The Australian Health Data Series

Flying Blind | The Australian Health Data Series 

Flying Blind is a series of three reports dedicated to uncovering the acute levels of data fragmentation existing at all levels of Australia’s health landscape.

CMCRC in collaboration with Research Australia is currently working on the second report which examines Australia’s health and medical research data environment and traces the difficulties that Australian researchers face at each stage of their journey as they attempt to access research data. Volume One dived into consumers and digital health through the patient journey, service fragmentation, health data silos, legislation, regulation and policy and consumer concerns and perceptions.

As we write Volume Two: Researchers and the Health Data Maze, we’ll be publishing regular blog posts of interest to this topic. The blog is updated regularly by members of the CMCRC’s Health Market Quality program and Research Australia. If you would like to be a guest blogger please email Lucy Clynes with your expressions of interest.

Bookmark this website today: https://flyingblind.cmcrc.com/researchers-health-data.
Continue reading “The Australian Health Data Series”

Detail of further MRFF payments released

The Turnbull Government continues to deliver on the promise to establish a flow of funding into health and medical research $20 billion capital target to be achieved in 2020-21.

Part of the $10 million announced in the 2017-18 budget is to be allocated to the existing AHRTCs ($8 million) and $2 million to help the existing and new AHRTCs and CIRHs.

Tuesday’s announcement concerned the $2 million being allocated to Monash Health Partners, an active member of Research Australia, the AHRTC built around Monash University. It will fund a number of projects across cancer, cardiovascular and diabetes to improve access to and use of new and existing services.

More announcements to come as they gear up to notify the sector of funding for other AHRTCs and Centres for Innovation in Regional Health.

[Read the full media release]

Clinical Trials 2017: National Tribute & Awards Ceremony

Research Australia is proud to be joining Australian Clinical Trials Alliances (ACTA) to bring together the Clinical Trials 2017: National Tribute & Awards Ceremony.

This partnership is in line with Research Australia’s collaborative strategy that continues to work towards an improved clinical trials environment driving evidence-based change in the health system and new commercial opportunities.

Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Minister for Sport, will attend the Clinical Trials 2017: National Tribute and Awards Ceremony to present the prestigious ACTA Trial of the Year Award and the inaugural ACTA STInG Excellence in Trial Statistics Award.
Continue reading “Clinical Trials 2017: National Tribute & Awards Ceremony”

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 Cancers with Low Survival Rates today.

National Science Statement

Yesterday the Australian government launched the National Science Statement, outlining its commitment to science as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

This comes in advance of the 2030 Strategic Plan for Innovation, Science and Research, with Innovation and Science Australia commissioned by the government to review Australia’s performance in science and innovation, and develop a plan through to 2030.

Research Australia welcomes the Statement’s long-term approach to science in Australia; in particular, the explicit references to secure and sustainable investment and recognition of the role of research as a central contributor to GDP.  Continue reading “National Science Statement”

WA Election: Health and Medical Researchers the other big winners

13 March 2017

Australia’s peak body for health and medical research has congratulated new incoming Western Australia Premier, Hon Mark McGowan MLA, especially the new Premier’s commitment to support WA medical researchers and innovators ‘like never before’.

“Researchers were rightly buoyed by election commitment Premier-Elect McGowan made in February this year to the establishment of a Future Health Research and Innovation (HRI) Fund. Continue reading “WA Election: Health and Medical Researchers the other big winners”

Australian H&MR Research Facts

Funding health & medical research in Australia

Summary

  • $5.9 billion is spent on health and medical research (H&MR) in Australia each year
  • 18% of all Australian Research and Development (R&D) is spent on H&MR (Total R&D is around $33 billion)
  • 8% of all spending on health is spent on H&MR (Total health expenditure in 2013-14 was $154.6 billion)
  • 0.37% of GDP was spent on H&MR (Australian GDP in 2013-14 was $1,582 billion)
  • More than half of all Australian H&MR is undertaken in the higher education sector
  • H&MR accounts for one third of all R&D expenditure in higher education institutions
  • 19% of all H&MR expenditure is in the private sector (mostly on pharmaceutical R&D)

