Research Australia’s response to COVID-19

Right now, the invaluable health and medical research and innovation of Research Australia’s member organisations is being demonstrated.  It is the incredible work being done in this sector that has enabled us to deal with this crisis and it has been our priority to keep the government, membership and public aware of progress in real time. In the last months we have briefed over 100 Members of Parliament on the incredible work underway around Australia in response to COVID-19.

Research Australia’s Sydney and Melbourne offices promptly and efficiently implemented safe working practices with all staff working remotely from mid-March this year. As is our mantra, health first!

We know only too well the importance of data in the health sector and we’ve certainly adopted technology to support the moving of our day-to-day activities, key forums and government briefings to online platforms to continue our advocacy for the sector and to keep key stakeholders abreast of important milestones as we face this pandemic.

Our members have been truly inspiring, quickly shifting their day-to-day research and innovation activities and doing the heavy lifting to help Australia respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.  They have been collaborating intensely and drawing on their networks to learn from local and international experience, adapting quickly and sharing the best ways to respond.

Research Australia is also in the process of publishing a series of reports on the COVID-19 pandemic and we have already published the first two in the series which are available below.

COVID-19 series report 1 – How Australia’s health and medical research sector is responding

Research Australia is pleased and proud to publish a report featuring over 50 of our members’ overviews of more than 200 ongoing studies into COVID-19 nationally.

Click arrow below to download the report.

Click here to access the interview with Nadia Levin and The Guardian published June 28

The extent of our members’ activities have included: research about delivering health care for treating COVID-19 patients, keeping health workers safe, understanding how the virus behaves, measures to keep us all in the community safe, finding new treatments for those with the virus that become really unwell and the mental health impacts of the shutdown.  We are all incredibly proud of these efforts, including the outstanding activities to lead the development of vaccines to give us immunity, which is the path to return to more normal lives.

With it so heartening to hear the very many examples of how our members have been advising governments and the front-line, we have been using our convening powers to bring together the health and medical research and innovation leaders with political leaders from right across the country to ensure key decision-makers have the most up-to-date information about this pandemic.

With the many stories our members have shared with us about these activities, we are now looking at what we have learned from COVID-19, what has worked well and how we can embed new ways of innovating and delivering research-based healthcare into our health system for the benefit of us all.

COVID-19 series report 2 – The impact of COVID-19 on health and medical researchers

Research Australia is pleased to release the second report in our COVID-19 series which  details the short term nature of careers in what should be regarded as a critical national capability.

Click arrow below to download the report.

Importantly, we need to understand the profound impact the pandemic is having on the research sector and what that means for the future of Australia’s research and ultimately to all of us. We are relying on research and innovation to lead us out of the pandemic.

We also need to think about how we ensure health and medical research remains a stable and sustainable part of all of our lives, today and tomorrow.

COVID-19 series report 3 – Philanthropy in health and medical research: the impact of the pandemic

Research Australia is pleased to release the third eport in our COVID-19 series which  takes an in depth look at just how our sector and its supporters are dealing with and adapting to the new normal.

Click arrow below to download the report.

We all know that health and medical research is a significant and strategically important part of our economy – it drives a healthier population and healthy economy.

Australia undertakes world class health and medical research with goals of better health outcomes, safer and more effective healthcare and the commercialisation of research discoveries.  It is an activity that resonates across the whole of the nation’s economy and community – particularly now with the experience of COVID-19.

Research Australia advocates for smarter investment in our sector and this includes philanthropy. While government funding of HMR is the bedrock of this system, contributions from charities are also significant. It is imperative the governments, stakeholders and the greater community understand how essential the contributions made by philanthropists, corporates and individuals are to health and medical research.

We asked our fundraising members how the pandemic has impacted the research they fund, their fundraising activities and their future plans.

News coverage

The COVIDsafe app: Research Australia calls for support – Croakey

COVID-19 reminds us why we invest in Australian health and medical research – The Canberra Times

‘Blown away’: Australian coronavirus researchers examine everything from breastfeeding to explosive technology – The Guardian

Pandemic highlights pitfalls of short-term research funding – The Australian Financial Review 

Australia’s world-class medical researchers face job insecurity – Health Industry Hub