RESEARCH AUSTRALIA WELCOMES AUSTRALIA’S ECONOMIC ACCELERATOR TO SUPPORT MEDICAL RESEARCH AND INNOVATION

2 February 2022

Research Australia welcomes the announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison of the new $1.6b Australia’s Economic Accelerator (AEA) to enhance the commercialisation of Australia’s world-leading research and innovation.

Seamless support for research from discovery to commercialisation has been a key priority for Research Australia on behalf of its membership across the entire research pipeline, and a significant focus of Research Australia’s national consultation on a future National Health and Medical Research Strategy.

“The AEA program announced by the Prime Minister at the National Press Club is a solid step forward in addressing the well-known problem of the ‘valley of death’,” said Research Australia CEO Nadia Levin.

“Sustainable government funding like this moves us that bit closer towards developing a thriving research commercialisation and manufacturing ecosystem that benefits our health and economy,” Ms Levin said.

“At the moment we have a real issue with public funding not taking research far enough along the pipeline to make it attractive to commercial investors and/or commercial investors who are reluctant to invest in research at an earlier stage.

“Stronger connections between industry and research development along with encouraging mutually beneficial commercialisation partnerships between Australian universities, industry, and funders, can bring significant value for our innovation and export capabilities, and government plays a huge role in facilitating this,” Ms Levin said.

Research Australia also welcomes the announcement of industry PhDs and Fellowships, an initiative Research Australia has advocated for in the past. This is an important step in changing the research culture in Australia to give more researchers experience in industry.

“Our sector has long said there is a pressing need for training for university research staff in commercialisation, business development and developing research with industry and government. We’re hopeful that beyond the industry fellowships program, these issues can be addressed as part of a National Strategy for Health and Medical Research, announced by Health Minister, Greg Hunt at the Research Australia Awards in December.

“Research Australia looks forward to seeing the detail on how these programs will work and integrate with existing programs to provide effective and sustainable support across the entire pipeline of research from discovery to translation,” Ms Levin said.

Ensuring nationally coordinated, strategic investment in all stages of research has strong support from the sector under a future National Health and Medical Research Strategy.

“We are pleased to see the University Research Commercialisation Action Plan reinforce the importance of funding for basic research, however funding the full cost of research across the pipeline remains an issue.

“We will continue to advocate for increased funding across the research pipeline and the inclusion of Medical Research Institutes in the Accelerator, Industry PhD and Fellowships programs to ensure industry is able to engage more effectively with all of Australia’s publicly funded researchers,” Ms Levin said.

The issues facing funding for health and medical research are explored further by Research Australia here as part of our work on a new National Health and Medical Research Strategy. https://researchaustralia.org/health-and-medical-research-australia-can-do-better/strategic-coordination-of-funding-for-health-and-medical-research/

 

ENDS

Research Australia is the national peak body for health and medical research, representing stakeholders across the entire health and medical research pipeline. For more on Research Australia, go to: www.researchaustralia.org

 Media contact: Peta Garrett – 0400 011 394

 

2022-23 Pre Budget Submission- a way forward

Research Australia’s 2022-23 Pre Budget Submission acknowledges the COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous toll on the Australian community and globally, but also recognises that as a consequence of the way Australian governments and the community have responded, the impact in Australia has been comparatively mild.

Australia’s response to COVID-19 has been so broad and deep because of previous investments in the nation’s research and innovation capacity. This capacity, and the funding that underpins it, cannot be taken for granted. There is no guarantee that Australia’s health and medical research and innovation community will be equally well placed to respond to a future pandemic.

Research Australia’s submission makes the case for why maintaining and expanding this existing capacity for health and medical research and innovation is in the national interest.

In addition to raising national prosperity and diversifying our economy, smarter investment in health and medical research and innovation can improve the effectiveness of our health system; constraining the rise in health costs that accompany an ageing population. It can also provide a sustainable pathway to addressing modern lifestyle factors such as obesity. Smarter investment also drives skilled employment in vibrant new pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology industries.

Research Australia is advocating for an overarching national health and medical research strategy which ensures smarter, coordinated, strategic public investment in all stages of research; maximises impact on national priorities such as burden of disease, and the stronger translation of evidence-based research into healthcare delivery; and exploits areas of international competitive advantage. Imagining and preparing for the Australia we want in 50 years’ time has to start today.

Research Australia’ s submission is available here.

Medical Products Roadmap Consultation

Research Australia has responded to the consultation being undertaken by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to support the development of a Medical Products Manufacturing Roadmap under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative announced in the October 2020 Budget. Medical products is one of six strategic areas being targeted under the MMI for Government spending of $1.3 billion over five years.

The Consultation was undertaken using an electronic survey restricted the length of the response to each question. Research Australia’s response emphasises:

    • the opportunity to support the manufacture of products and materials for clinical trials;
    • the opportunity this provides to scale to full scale manufacturing, keeping the full scale manufacturing of medical products developed in Australia on shore; and
    • the opportunity to support manufacturing in high value medical products.

Research Australia’s submission is available here.  These proposals were further developed in Research Australia’s January 2021 Pre Budget submission, available here.

The Government subsequently released the Medical Products National Manufacturing Priority Roadmap in February 2021. Research Australia’s proposal to support manufacturing for clinical trials as part of the Roadmap was adopted, and identified as a pathway to scaling up of manufacturing capability. The Roadmap is available here.

