AAMRI submission to National Commission of Audit

AAMRI submission to National Commission of Audit

26th November, 2013

Issue

Commonwealth Government funding for the ‘indirect costs’ of research is inefficient, inequitable and burdened with red tape. The product of historically adding new schemes to fill funding gaps, the current labyrinth of schemes for the indirect costs of research across multiple Commonwealth Government departments (and, in some cases, state governments) wastes money and time, while inequitable funding and restrictions on transferring funds encourages gaming of the system.

Impact

Funding for the indirect costs of research is the number one issue affecting the productivity of the medical research institute sector and its ability to deliver outputs that improve the productivity of the health care sector, and improve health outcomes and consequently labour participation and productivity.

Relevance to National Commission of Audit

  • Split of roles and responsibilities across departments and governments
  • Efficiency of government programs
  • Ensuring tax payers’ money is allocated as intended
  • Productivity of the government and the research & health sectors

Opportunity

  1. Streamlining the labyrinth of Commonwealth Government schemes for the indirect costs of research across multiple government agencies, such that the indirect costs of research are simply linked at a fixed rate to research grants would:
  • Reduce the administrative burden on the government and research sector of the myriad of funding schemes, each with different, often complicated funding formula
  • Overcome the split of roles and responsibilities across Commonwealth Government agencies that engender inconsistencies and inefficiencies in funding
  • Prevent gaming of a clunky, inequitable system, and the inefficiencies this creates.
  1. Removing unnecessary restrictions on the sharing of funding for the indirect costs of research between research organisations (e.g. for collaborative projects) would:
  • Simplify collaboration between research organisations
  • Ensure that taxpayers’ money for research is allocated and controlled as intended by the organisation carrying out the research
  • Improve the productivity of the research sector by reducing the amount of time spent overcoming unnecessary restrictions and complicated funding arrangements.