Media Release: Wednesday 3 August 2016
The Biomedical Translation Fund is one of Australia’s best hopes to bridge the “Valley of Death” between medical research and commercialisation or clinical practice.
The Federal Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Greg Hunt, today announced that the founder of Research Australia, Peter Wills AC, will chair the new Biomedical Translation Fund.
“Peter Wills AC is a great choice to champion the multi-million dollar Biomedical Translation Fund,” said CEO of Research Australia, Nadia Levin.
Continue reading “Congratulations Peter Wills AC, new Chair of Australia’s $500M Biomedical Translation Fund”
As part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) Treasury has undertaken a consultation on an initiative to provide tax incentives for early stage investors in innovative companies. Research Australia’s submission supports the proposal and suggests some amendments to improve its operation and reduce red tape. These include making registration for the R&D Tax incentive a qualifying condition for treating a company as an ‘innovation company’ in respect of which the tax incentive can apply, and allowing the tax incentive to be available to ‘retail’ investors. The tax incentive has the potential to increase the capital available to early stage innovative companies, including those seeking to commercialise new medicines, devices and therapies.
Tax Incentives for early stage investors
Research Australia has responded to the Queensland Competition Authority’s Draft Report of Queensland Government Industry Assistance. Research Australia supports the need for a clear rationale and strict criteria for Industry Assistance Programs but suggests that the proposed criteria need to be developed and applied more appropriately. In the case of health and medical research, the opportunity to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the health care sector (with a saving to the Queensland Government) and to improve health and wellbeing need to be recognised as legitimate objectives of Government assistance. The submission highlights the complex interaction between public research funding and private sector involvement in the commercialisation of health and medical research, and points to some successful Queensland models that are worth supporting.
Industry Assistance in Queensland
The Ministers for Education and Industry jointly commissioned a review of measures that can be taken to boost the commercialisation of Australian publicly funded research.
Research Australia agrees that more can be done to support the commercialisation of Australian research, and our submission makes a number of proposals to increase the commercial returns from publicly funded research. While commercialisation of research is the clear focus of the discussion paper and our response, Research Australia recognises that commercialisation is not the sole purpose of publicly funded research, and that the focus must be on achieving the right balance between:
- basic and applied research;
- investigator led and strategic priority driven research; and
- commercialisation and other paths to translation.
Boosting the Commercial Returns from Research
The Industry Minister has appointed Mr David Miles, AM, former Chair of Innovation Australia, to lead a review of the CRC Programme. 11 of the 36 existing CRCs are health related. Research Australia’s submission supports the existing CRC Programme and emphasises the social and economic benefits of CRCs in supporting the translation of health and medical research including, but not limited to, research commercialisation.
Cooperative Research Centres Programme Review
In the May Budget the Federal Government announced that it was replacing a range of existing industry support programmes, including Commercialisation Australia, with the Entrepreneur’s Infrastructure Investment Programme. In June 2014 the Department of Industry launched a discussion paper on the Programme, and Research Australia made a submission. Research Australia’s submission emphasised the importance of building collaboration between publicly funded research organisations and private sector entrepreneurs, the importance of viewing researchers both as a resource to entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs in their own right, and suggested a number of measures which would support the successful commercialisation of Australian public research.
Entrepreneur’s infrastructure programme
The Government has invited submissions on the draft Terms of Reference for the Financial System Inquiry. The Inquiry, to report to the Treasurer in November 2014, ‘will make recommendations to foster an efficient, competitive and flexible financial system, consistent with financial stability, prudence, integrity and fairness.’
Research Australia’s submission has sought to have the terms of reference amended to specifically include consideration of how the financial system can better support productive innovative companies and ideas, as an essential element in commercialising the outcomes of Australia’s scientific research.
Financial Systems Inquiry Terms of Reference
Each year the Treasurer invites the Australian community to make submissions in relation to the preparation of the budget for the following financial year. Research Australia recommended:
- A real increase in Commonwealth Government funding for health and medical research, to enable continued improvements in the health and wellbeing of all Australians.
- A specific allocation to fund the implementation and monitoring of the McKeon Review recommendations and the development of a coherent national health and medical research strategy
- Increased funding for health systems research to increase capacity to analyse and identify best practice for the Australian health care system and to increase research into the most successful, effective and efficient delivery mechanisms and structures for implementing best practice.
- Increased funding for research to support the effective and rapid translation of new discoveries into practice.
- Greater funding for population health and preventive health research to improve the effectiveness of preventive health campaigns and identify emerging trends in the health and disease profile of the Australian population.
- Retention of the R&D tax credit as an important mechanism for supporting the commercialisation of Australian research.
Pre Budget Submission 2013