Medical technology investment to improve lives

11 September 2017

The Biomedical Translation Fund will fund three medical breakthroughs, as announced jointly by The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Health and Sports Minister and Senator The Hon Arthur Sinodinos, Minister for Industry, Innovation ad Science.

The investments are being made for the BTF by one of its three fund managers, BioScience Managers:

  • $5 million in Rex Bionics to develop a hands-free robotic device to help people with severe
    disability to walk, exercise and rehabilitate;
  • $3.3 million to Saluda Medical for neuromodulation technologies for people suffering from
    chronic back pain and other debilitating conditions;
  • $5 million to CHARM Informatics for data aggregation and commercialisation services for
    makers of ‘smart’ medical devices.

A joint venture between the Australian Government and private sector investors, further investments are yet to be made, with a total of $500 million available.

Read the full media release about the Biomedical Translation Fund.

Continue reading “Medical technology investment to improve lives”

Why online health records help us all

Friday 1 September 2017

In an era of big data, the opportunity to harness the masses of information, including personal health records, through better collection, linkage and access, has the potential to transform our health systems and the way we deliver healthcare.

The more a doctor who is treating you knows about your medical history (and the quicker that history can be accessed) the better chance you have of it saving your life. If you are in an accident, unconscious and seriously hurt, then you really want those taking care of you to be able to access all your information about allergies, illnesses and medical history. It could make the difference between life and death.

You might assume doctors in various parts of the health system can already access your information, when the reality is that in most cases they cannot.The Australian health system is fragmented and information is not easily shared between the various GPs, medical specialists, private clinics and hospitals you visit over a lifetime. This means the data a medical professional looks at might not be complete or you may have to recall your own history repeatedly. This can lead to poor diagnoses and increased cost to the health system, with every repeat test and scan that might otherwise have been avoided.

Continue reading “Why online health records help us all”

Federal Budget 2017-18 | First grants issued by MRFF

Response to Budget 2017

Research Australia welcomes first grants issued by Medical Research Future Fund

Government delivers on promise to establish flow of funding into health and medical research $20 billion capital target to be achieved in 2020-21

After a long-fought campaign to bring the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to reality, health and medical researchers have welcomed the first round of grants issued from the MRFF, as announced tonight in the Federal Budget. $65.9 million is available for 2016/17, with the detail of $25 million of this spending released tonight. Just as importantly, we now have a clear path to achieving the capital target of $20 billion, with the Budget papers revealing this target will be achieved in 2020-21.

Research Australia Director and CSL’s Senior Vice President of Research, Dr Andrew Nash, said the Budget announcement tonight confirmed the Government has begun to deliver on its promise to establish a consistent flow of funding for health and medical research.

“The grants announced tonight represent an important milestone in the establishment of this landmark source of funding for health and medical research.
Continue reading “Federal Budget 2017-18 | First grants issued by MRFF”

Federal Budget 2017-18 | Highlights

We have just got out of the Health Portfolio Federal Budget Lockup and here’s some early news on items affecting our sector.

We will provide you with more details around how the Federal Budget 2017-18 directly impacts health and medical research in the next few hours.

  • In 17-18, the total Health budget including (Aged Care & Sport) will increase 2.8% on last year to $94.2bn – that is 20% of total Commonwealth spend.
  • $5bn of that relates to HMR which includes:
    • $10M in preventive health research funded from MRFF
    • $78.8m for cancer research including $68m for a Proton Beam Facility in South Australia and $14.8m for childhood cancer.
  • Funding of $642.9 million will be made available in 2020 – 21, bringing total investment in HMR over the first 5 years of the MRFF to 1.4b, this is in addition to NHMRC funding.
  • $374.2m for national expansion of My Health Record to an opt-out system as agreed by COAG last year which will deliver enormous savings to the nation’s health bill over the next decade.
  • A compact with the pharmaceutical sector will mean lower cost medicines for consumers and in return allow more new drugs on the PBS and provide certainty and funding viability for the sector – congratulations to Medicines Australia

Continue reading “Federal Budget 2017-18 | Highlights”

Temporary Work (Skilled) visa subclass 457 scrapped

This week, the Prime Minister announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

The TSS visa program will be comprised of a Short-Term stream of up to two years and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years and will support businesses ‘in addressing genuine skill shortages in their workforce and will contain a number of safeguards which prioritise Australian workers.’
Continue reading “Temporary Work (Skilled) visa subclass 457 scrapped”

National Science Statement

Yesterday the Australian government launched the National Science Statement, outlining its commitment to science as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

This comes in advance of the 2030 Strategic Plan for Innovation, Science and Research, with Innovation and Science Australia commissioned by the government to review Australia’s performance in science and innovation, and develop a plan through to 2030.

Research Australia welcomes the Statement’s long-term approach to science in Australia; in particular, the explicit references to secure and sustainable investment and recognition of the role of research as a central contributor to GDP.  Continue reading “National Science Statement”

Themes and Priorities for the CRC Programme

CRCs have played a key role in the translation of Australian health and medical research. Research Australia’s response to the Government’s consultation on Themes and Priorities for the CRC Programme took the opportunity to advocate for the reinstatement of Public Good CRCs, which are specifically excluded by the most recent Guidelines for the CRC Programme.

Research Australia’s Submission – CRC Themes Consultation