AAMRI highlights need for investment in medical research in 2019-20 Pre-Budget Submission

AAMRI highlights need for investment in medical research in 2019-20 Pre-Budget Submission

In response to a call for submissions from the Assistant Minister for Treasury and Finance seeking views regarding priorities for the 2019-20 Budget, AAMRI has outlined key policy areas where investment is needed for all Australians to benefit from the vibrant medical research sector in this country.

In this submission we recommend:

  1. The funding capitalisation commitments for the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) need to be maintained to ensure the fund is fully capitalised by 2020-21.

The investment proceeds from this fund will be used to fill an important investment gap in the medical research landscape. Whereas the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) primarily funds outstanding research proposals developed by medical researchers, the MRFF is set to fund strategic mission driven research, that can respond to the research needs of the health system. This will help speed up the process of turning the amazing discoveries our researchers make into new therapies, drugs and medical devices, and will ensure patients have access to ground-breaking new treatments.

 

  1. Providing above inflation increases to NHMRC funded medical research.

The projected increases in NHMRC funding are currently lower than the forecasted inflation rates by the Reserve Bank of Australia. The costs incurred in undertaking world-class, high quality investigator-led research are increasing beyond inflationary levels, with the equipment and infrastructure required becoming more complex and requiring greater investment. AAMRI proposes that above inflation increases to NHMRC funding be provided to ensure our world-class medical research sector remains strong.

 

  1. Support for the systemic costs of undertaking NHMRC funded research (through NHMRC Independent Research Institute Infrastructure Support Scheme) to be increased to 30 cents for every dollar of NHMRC research funded by 2022-23.

NHMRC research grants cover the direct costs associated with medical research projects, but do not cover the systemic costs of research. These costs include commercialisation services, IT, legal expenses, HR and building running costs. These costs amount to around 54 cents for every $1 of NHMRC research expenditure. Providing enhanced support for these costs will ensure the ongoing sustainability of the medical research sector and allow for more philanthropic funding to be directed towards medical research projects.

 

  1. A program should be developed that provides support for the systemic costs of undertaking MRFF funds.

Given that nearly $1.7 billion of additional medical research investment through the MRFF is expected over the coming years three years it is imperative that a support mechanism be established as soon as possible to support the systemic costs of research.

 

Full submission available for download below.