Research Australia’s submission in response to the consultation on the new MRFF Strategy 2021-26 and related Priorities has proposed several critical changes:
- It has emphasised the need for the Strategy to provide more guidance about how the MRFF should be invested.
- Greater engagement with health systems in the states and territories is essential, as is a focus on preventive health.
- The Strategy needs to address how evidence arising from the research and innovation funded by the MRFF is embedded into the health system.
- The new MRFF strategy should identify and address gaps in skills and capability that prevent the implementation of evidence into practice into our health system.
- Infrastructure funding priorities for the MRFF should be developed in consultation with Department of Education Skills and Employment and state and territory governments, to ensure research infrastructure is funded where needed and complements other programs and initiatives.
- The Strategy should propose a mechanism for better differentiating the funding programs of the NHMRC and the MRFF. The Strategy should also propose the development of a national HMR strategy to better coordinate funding for HMR from all sources, in much the same way the first strategy proposed a whole of government approach to addressing funding for the full cost of research.
- COVID-19 has highlighted the particular difficulties facing early- and mid-career researchers. The Strategy could commit the MRFF to considering how the design of the MRFF’s funding programs could better support EMCRs.
- The effects of COVID-19 in our region provide the opportunity for the strategy to consider how Australia can use its research capability to support our neighbours’ response to and recovery from COVID-19, as an exemplar for broader engagement on regional health issues.