Research Australia is calling on the Australian government to use the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to boost research at the limits of our application of human health science and technology.
Australia has the potential to lead markets and create new ones by applying cutting-edge science and technology to new, first in world applications that improve human health.
Frontier technologies in areas like precision medicine, machine learning, the human microbiome, gene and cell-based medicines, space medicine and immunotherapy are being researched in Australia. Innovations such as these will fundamentally change the way future generations manage their health. The challenge is to make sure this research is commercialised in Australia and that the health benefits are enjoyed by Australians.
“The Medical Research Future Fund is a once in a generation opportunity to change our future. In a series of conversations with health funders – both Government and the private sector – we have been canvassing ways in which we could use the MRFF to make large-scale investment into a suite of research at the outer limits of what we currently know about human health.
“We don’t want to be too definitive about exactly what areas of research this should cover, but it should certainly be focused around disciplines and technologies not yet routinely applied in mainstream healthcare settings,” said Research Australia CEO, Nadia Levin.
Under Research Australia’s Medical Frontiers proposal, the Government could invest around 10 per cent of the MRFF1 in frontier research with the potential to transform how healthcare is practiced in Australia and overseas. You might have seen this proposal in our Pre-Budget Submission and in our ongoing political engagement activities.
“Essentially it is about economies of scale – we’re asking the Government to inject significant amounts into existing potential frontier research projects to exponentially boost their progress towards a translatable stage. The project which emerges as leader of the pack of these “boosted” projects will receive large-scale funding to enable a frontier outcome.
“This is innovative HMR funding. It’s new and bold and importantly, it positions Australia as a valuable contender in the global health space which means more opportunities for us all,” Ms Levin said.
Smarter investment in innovation in the health and medical research sector contributes to ensuring Australia’s future wealth is built on the capacity and ingenuity of its people.
“We put ideas like this on the table for the consideration of both public and private sector research funders because as the national peak body, we have a responsibility to talk more about how health and medical research can contribute to Australia’s health wealth and economic wealth.”
1 Based on the MRFF being fully capitalised at $20b in underlying funds.