Research for Preventive Health

The Australian Government is developing a 10-year National Preventive Health Strategy, anticipated to be finalised and released in early 2021.

The Consultation has been undertaken using an electronic survey. Research Australia’s responses emphasise:

    • the critical role of research in developing new preventive health measures;
    • the need to focus on implementation and scalability as part of translating research findings into new and effective preventive health programs; and
    • the critical role of data in evaluating the effectiveness of programs.

Research Australia’s submission is available here.

Research Australia supports budget measures for university based research

Wednesday 23 September 2020

Media Release

Health and medical researchers support interim budget measures for university-based research and urge longer-term sustainability

The $700 million bail-out package for university researchers flagged for consideration in the upcoming federal budget would be critical to maintaining Australia’s national health and medical research capability.

Research Australia CEO, Nadia Levin said, “More than half of all Australian health and medical research in Australia is undertaken in the higher education sector. This research is at risk due to the loss of university revenue from international students. Health and medical research is a critical national capability and it must be protected, for its role in saving lives, improving our health system and our post-pandemic economic recovery.”

A Government commitment to supporting universities and research jobs would be a welcome interim step towards establishing a more sustainable higher education sector.

“In the long term, we need to look at effective partnerships between higher education, government, industry and philanthropy. It’s clear that Australia can no longer rely so heavily on international student fees to subsidise research.

“The package mooted in today’s Australian would give the universities some breathing room to consider a longer-term plan for funding research.” Nadia Levin said.

“Immediate measures are needed to provide job security for Australian health and medical researchers. Currently, half the health and medical researchers in this country are employed on short-term contracts. This rises to two thirds of early career researchers.

“Compare this to the broader Australian population where only 5.2% of people with permanent employment are employed on fixed term contracts. It’s easy to see why Australia runs the very real risk of losing a generation of early and mid-career health and medical researchers without some immediate intervention and more focus on long-term sustainability.”

As the national peak body for Australian health and medical research, Research Australia is working with its members from all stages of health and medical research to encourage a united position on research funding.

“We can’t just rely on government funding or international student fees, it is going to need to be a combined effort with industry, philanthropy and the health system. Working together, we’re confident Australia can become a world-leader in health and medical research, generating new STEM jobs and advanced manufacturing industries which will drive post-pandemic economic recovery.”

Research Australia is the national peak body for Australian health and medical research. www.researchaustralia.org

Media contact: Lucy Clynes 0404068912

August 2020 Pre-Budget submission calls for new R&D investment, emergency response to COVID-19

Research Australia has taken the opportunity to use the new call from the Treasurer for Pre-Budget submissions to call for urgent assistance from the Government to support research disrupted by COVID-19.

We have proposed bridging funding be paid from a contingency fund to researchers who need the additional funding to complete research because of COVID-19 related delays. We have also called on the Government to recognise the importance of a renewed investment in research and innovation as part of Australia’s response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research Australia’s Pre-Budget Submission

Vital investment milestone reached for Australian health and medical research!

15 July 2020

As the national peak alliance for health hand medical research, Research Australia is delighted that a capital injection of $3.2 billion will be made into the Medical Research Future Fund.

‘This is great news for Australia’s health and medical research and innovation sector and importantly, the millions of Australians who benefit from the great research’, said Research Australia CEO and Managing Director Nadia Levin.

‘It is a strong signal to the sector that the MRFF will achieve its objective of $20 billion in capital next week, with the earnings to fund new research and innovation’.

“The role of health and medical research in all of our lives is immense and as this pandemic has demonstrated, we rely heavily on it to ensure our continued wellbeing and access to the best possible care.

Despite all the challenging times we are currently facing it is very gratifying that this tremendous milestone has been reached, in line with the Government’s commitment and bipartisan support.  It offers all Australians hope for a better quality of life in the future, supported by a world class, research enabled health system.

Substantial investment in previous years has meant we can call on Australia’s incredible research today. We must ensure that we maintain this critical capability in the years ahead.

Research Australia’s annual opinion poll Australia Speaks, shows strong public support for greater investment in health and medical research and strong support for the Medical Research Future Fund.

