MEDIA RELEASE – Australia’s health and medical research and innovation sector welcomes new Chief Scientist

10 November 2020

The national peak body for Australia’s health and medical research and innovation sector is delighted to offer congratulations to Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM FAA FTSE on her appointment as Australia’s new Chief Scientist.  

Research Australia CEO, Nadia Levin said, This appointment is a celebration of Dr Foley’s high regard as a renowned physicist and extensive experience as CSIRO’s Chief Scientist and importantly, deep understanding of the scientific landscape and the contribution it does and should make to society. 

Dr Foley’s extensive contributions to areas such as understanding of superconductors has been influential in translating fundamental research into commercial outcomes. The health and medical research community looks forward to working with Dr Foley to translate our incredible lifesciences research into health systems outcomes. 

“I would like to warmly thank outgoing Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO for his significant leadership and endeavours during his tenure. Over the past five years, Dr Finkel AO has truly cemented his position as a friend to the health and medical research community, said Nadia Levin. 

Research Australia has welcomed the Prime Minister’s comments yesterday that Dr Foley’s role will be to facilitate collaboration between industry and the science and research community. 

“Research Australia has long encouraged collaboration between research, science and industry and we believe Dr Foley is poised to lead Australia’s science and innovation community as it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The economic value that health and medical research and innovation offers this country should not be underestimated.  

Working together, we’re confident Australia can lead the world in health innovation and we believe the chance to maximise the health and wealth opportunities within the innovation and science sector more broadly, is now.  

We look forward to working with Dr Foley to achieve this, said Nadia Levin. 

Research Australia is the national peak body for Australian health and medical research and innovation. http://www.researchaustralia.org
Media contact: Lucy Clynes 0404 068 912 

Data Availability and Transparency- Draft Bill and Accreditation Framework

Research Australia has been advocating for many years for improved access to public data for research. We made submissions to the Productivity Commission’s 2016 Inquiry into Data Availability and Use. Strongly supportive of the Commission’s recommendations, we have worked with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet on the consultations which have culminated in the release of the Data Availability and Transparency Bill exposure draft and the proposed Accreditation Framework.

The Draft Bill and accompanying Accreditation Framework for researchers are broadly in line with previous consultations and discussions. Research Australia has made some recommendations designed to improve the operation of the legislation and the Framework.

Research Australia’s submission is available here.

The Data Availability and Transparency Bill was introduced into the House of Representatives on 9 December 2020. Research Australia expects the legislation to be passed by the Parliament in 2021.

Notice of Research Australia AGM 2020

Dear Members
On behalf of the Research Australia Board, you are invited to attend the virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday 3rd December 2020 at 9h30am-10h00am AEDT.

During this meeting we will consider the following agenda items:

ORDINARY BUSINESS

ANNUAL OVERVIEW

ANNUAL ACCOUNTS

To consider the annual report, financial statements and report of the Directors and Auditor for the year ended 30 June 2020.

RESULTS OF DIRECTOR APPOINTMENT/S

To acknowledge returning Directors and the appointment of new Director/s in accordance with the Company’s Constitution.

OTHER BUSINESS

Any other business that may be brought forward at a general meeting in accordance with the Constitution.

Please note: A Member who is entitled to vote at the meeting has a right to appoint a proxy and should use the proxy form available here.  One vote is entitled per member organisation.  Please sign and date the proxy form and email to admin@researchaustralia.org by Monday 30 November 2020.

Please register here and we look forward to connecting with you on the day.

With best regards

Nadia Levin

Managing Director 

Research Australia

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.

ALP GUARANTEES $20B HEALTH AND MEDICAL RESEARCH FUND

After years of campaigning by Research Australia, the Australian Labor Party has committed to the full $20 billion capitalisation of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) by 2020-21.

The MRFF is a once-in-a-generation plan to underwrite health and medical research, providing better health outcomes for all Australians; and a safer, better quality and more effective health system.

Research Australia CEO and Managing Director, Nadia Levin, said she was thrilled that the MRFF now has bipartisan support, with the fund to reach the full $20 billion by 2020-21.

 “Let’s be clear – every dollar invested into medical research is a dollar invested into the health of all Australians, and the health of our economy,” Ms Levin said.

 “This funding will make a tangible, measurable difference to the lives of Australians, from treatments for people touched by common killers, through to those with rare diseases.

 “It is incredibly rewarding to see both sides of politics reflecting so closely the commitment we called for in our Pre-Election Statement<https://researchaustralia.org/pre-election-statement/> on behalf of the health and medical research community.

 “We would like to express our gratitude to the Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare, Hon Catherine King MP for meeting with us recently in April to discuss the issue.

 “At the end of the day, this funding will allow new medical discoveries and treatments to bring hope to Aussie patients.

 “Research Australia recognises the significant scale of this win, which our membership has been calling for since we convened a Pre-Election summit in 2018.

