Research Australia, the national peak body for health and medical research, is calling for an urgent injection of funding into the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) with news today that inflation is running at 5.1%, meaning important medical discoveries are at greater risk of going unfunded.
Research Australia CEO Nadia Levin said the health and medical research sector is concerned that key funding streams have failed to keep pace with inflation, which has been exacerbated by today’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase.
“In the recent Budget, the funding available to the NHMRC increased by only 1.5% for 2022-23. This was bad enough with the Budget forecasting inflation at 3%, but with CPI now hitting 5.1%, the situation is getting worse,” Ms Levin said.
“Researchers are expected to do more with less, at a time when universities are still recovering from the pandemic and delays have impacted research. We have researchers on fixed term contracts of as little as 3 months and the rising cost of conducting research puts the already dire position of so many researchers at even greater risk.
“We have such opportunity in drawing international companies to Australia to support industry and jobs growth because of our research excellence, but we must adequately fund basic research to ensure new discoveries are coming through the pipeline to commercialise.”
Research Australia is representing the sector on the Strategy Advisory Committee to develop the nation’s health and medical research strategy that will facilitate a national approach to health and medical research and innovation.
“We know this strategy is long-term and must be underpinned by stronger investment in key supports for fundamental research, in particular the NHMRC, which is a crucial part of building future capabilities,” Ms Levin said.
“We also need action now, to protect vital research and ensure researchers’ continuing employment. Research Australia is calling for a further injection into the NHMRC’s budget allocation, at a bare minimum, to reflect the projected cost of inflation as an urgent short-term fix.
“We saw the Government take steps with the petrol excise levy and one-off cash payments – we are asking for the same sort of urgent consideration for our vital research,” Ms Levin said.
Research Australia is the national peak body for health and medical research, representing the entire health and medical research pipeline.
For more on Research Australia, go to: www.researchaustralia.org
Media contact: Peta Garrett – 0400 011 394