor Crabb.

Last year Victoria’s independent medical research institutes employed 5,700 staff and students, secured 917 industry partnerships, spun out 7 new start-up companies and had 845 active clinical trials. The impact of Victoria’s medical research is life changing, from newborn babies benefiting from Murdoch Children’s Research Institute’s allergy research, to access to the latest cancer treatment at Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute through to research into fall prevention for the elderly at the National Ageing Research Institute.

About VicAAMRI

VicAAMRI represents 14 of Victoria’s world-class independent medical research institutes. Our members work to deliver better health outcomes through cutting-edge research across a wide range of health and disease areas. VicAAMRI aims to strengthen Victoria’s medical research sector by raising the profile of health and medical research and the role of medical research institutes in building a healthy and prosperous Victoria.

VicAAMRI Members