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Revamped government funding structure unveiled for health and medical research

Health Industry Hub | July 9, 2024 |

The national peak body for health and medical research and innovation, Research Australia, welcomes the announcement confirming a better alignment between the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

This announcement sees the establishment of four new committees to advise on strategies and funding for the MRFF and NHMRC’s Medical Research Endowment Account (MREA), including Consumer Advisory Group, Industry, Philanthropy and Commercialisation Committee, Public Health and Health Systems Committee, and Indigenous Advisory Group.

“This is a significant step forward in our shared mission to address pressing health challenges and this collaborative approach leverages our combined expertise to drive innovation and improve health outcomes for all Australians. By working together, we will help cement Australia’s status as a world-class destination for health and medical research,” stated NHMRC CEO, Professor Steve Wesselingh.

“Research Australia has long championed the need for better coordination of the MRFF and NHMRC’s MREA. Achieving better coordination is essential for a nationally unified, strategic approach to health and medical research investment. This can bring clarity to funding availability at every stage of the research pipeline, ensuring smarter investment in Australia’s world-leading health and medical research and innovation sector,” said Nadia Levin, CEO & Managing Director of Research Australia.

“For our world-leading medical research institutes, better aligned funding will mean reduced grant duplication and administrative burden, as well as more sustainable and rewarding careers for our talented researchers,” said Dr Saraid Billiards, CEO of Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI).

Research Australia has been advocating for a National Health and Medical Research and Innovation Strategy and was pleased to have the Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, re-commit the Australian Government to the development of a National Strategy in the 2024-2025 Federal Budget.

“The development of a National Strategy and better alignment between the MRFF and MREA creates a unique opportunity for smarter investment in health and medical research and innovation across the research pipeline.”

Research Australia continues to advocate for a 50% increase in the MRFF.

“The intent of the MRFF has always been to make $1 billion available each year for investment in medical research, and Australia needs to build to that level as a priority,” Levin said.

“The Board of Guardians overseeing the Future Fund says $973 million is available for grants in 2024-25, an almost 50% increase on the currently budgeted disbursement of $650 million. The release of this funding would benefit the health and wealth of all Australians.”

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