9 May 2023
The national peak body for health and medical research, Research Australia, has welcomed long overdue investment in key research funding streams, the NHMRC and ARC.
“Like all parts of the economy, inflation has well and truly increased the cost of undertaking health and medical research and innovation. In past Budgets, Government funding for research has failed to keep pace with inflation. Tonight’s commitment to a 3.6% increase over 2022 / 2023 brings the NHMRC in line with inflation. While there is still a long way to go, this is welcome news for the research community that all Australians rely on to improve their health,” said Research Australia CEO, Nadia Levin.
Research Australia is pleased to see the attention being focused on the commercialisation of health and medical research, through programs such as the National Reconstruction Fund and Australia’s Economic Accelerator.
“For health and medical research and innovation to flourish, we must sustain the whole pipeline. Strategic and coordinated financial settings for all stages of the health and medical research pipeline will ensure Australian health and medical research can contribute to a healthy population and economy.
“The Medical Research Future Fund Board of Guardians approved up to $870 million for release from the MRFF to fund research in 2023-24. Of that available $870 million only $650 million is flowing through to the MRFF in 2023-24 and the subsequent three financial years. We will be working with Government to understand why,” said Research Australia CEO, Nadia Levin.
Research Australia has also welcomed the Budget’s $6.1 billion investment in strengthening Medicare and improvements in digital health but says that reform must be supported by evidence grounded in research.
“The health and medical research sector welcomes the necessary primary care improvements in tonight’s Budget which will benefit Australian health consumers for the next decade and beyond.
“All health system change must be informed by latest and best evidence. However, there has been no commitment to fund research to guide the design and implementation of these measures, or to support their evaluation. Measures to boost the primary care workforce similarly, do not include support for researchers to generate the evidence for improved primary care.
“It is heartening to see overdue digital health investment, particularly improvements to the My Health Record which could one day provide a wealth of secure, anonymous health data and accompanying research opportunities on a scale never before seen in Australia.
“All improvements to the My Health Record must be accompanied by a framework to guide safe, sensible secondary use of my health record for public-good health research. Research Australia stands ready to work with a reinvigorated Australian Digital Health Agency to progress this Framework,” said Nadia Levin.
Research Australia is the national peak body for health and medical research, representing the entire health and medical research pipeline.