Australians embrace health and medical research in a changing landscape of healthcare

Media Release
September 12, 2018

Australians continue to place improving hospitals and healthcare as the number one spending priority for the Australian Government ahead of infrastructure, education standards and employment opportunities.

We are pleased to see that more funding for health and medical research is the 6th most important of the 27 priorities presented in the poll. (It has been consistently in top 10 ever since we started polling in 2003.)

Interest among Australians in health and medical research is high with 89% saying they are interested in health and medical research.  However, while confident in their ability to contribute to decision making about the future direction of HMR most Australians don’t know how, and many don’t believe they’d be heard.  Our governments and research organisations clearly have more work to do to meaningfully engage with the broader community.
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Research Australia welcomes additional rare cancers and rare diseases research

The Government has today announced an $69 million boost in funding for research in to rare cancers and rare diseases, including $26 million allocated to 19 projects as a part of the Medical Research Future Fund’s “Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Needs Clinical Trials Program”. This program has been expanded from $13 million when announced last year to $26 million in recognition of the quality of the applications received.

A $10 million targeted call for research into rare diseases and cancers is expected soon, and an additional $33 million will be made available in the next financial year to further expand research in this area.

Research Australia welcomes the additional funding, and recognises the importance of funding for these areas which impact many Australian families.

Last year Research Australia made a submission to the Senate Select Committee Inquiry into Funding for Research into Cancers with Low Survival Rates, which you can read in full here.

You can keep a track of all of the Medical Research Future Fund funding announcements here, or click here to read the Minister for Health’s full statement on today’s funding boost.

 

Corporate Giving And Innovative Research Have The Greatest Impact

Commitment, support and passion are hallmarks of organisations making a difference and this is even more significant when it’s to fight a devastating childhood cancer.

With very few treatment options and no cure yet, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a devastating childhood cancer, that is highly aggressive and difficult to treat due to the location of the tumor. The only way is through expensive medical research.

At a gala event in Melbourne last Thursday, the national advocacy body, Research Australia awarded the QBE Foundation the Leadership in Corporate Giving Award for amazing support of The Kids’ Cancer Project to raise funds to find a way to beat this terrible disease.

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How a devastating diagnosis inspired a passion for health and medical research

The Incredible Story of Megan Donnell 

When the rare and devastating Sanfilippo Syndrome struck Megan Donnell’s family, she responded by setting up a $3 million Foundation to fund high-quality medical research into the condition. 

Sanfilippo Syndrome is an extremely rare, genetic disorder which causes progressive brain damage. Currently, there is no cure. Reeling from the news that their own two children had been diagnosed with Sanfilippo Syndrome, the Donnell family were reportedly told by doctors “not to bother chasing cures because there aren’t any.” Ms Donnell resigned from her role as a management consultant to establish the Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation.

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The young researcher using zebrafish to understand progressive muscle weakness

Seventy per cent of human genes are found in zebrafish and it’s this incredible commonality which has helped Monash University early career researcher Dr Avnika Ruparelia to better understand the causes of progressive muscle weakness.

At last nights annual Health and Medical Research Awards held by national advocacy body, Research Australia Dr Ruparelia received the Griffith University Discovery Award for her ground-breaking research into the causes and therapeutics for a group of late onset muscle disorders known as myofibrillar myopathies.

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Research Australia’s Collaborative Strategy

Research Australia’s Collaborative Strategy and Priority Projects are now available for you to download and share. 

Our vision

Research Australia envisions a world where Australia unlocks the full potential of its world-leading health and medical research sector to deliver the best possible healthcare and global leadership in health innovation.

Our goals

Connecting researchers, funders, and consumers to increase investment in health and medical research from all sources.

Engaging Australia in a conversation about the health benefits and economic value of its investment in health and medical research.

Influencing government policies that support effective health and medical research and its routine translation into evidence-based practices and better health outcomes.

Our mission

To use our unique convening power to position health and medical research as a significant driver of a healthy population and contributor to a healthy economy.

Changes to NHMRC’s Grant Program

The eagerly awaited changes to the NHMRC’s grant program have been announced this morning. As Research Australia and many others in our sector have advocated for, they are a combination of elements from the models proposed in the consultation paper issued in the middle of last year. Importantly, these changes reflect much of the advice provided to the review panel from the sector.

Research Australia welcomes the reforms announced and notes that there is never ‘a perfect solution’ but that these changes are a positive step in the right direction and address key issues flagged by the sector. Research Australia also commends the efforts of the NHMRC CEO Anne Kelso AO and the Expert Advisory Group chaired by Professor Steve Wesselingh.

The stated aims of the changes are to:

  1. Encourage research that is more creative and innovative
  2. Provide opportunities for Australia’s best health and medical researchers at all career stages, and
  3. Minimise the burden on researchers in preparing and reviewing grant applications, allowing them to spend more time on research.

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The Australian Health Data Series

Flying Blind | The Australian Health Data Series 

Flying Blind is a series of three reports dedicated to uncovering the acute levels of data fragmentation existing at all levels of Australia’s health landscape.

CMCRC in collaboration with Research Australia is currently working on the second report which examines Australia’s health and medical research data environment and traces the difficulties that Australian researchers face at each stage of their journey as they attempt to access research data. Volume One dived into consumers and digital health through the patient journey, service fragmentation, health data silos, legislation, regulation and policy and consumer concerns and perceptions.

As we write Volume Two: Researchers and the Health Data Maze, we’ll be publishing regular blog posts of interest to this topic. The blog is updated regularly by members of the CMCRC’s Health Market Quality program and Research Australia. If you would like to be a guest blogger please email Lucy Clynes with your expressions of interest.

Bookmark this website today: https://flyingblind.cmcrc.com/researchers-health-data.
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Detail of further MRFF payments released

The Turnbull Government continues to deliver on the promise to establish a flow of funding into health and medical research $20 billion capital target to be achieved in 2020-21.

Part of the $10 million announced in the 2017-18 budget is to be allocated to the existing AHRTCs ($8 million) and $2 million to help the existing and new AHRTCs and CIRHs.

Tuesday’s announcement concerned the $2 million being allocated to Monash Health Partners, an active member of Research Australia, the AHRTC built around Monash University. It will fund a number of projects across cancer, cardiovascular and diabetes to improve access to and use of new and existing services.

More announcements to come as they gear up to notify the sector of funding for other AHRTCs and Centres for Innovation in Regional Health.

[Read the full media release]

Clinical Trials 2017: National Tribute & Awards Ceremony

Research Australia is proud to be joining Australian Clinical Trials Alliances (ACTA) to bring together the Clinical Trials 2017: National Tribute & Awards Ceremony.

This partnership is in line with Research Australia’s collaborative strategy that continues to work towards an improved clinical trials environment driving evidence-based change in the health system and new commercial opportunities.

Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Minister for Sport, will attend the Clinical Trials 2017: National Tribute and Awards Ceremony to present the prestigious ACTA Trial of the Year Award and the inaugural ACTA STInG Excellence in Trial Statistics Award.
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