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.
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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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

Medical Research Future Fund Bill

Research Australia has made a submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry into the MRFF Bill in its own name and as a principal member of the MRFF Action Group. While largely supportive of the MRFF Bill, Research Australia and the other members of the MRFF Action Group have proposed some amendments to the Bill to:

  • improve the definition of ‘medical innovation’
  • enhance the transparency and independence of decision making
  • ensure the MRFF’s capital maintains its real value over time
  • enable a portion of the MRFF’s capital to be invested in innovative medical start up companies.

MRFFAG Submission to Medical Research Future Fund Bill

Research Australia Submission Medical Research Future Fund Bill

National Tax Review 2015

Research Australia has responded to the National Tax Review Discussion Paper. Research Australia’s members are drawn from across the not for profit, government and corporate sectors. As a consequence Research Australia’s submission necessarily addresses a number of different aspects of the tax system but a common theme is the role that the tax system can play in promoting Australian health and medical research and improving the health and wellbeing of Australians. Research Australia recommends incentives to support investment in small, innovative research intensive companies, the continuation of the tax deduction for self education expenses, continuing concessions for not for profit organisations and charities, and reform of alcohol taxes to improve their effectiveness in reducing alcohol related harm.

National Tax Review 2015

Financial System Inquiry

The Financial System Inquiry is examining the role and function of Australia’s Financial System. Research Australia’s submission emphasises the critical role the financial system plays in supporting innovation and proposes that this should be a key aim of any government intervention in, and regulation of, the financial system. It makes the case for governments to work with private sector capital to invest in innovative companies, and provides examples of how social impact bonds can be utilised to translate research into practice in the healthcare system.

Financial Systems Inquiry

Australia’s Innovation System

Research Australia has made a submission to the Senate Inquiry into Australia’s Innovation System. Innovation is crucial to making the most of Australia’s discoveries in health and medical research, developing new products, and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of Australia’s healthcare system. Research Australia has called for a national ‘whole of governments’ innovation strategy and the inclusion of innovation on the COAG agenda, as well as some specific measures to drive innovation in health.

Australias Innovation System

Financial Systems Inquiry Terms of Reference

The Government has invited submissions on the draft Terms of Reference for the Financial System Inquiry. The Inquiry, to report to the Treasurer in November 2014, ‘will make recommendations to foster an efficient, competitive and flexible financial system, consistent with financial stability, prudence, integrity and fairness.’

Research Australia’s submission has sought to have the terms of reference amended to specifically include consideration of how the financial system can better support productive innovative companies and ideas, as an essential element in commercialising the outcomes of Australia’s scientific research.

Financial Systems Inquiry Terms of Reference

Pharmaceutical Patents Review Draft Report

In October 2012, the Australian Government announced a review of pharmaceutical patents, including the provisions for extending the terms of eligible pharmaceutical patents. The Review has issued a draft report with a number of interim findings and recommendations. Research Australia has made a submission to the Review, emphasising the important role that pharmaceutical patents play in encouraging innovation and competition, and the importance of providing a level of protection that is consistent with our collaborators in pharmaceutical development in the USA and Europe. Research Australia has also emphasised the important distinction between paying a drug company for its innovation by buying drugs under patent, and providing public funding for research.

Pharmaceutical Patents Review Draft Report

Review of the SA Science, research and industry innovation strategy

In late 2012, the South Australian Government initiated a review of its Science, Research and Industry Innovation Strategy. Research Australia made a submission to the Government drawing its attention to the benefits of increased support for health and medical research, and innovation as part of the strategy.

Review of the SA Science research and industry innovation strategy