 “This bipartisan support is an important underwriting of a rapidly evolving area of research and healthcare, and will further strengthen Australia’s expertise and build upon our potential.

 “The beneficiaries of the MRFF are universities, medical research institutes, not-for-profits and commercial medical research, and ultimately the Australian people and the economy.

 “I challenge people to come up with a list more worthy of support.”

 To find out more about Research Australia visit: www.researchaustralia.org<https://www.researchaustralia.org>

 For more information please contact: Lauren Devlin 0449 041 214

Research Australia proposes new MRFF Priorities

Research Australia has a made a comprehensive submission to the consultation on the new MRFF Priorities 2018-2020.

Working with our broad membership, Research Australia’s approach was to start with the Strategic Platforms and examine every Priority and all the existing and proposed funding programs.  We looked at how well they were aligned, where the gaps were, and what wasn’t working. Research Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution made by our members through discussions and the exchange of ideas and proposals.

Research Australia proposes that four Priorities be retained in their current form and that a further seven be retained but amended. We also propose five existing Priorities be discontinued and six new Priorities created. Research Australia’s response to the consultation is available here.

With the consultation period now completed, the next stage rests with the MRFF Advisory Board which is responsible for developing and issuing the next Priorities. We wish the Board well with this important task and look forward to seeing the new MRFF Priorities towards the end of 2018.

 

Amendments to the R&D Tax Incentive

Research Australia has made a submission in response to the draft amendments to the R&D Tax Incentive legislation, the latest round of changes since the legislation commenced seven years ago. Research Australia’s submission addresses two key issues.

The  first is our concern that the definition of clinical trial is not broad enough to ensure the exemption from the $4 million cap on R&D expenditure will apply to all clinical trials activity, particularly for medical devices. We have worked with other peak bodies, including Ausbiotech and BioMelbourne Network, to propose an alternative and more inclusive definition.

The second main concern relates to the proposed reduction in the rate of the R&D Tax Incentive. For early stage companies seeking to commercialise new pharmaceuticals, biotechnologies and devices, this has the effect of directly reducing their cashflow at a critical stage in their development. Research Australia has opposed the rate reduction.

Research Australia’s submission

Improving Research Funding

Research Australia’s submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Research Funding has proposed a review across all funding agencies and government departments to eliminate unnecessary inconsistencies in application guidelines, processes and acquittal procedures. We also called for the development of a common approach to the calculation and payment of funding to cover the indirect costs of research.

Research Australia’s submission

Nominations open for GSK Award for Research Excellence

Nominations for GSK’s Award for Research Excellence are open until 6 July 2018. The longstanding award seeks to assist leading Australian researchers by providing the winner with an $80,000 grant to support their research journey.

The GSK Award for Research Excellence is one of the most prestigious available to the Australian medical research community. It has been awarded since 1980 to recognise outstanding achievements in medical research with potential importance to human health.

Last year’s award was received by Professor Timothy Hughes – considered a world-leader in chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) research – for pioneering the use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in the treatment of CML. You can view his winning video here.

Speaking about the award, Professor Hughes said “Awards like GSK’s Award for Research Excellence bring much needed support to the research community in Australia. Not only through the direct impact of the award’s funding, but also through raising awareness of the scientific expertise and innovative activities in our country.”

Professor Hughes and his team at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute are currently focused on treatment response to optimise disease management and patient outcomes. The $80,000 prize that comes with the GSK Award for Research Excellence will help support a Leukaemia Fellow to work alongside Professor Hughes in furthering research into CML.

The award was presented to Professor Hughes at Research Australia’s Health and Medical Research Awards 2017 in Melbourne. Dr Andrew Weekes, Medical Director, GSK Australia, said, “GSK is proud to be able to support Australian researchers with this award, now in its 38th year.

Successful applicants are generally mid-career researchers with a long-standing commitment to their field. The winner will be announced on Thursday 8 November 2018 at the Research Australia Health and Medical Research Awards dinner, being held at the Sofitel Sydney, Darling Harbour.

Further information is available on the GSK ARE website where nominees may be submitted. Please email any enquires to are.arenominations@gsk.com. Nominations close 2 July 2018.

 

Research for a Sustainable WA Health System

Research Australia has urged the Expert Panel responsible for undertaking WA’s Sustainable Health Review to give greater emphasis to the role health and medical research can play in creating a more sustainable health system for Western Australians.

While welcoming the identification by the Review Panel of the need to ‘Harness and support health and medical research, collaboration and innovation’ as one of the Interim Report’s 12 Directions, our response further elaborates the role for health and medical research in achieving the other 11 Directions identified by the Review Panel. We have used examples and case studies provided by our WA members to highlight the many ways that research is already helping reform WA’s health system, and the many opportunities to further leverage and expand this partnership for the benefit of the whole community.

Research Australia’s submission to the WA Sustainable Health Review