29 March 2022
Research Australia, the national alliance for Australian health and medical research, has welcomed strategic investment in medical research and innovation announced in tonight’s Federal Budget while expressing concern at the lack of further investment in key funding streams, including the NHMRC’s Medical Research Endowment Account (MREA).
Research Australia welcomed much-needed support for primary care research, the establishment of Genomics Australia and two new Rural Health Departments at Edith Cowan and Curtin Universities and a Rural Clinical School at Charles Sturt University.
“A framework to identify gaps and align future initiatives to support the biotechnology sector is also very good news and investment in mRNA further supports Australia as a global leader in RNA research,” Research Australia CEO Nadia Levin said.
“We need further significant investment like this if we are serious about innovation and creating future industries.
“We also applaud the continued investment in the MRFF Frontier Health and Medical Research initiative, which was designed by Research Australia in partnership with the Department of Health,” Ms Levin said.
However, while these key announcements supporting health and medical research and innovation are great news, Ms Levin said there is a worrying continuation of the real terms decline in funding for the NHMRC’s MREA.
“This is of genuine concern to the health and medical research community, and it jeopardises our long-term research capability and increases the precariousness of research careers. The pandemic has shown us just how much we need these critical skills and they are not developed overnight. Research is a long term, sustained investment and these funding bodies are crucial to guiding our future,” Ms Levin said.
“It has real impacts for all Australians who rightly expect health and medical research to protect their health and it’s a missed opportunity to build new industries and skills creation in health as a sector.”
“The rising cost of living has been addressed in the Budget with cash payments, tax relief and cuts to the fuel excise however, increasing inflation also affects health and medical research, making the cost of undertaking research higher; and an insecure workforce means we are at risk of losing the skills of those we most need from a health and economic perspective” Ms. Levin said.
Addressing these issues are at the centre of Research Australia’s advocacy for a National Health and Medical Research Strategy, as announced by Minister Hunt at the Research Australia Awards in December.
Research Australia is the national peak body for health and medical research, representing the entire health and medical research pipeline.
Media contact: Peta Garrett – 0400 011 394