Australian Health and Medical Research

Health and medical research aims to improve the health and well being of people. It draws on our knowledge of the human body and the world around us to find ways to identify, cure and prevent disease; reduce injury and disability; improve the delivery of health services; and help us to lead healthier lives.

Health and medical research embraces a range of different disciplines including biology, physiology, pharmacology, chemistry, engineering, biotechnology, epidemiology, medicine, psychology, nursing, allied health, population studies, IT, mathematics, economics and health services research.

It is concerned with basic discoveries about:

  • how our bodies and minds function and how they respond to disease;
  • the development of new drugs, procedures and therapies;
  • influencing behaviour to improve health; and
  • making our health services more effective and efficient.

Research takes place in our universities and hospitals, medical research institutes and companies, as well as in the community. The researchers include scientists, medical specialists, nurses, GPs, allied health professionals to name a few. Some are full time researchers and others undertake research as a part of their job.

Australian health and medical research is supported by Commonwealth and State governments, companies and the not for profit sector. Australians can and do support health and medical research through philanthropy and other types of donations and participating in clinical trials to test the effectiveness of new drugs and therapies. Increasingly patient groups are becoming involved in all stages of the research process, from the board room to the clinic. In total Australia spends around $6 billion per year on health and medical research.