Have your say!

As the national peak body for health and medical research, Research Australia represents stakeholders across the health and medical research pipeline and this includes researchers and innovators along with health service providers and consumers or consumer representative groups. Regardless of where our members sit on this pipeline, we have witnessed how the global pandemic has impacted them, exposing both flaws and opportunities in many parts of our national systems.

Our consultation has been open for several months, receiving strong engagement from right across the sector. We are currently analysing the responses. If you have thoughts, please do not hesitate to get in touch via consultation@researchaustralia.org.

Introducing post-pandemic opportunities for health and medical research

COVID has demonstrated unequivocally the value of medical research – from breakthrough basic sciences research that established the basis for mRNA vaccines; through to rapid research responses to identify promising treatments; to excellent public heath research to develop and refine public health measures and communications.

In turn, the pandemic has also exposed some of the underlying fragility of our research infrastructure, and caused significant dislocation to established research programs and activity.

Over-reliance on imports generally, but in this instance on crucial medical equipment, has been highlighted by the pandemic. We are also too dependent on income generated by international students to fund vital research in higher education.

As we emerge out of the pandemic, the economic value health and medical and innovation research offers Australia should not be underestimated. Real economic stimulation and skills and jobs growth are significant opportunities across the health and medical research pipeline.

Australia is in the fortunate position of having among the world’s top talent in health and medical research and the institutions to underpin the creation of new economic activity. Our seeming inability to more effectively translate this research must be addressed.

Research Australia has been working with our members to closely examine how we tackle the challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic. Together, we can emerge with a stronger health and medical research sector capable of delivering better health and more wealth for Australians.

The areas we will explore are:

    1. Strategic coordination of funding for health and medical research through a National Strategy for Health and Medical Research.
    2. Future-proofing Australian health and medical research through workforce planning, particularly for early and mid-career researchers, and addressing indirect costs.
    3. Imagining the Australian health industries of the future, starting with a national stocktake of health and medical research to identify the strengths and unnecessary duplications.
    4. Meeting the needs of state and territory health systems by engaging the states and territories in the identification of research priorities.
    5. Putting patients and the public at the centre of health innovation, looking at tools like consumer panels to improve consumer co-design.