The Medical Research Future Fund was enacted in 2015 with an initial capital injection of $1 billion. Since then, further capital has been invested each financial year, enabling the MRFF to achieve the target of $20 billion in capital with the final instalment of $3.2 billion being made next Tuesday, 21 July.

COVID-19 Impact on Health and Medical Research and Innovation

Research Australia’s submission to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 has sought to highlight the significant and lasting impact the pandemic will have on Australian health and medical research and innovation.

Research Australia’s recommendations to the Inquiry are:

    • The establishment of a national whole of governments review of Australian research and innovation to properly quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector.
    • Commitment to a comprehensive, fully funded strategy for how and where research and innovation will contribute to Australia’s future prosperity and wellbeing.
    • A short-term injection of additional Government funding into research in Australia’s universities and MRIs to preserve existing research capacity while the economy recovers.
    • Extending the JobKeeper scheme to universities would be a good place to start, as would redressing some of the rules that have prevented some MRIs from accessing JobKeeper because of their governance arrangements.

Research Australia’s submission is available here.

Changes to R&D Tax Incentive opposed

Research Australia has used its submission to a Senate Inquiry to argue against the latest round of changes to the R&D Tax Incentive that have been proposed by the Government.

The changes contained in the Treasury Laws Amendment (Research and Development Tax Incentive) Bill 2019 are largely the same as the changes the Senate rejected early last year. Research Australia believes the changes are poorly designed and will significantly reduce R&D in the health sector. With expenditure on the R&D Tax Incentive Scheme having fallen dramatically in the last couple of years and with Government support for R&D at an historic low, Research Australia has urged the Senate Committee to reject the changes again.

Research Austrlaia’s submission is available here.

The submission of an alliance of seven groups from across the health and medical research and innovation sector, including Research Austrlaia, is available here.

The Committee’s final report has been delayed and is now to be tabled in the Senate on 24 August.

Australian health and medical research to support our developing neighbours

Research Australia has responded to the consultation by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on a new International Development Policy for Australia.

While the previous policy funded some research, Research Australia’s submission has highlighted the broader role that research can play; providing case studies of different research collaborations and projects being undertaken in the Pacific region and the contributions they are making to better health outcomes.

Research Australia’s submission.

Mental Health and the role for research in improving outcomes

Research Australia has made a submission in response to the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report on Mental Health. Our submission has focused on recommendations related to the role of the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC), evaluation and mentoring of programs, and the role for research in improving mental health outcomes and the delivery of mental healthcare services.

We have highlighted the significant expertise in program evaluation that exists in the health economics research and health services research community, and the role it could play in supporting the NHMC in evaluating programs. Our recommendations include a role for the NHMC in sponsoring research into gaps in knowledge relating to service delivery and improving the adoption of evidence based care. We have also called for researchers to be given access to data collected and used by the NHMC.

Research Australia’s submission is available here.

Pre Budget submission calls for renewed investment in R&D (December 2019)

Research Australia’s submission to the Treasurer ahead of the 2020-21 Budget has used the Government’s own figures showing a drop in R&D investment by Government and business to call for a renewed focus on research and development, including health and medical research. In addition to greater investment in R&D across the board, Research Australia has called for increased funding for the research programs of the NHMRC and ARC; action to make better use of data; and investment in prevention.

To read Research Australia’s submission and the full list of recommendations, click here.

Better regulation of complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments

Health and medical research enjoys strong public support because people recognise that health and medical research leads to safer, higher quality and more effective healthcare. Research Australia’s members work hard to contribute to an evidence-based healthcare system that is continually improving the healthcare delivered to patients. This is achieved through the development of new treatments based on scientific evidence which have been rigorously tested and evaluated to ensure they are safe and effective.

In doing so, our members have helped create the impression that all existing healthcare is evidence-based, safe and effective. When this is not the case, we have an obligation to ensure that people are aware that what they are receiving is not routine care, and to alert them to the associated risk and other matters they should consider. Research Australia’s submission to the Medical Board of Australia has called for clear and prominent consumer warnings to be provided when consumers are being offered complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments by medical practitioners that aren’t part of a registered clinical trial.

Research Australia’s submission