COVID-19 Impact on Health and Medical Research and Innovation

Research Australia’s submission to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 has sought to highlight the significant and lasting impact the pandemic will have on Australian health and medical research and innovation.

Research Australia’s recommendations to the Inquiry are:

    • The establishment of a national whole of governments review of Australian research and innovation to properly quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector.
    • Commitment to a comprehensive, fully funded strategy for how and where research and innovation will contribute to Australia’s future prosperity and wellbeing.
    • A short-term injection of additional Government funding into research in Australia’s universities and MRIs to preserve existing research capacity while the economy recovers.
    • Extending the JobKeeper scheme to universities would be a good place to start, as would redressing some of the rules that have prevented some MRIs from accessing JobKeeper because of their governance arrangements.

Research Australia’s submission is available here.

Changes to R&D Tax Incentive opposed

Research Australia has used its submission to a Senate Inquiry to argue against the latest round of changes to the R&D Tax Incentive that have been proposed by the Government.

The changes contained in the Treasury Laws Amendment (Research and Development Tax Incentive) Bill 2019 are largely the same as the changes the Senate rejected early last year. Research Australia believes the changes are poorly designed and will significantly reduce R&D in the health sector. With expenditure on the R&D Tax Incentive Scheme having fallen dramatically in the last couple of years and with Government support for R&D at an historic low, Research Australia has urged the Senate Committee to reject the changes again.

Research Austrlaia’s submission is available here.

The submission of an alliance of seven groups from across the health and medical research and innovation sector, including Research Austrlaia, is available here.

The Committee’s final report has been delayed and is now to be tabled in the Senate on 24 August.

Pre Budget submission calls for renewed investment in R&D (December 2019)

Research Australia’s submission to the Treasurer ahead of the 2020-21 Budget has used the Government’s own figures showing a drop in R&D investment by Government and business to call for a renewed focus on research and development, including health and medical research. In addition to greater investment in R&D across the board, Research Australia has called for increased funding for the research programs of the NHMRC and ARC; action to make better use of data; and investment in prevention.

To read Research Australia’s submission and the full list of recommendations, click here.

2030 Strategy for Science, research and innovation

As we are all too aware, Australia scores poorly on the translation of its research discoveries into new products and services. We need to improve the extent to which Australia’s research effort is directed to the questions and problems of greatest importance and how effectively our research is applied to provide solutions.

Bringing research and innovation together in the one Strategic Plan provides an opportunity to drive these improvements and to overcome some of the historic divides between programs to invest smartly in research and in programs to support and drive innovation. In addition to the research, innovation and investment communities, active engagement with the state and territory governments will be vital; it needs to be a ‘whole of governments’ strategy.

Just as importantly, the 2030 Strategic Plan needs a whole of community communication strategy to ensure all levels of society understand the imperative for a greater and more strategic investment in research, technology and innovation, and the benefits this can bring as we plan for the Australia we want in 2030.

Download Research Australia’s submission here.

BIG IDEA 2030

Bill Ferris AC, Chair of Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) recently floated the possibility of using major high-impact large scale projects to drive innovation. “In developing the 2030 Strategic Plan, we hope to identify one or more major, game-changing, initiatives with scale that can deliver significant direct and spill-over benefits to the innovation system and broader economy”.

Submissions for the 2030 Strategic Plan are due by the end of May. Now’s the time to to look into the future of science in this country, and you can shape the work you’re going to be doing for the next 20-30 years.

We are after BIG IDEA 2030 suggestions to include in our submission that will tweak the interest of Government and aim to position Australia as a global leader by 2030.

Need somewhere to start?

  • Your BIG IDEA 2030 will need to include several disciplines and cross-sector collaboration across health and medical research and innovation
  • Assume budget and timeframe are not limitations
  • Think Moonshot, think Square Kilometre Array, think BIG!

Please send your BIG IDEA 2030 to greg.mullins@researchaustralia.org and we’ll include it in the planning for our submission.
Continue reading “BIG IDEA 2030”

$500 million fund will help build Australia’s biomedical industry of the future

The Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF) is to be funded with $250 million over financial years 2015/16 and 2016/17, diverted from contributions originally earmarked for the MRFF.

The BTF will use existing commercial Fund Managers for co-investment on a 50/50 basis, with the investment managers to source the other co-investors. Continue reading “$500 million fund will help build Australia’s biomedical industry of the future”

Tax Incentives for early stage investors

As part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) Treasury has undertaken a consultation on an initiative to provide tax incentives for early stage investors in innovative companies. Research Australia’s submission supports the proposal and suggests some amendments to improve its operation and reduce red tape. These include making registration for the R&D Tax incentive a qualifying condition for treating a company as an ‘innovation company’ in respect of which the tax incentive can apply, and allowing the tax incentive to be available to ‘retail’ investors. The tax incentive has the potential to increase the capital available to early stage innovative companies, including those seeking to commercialise new medicines, devices and therapies.

Tax Incentives for early stage investors

Moving with the power of thought

A device the size of a matchstick, implanted next to the brain’s motor cortex, could one day help paralysed people move their limbs

A group of paralysed patients will soon undergo a revolutionary procedure that could allow them to walk with the power of thought.
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The key to returning mobility is a tiny, matchstick-sized device called a stentrode. It will be implanted into a blood vessel next to the motor cortex, the brain’s control centre – bypassing the need for complex brain surgery.
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Continue reading “Moving with the power of thought”

Pre Budget Submission 2016

Research Australia submission to the Treasurer in respect of preparations for the 2016 Budget acknowledges the importance of the Government’s focus on science and innovation to Australia’s future and makes a number of recommendations with the aim of improving supporting economic growth and developing a more innovative, safer, and efficient health system that delivers better quality care.

Pre Budget Submission 2016

Review of research policy and funding for Higher Education

Research Australia’s submission to the review of research policy and funding arrangements emphasises that the primary role of universities is the creation of new knowledge and that the application of new knowledge (of which commercialisation is one of the paths) is important but necessarily a secondary role. Programmes such as the Research Block Grants and the competitive grants programmes must maintain a primary focus on research. There is scope to simplify and improve these programmes and to better support innovation in research training.

Review of research policy and funding for Higher Education