Expenditure by sector

The following table is an estimate of where H&MR expenditure occurs in Australia

Location of expenditure $million
Aust. Govt.
(including agencies)
States & Territories Higher Ed. Not For Profit Business Total
198 479 3,271 824 1,124 5,896
3% 8% 56% 14% 19% 100%

The estimates are complicated because they are:

  • based on ABS data and the ABS surveys the different sectors for different periods. Government and NFP data is for 2012/13; Higher Ed is for 2012 and Business is for 2013/14
  • the SEO of Health generally provides the most accurate number but the FOR of medical and health sciences is used for Business because most H&MR in industry is classified not under the SEO of health but under the SEO of manufacturing. The ABS data is not provided at sufficient detail to enable health R&D to be extracted from the SEO of manufacturing.

Australian Government

While only a relatively small proportion of H&MR is undertaken directly by the Australian Government it is responsible for providing the funding for a much larger proportion, particularly in higher education and Medical Research Institutes (MRIs). This includes funding provided through the NHMRC and ARC. It also includes funding provided to universities through the block grants system, which is tied to the volume of each university’s research and the number of research students.

Australian Government funding of H&MR through universities and MRIs

NHMRC Funding $850 million
ARC Funding contribution to HMR (10%) $85 million
Infrastructure Block Grants contribution to HMR (34%) $340 million
Total $1,275 million

Source: Australian Government Science Research and Innovation Tables 2015-16, Table 4

This estimate does not take into account taxation measures like the R&D Tax Incentive and programmes like the Department of Industry Innovation and Science Entrepreneurs Programme, which support the development and commercialisation of research generally, including new medicines, medical devices and therapies. It also doesn’t reflect other Commonwealth Government support provided to universities and MRIs which are used for new buildings and facilities that support H&MR.

State and Territory Governments

State and territory governments are responsible for funding research undertaken within the State and territory hospital systems; the provision of support to MRIs for the indirect costs of research; and and other programs to support R&D, a portion of which funds HMR. State and territory governments also provide capital funding for stand alone research institutions (eg. the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute) and for organisations that combine research with health care deliver (eg. the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre).

It is likely that the total support provided to HMR significantly exceeds the $479 million per annum captured in the table above.

Higher Education

The bulk of Australian H&MR is conducted in the Australian higher education sector, and is funded by the Australian Government, philanthropy and universities own funds from other sources, including teaching revenue for the Australian Government and students. Approximately one third (34%) of all research expenditure by the higher education sector is on health and medical research.

Source: ABS 8111.0, Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations, Australia 2012, SEO Health ($3,270,969,000) divided by total expenditure ($9,609,736,000).

Not for Profit sector

The Not for Profit sector spent $960 million on R&D in 2012/13, of which $824 million (86%) was spent on the SEO of Health. The concentration of research in the non profit sector on H&MR reflects the dominance of this sector by Medical Research Institutes (MRIs); the next highest categories were Education and Training with $56 million and the Environment with $18 million.

Source: ABS 8109, Government and Private Non Profit Organisations, 2012-13 Table 3, PNP expenditure by SEO, 2012-13

Business

Expenditure on health and medical research represents approximately 6% of total R&D spending by business.  Much of the R&D expenditure by businesses has an emphasis on the ‘D’ (Development) in R&D rather than research. For this reason it is captured in the broad SEO of Manufacturing rather than Health; the Field of Research (FoR) of Medical and Health Sciences is used in the above table to estimate business expenditure on H&MR.

Source: 8104 Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia, 2013-14 Table 3, FoR Estimate of Business H&MR (Medical & Health Sciences $1,123,956,000) divided by total expenditure ($18,849.438,000)

More information contact Greg Mullins, Head of Policy, greg.mullins@researchaustralia.org

Image credit: Professor Len Harrison, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

Victorian Health and Medical Research Strategy

In responding to the Victorian Government’s consultation on its strategy for Health and Medical Research, Research Australia has emphasised the ability of the State Government to influence how health and medical research is conducted through the funding it provides for health and medical research, its role as a key stakeholder in the provision of health care, and its power to legislate to provide a supportive environment for HMR. Key recommendations include continuing to support initiatives that bring researchers and the health system together (Academic Health Science Centres, the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre), providing incentives for further collaboration and multi disciplinary research, and improving researchers’ access to health records and other data held by the State Government.

Victorian Health and Medical Research Strategy