Federal Medical Research Plan: The Health & Economic Roadmap We Need

Media Release: Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Link to the MRFF Strategy & Priorities.

With almost two in three Australian adults and one in four children overweight or obese, two-thirds of Australians over the age of 50 with poor bone density, and one in six Australians with chronic back pain, tonight’s release of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Strategy sets out the roadmap for addressing some of our biggest health issues.

That is the verdict from the medical research community and Research Australia, the organisation behind the virtual doubling of health (NHMRC) funding in 2000, and again in 2005.

“As the organisation that has been championing health and medical research for the last 15 years, we can tell you the MRFF is a real game changer,” said Research Australia Chair, Dr Christine Bennett.

CEO of Research Australia, Nadia Levin said the MRFF Strategy’s vision of a health system informed by quality research is exactly what’s needed.

“Research Australia shares the Strategy’s vision of a health system fully informed by quality health and medical research,” said Levin.

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Review of NHMRC funding programs

The NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso has appointed an Expert Advisory Group to provide advice and assistance to the NHMRC in undertaking a Review of Funding Programs. A Consultation Paper was issued in July and was followed by a series of public forums in August.

Research Australia has made a submission in response to the Consultation Paper supporting the proposal for two streams of grants, one which emphasises the researchers’ track record and the other on the research proposal. The submission proposes that the limit on the number of Chief Investigators be removed and does not support a fixed duration of 5 years for grants. Research Australia supports the proposal for early career people grants with a research component, and recommends that a Fellowship Program independent of Team or Investigator grants be retained, particularly for researchers who participate in and support multiple research projects and would be adversely affected by the proposed caps on the number of grants a person can apply for or hold.

NHMRC Review

New expert report to guide Medical Research Future Fund

Media Release: Monday 6 June, 2016

A new report from the health and medical sector says the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) needs to prioritise closing gaps between health research, health practice and the health economy.

Translating Research for a sustainable future comprehensively brings together the positions of 160 of Australia’s leading health and medical research organisations, companies and personnel.

The review, contributed to by prominent researchers, universities, and businesses in the field, outlines the sector’s view on priorities for the MRFF over the next two and five years.

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Federal Budget a Combination of Treatments, Placebos and Nocebos for Health and Medical Research

Media Release: Wednesday 4 May 2016

Research Australia, which represents 160 health and medical research organisations, has described last night’s budget as mixed bag – with some wins, some losses and some more detail required.

“The Federal Government is making all of the right noises when it comes to innovation, health and research, and it is pleasing that they remain on the agenda,” said CEO Nadia Levin.

“The budget would be described by my members as a combination of ‘treatments, placebos and nocebos’, and the challenge for government is to back it up with funding.”

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Principles for Accessing Publicly-Funded Data for Research Purposes

In December 2014 the National Health and Medical Research Council undertook a targeted consultation on a draft of the ‘Principles for Publicly-Funded Data for Health Research’ (the Principles).

Research Australia is of the view that the Principles could do more to support the linking of data from different datasets and the submission addressed this matter. It also provided some comments on the specific wording of the Principles and proposes an addition to the Glossary.

Principles for Publicly-Funded Data for Health Research

Consumer & community involvement in H&MR

The NHMRC issued a revised Statement on Consumer and Community Involvement in Health and Medical Research in August 2014 and sought feedback in response to five specific questions. Research Australia’s submission proposes that the intended audience and purpose of the Statement be clarified. It also provides specific comments on the text of the Statement.

Consumer & Community Participating in Health and Medical Research

Good Practice process for clinical trials

The NHMRC has consulted on a Good Practice Process for Clinical Trials with the aim of improving clinical trials governance. Research Australia has made a submission welcoming the initiative and acknowledging that it is one of a number of actions being undertaken to improve, standardise and streamline clinical trial processes, including by COAG’s Standing Committee on Health. Research Australia’s submission highlights the benefits of moving to a national, standardised approach to clinical trials, points to some possible improvements to the process and identifies some state- specific regulatory barriers.

Clinical Trial Research Governance