Funding boost from MRFF for clinical trials

Australian clinical trials received a much-needed boost today with details of the Medical Research Future Fund’s disbursements announced.

The Minister for Health, Greg Hunt announced the detail around the allocation of the funding into clinical trials in Australia that was handed down at the Budget last Tuesday as part of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

As the Health and Medical Research industry body, we were pleased to hear the importance the Australian Government has placed on clinical trials, collaboration, and translation of research and mid-career medical researchers.

“Clinical trials are a crucial part of changing and saving lives,” said Research Australia CEO, Nadia Levin. “This commitment goes a long way in making a difference to Australians whose lives depend on the outcomes of the best research we can offer”.

The announcement was made at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney at an event to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day.
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Funding for Research into Cancers with Low Survival Rates

Research Australia has made a submission to the Senate Select Committee Inquiry into Funding for Research into Cancers with Low Survival Rates. Many of the Terms of Reference have relevance beyond brain cancers, cancers with low survival rates and low incidence cancers; our submission approaches the Inquiry from this broader perspective.

Government funding available for health and medical research is finite. While cancers with low survival rates are undoubtedly worthy of more funding, any increase in funding for one area has implications for the funding available to other disease areas. Improvements in survival are related to global research rather than specifically to the volume or subject of Australian research, and it is important that Australian researchers and patients have access to, and contribute to this global effort. This is particularly relevant for low incidence cancers and other rare diseases, because the number of patients in Australia is likely to be low and appropriate research collaborators are in many cases likely to be based overseas. Thus, when allocating funding we also need to consider the level of funding available and the research activity undertaken globally.

Research Australia also suggests there is merit in looking at approaches taken by other countries. This includes strategies such as rare disease policies that have been established in more than 20 countries as a means of providing a policy framework for a considered and comprehensive approach to the provision of research, diagnosis and access to treatment for rare diseases. In an area where the only available therapies are often experimental, a single policy that brings research, diagnosis and treatment together is valuable.

Read the full Research Australia submission today.

Pre Budget Submission 2014

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’s recommendation are:

  • Maintain the aggregate real value of Commonwealth Government funding for health and medical research across all funding programs.
  • Fund the implementation and monitoring of the McKeon Review recommendations.
  • Increase funding for research to support the effective and rapid translation of new discoveries into practice.
  • Increase funding for health systems research to increase our 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.
  • Expand the mandate of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care to include efficiency as well as safety and quality, and provide incentives for health care providers to nominate existing practices and initiatives to the Commission for adoption as part of the Healthcare Standards.
  • Increase 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.
  • Retain programs that support Australian research and development (R&D) and innovation, including Commercialisation Australia and the R&D tax incentive.

Pre Budget Submission 2014