Research Australia believes the National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) has a vital role to play in creating a mature and vibrant domestic medical products industry as a cornerstone of a post-carbon Australian economy.
We have made four recommendations in response to the consultation on the implementation of the NRF:
- The Ministers should obtain the advice of a future Centre for Disease Control about medical products for which there is a critical unmet need for domestic manufacturing. This should be a consideration in how funds are subsequently allocated by the NRF, although not to the exclusion of the need to generate a return on the investment.
- Development of the investment mandate for the priority area of medical products should include identification of areas with the potential for profitable domestic manufacturing. This should be a consideration in how funds are subsequently allocated by the NRF, although not to the exclusion of the need to generate a return on the investment.
- The Australian Government should create a National Medical Products Industry Plan to accompany the introduction of the National Reconstruction Fund to make the most of all the Government’s investments throughout the health and medical research and development pipeline.
- The Australian Government should develop a medical products research, development and manufacturing workforce plan to determine where the gaps in existing skills are and to address them.
Research Australia’s submission addresses most of the questions posed in the consultation paper. The submission is available here.
Research Australia has taken the opportunity to use the new call from the Treasurer for Pre-Budget submissions to call for urgent assistance from the Government to support research disrupted by COVID-19.
We have proposed bridging funding be paid from a contingency fund to researchers who need the additional funding to complete research because of COVID-19 related delays. We have also called on the Government to recognise the importance of a renewed investment in research and innovation as part of Australia’s response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Research Australia’s Pre-Budget Submission
Research Australia has made a submission in response to the draft amendments to the R&D Tax Incentive legislation, the latest round of changes since the legislation commenced seven years ago. Research Australia’s submission addresses two key issues.
The first is our concern that the definition of clinical trial is not broad enough to ensure the exemption from the $4 million cap on R&D expenditure will apply to all clinical trials activity, particularly for medical devices. We have worked with other peak bodies, including Ausbiotech and BioMelbourne Network, to propose an alternative and more inclusive definition.
The second main concern relates to the proposed reduction in the rate of the R&D Tax Incentive. For early stage companies seeking to commercialise new pharmaceuticals, biotechnologies and devices, this has the effect of directly reducing their cashflow at a critical stage in their development. Research Australia has opposed the rate reduction.
Research Australia’s submission
Research Australia welcomes today’s announcement from Innovation and Science Australia (ISA), Australia’s independent science, research and innovation advisory board, calling for the Government to enhance the national culture of innovation to help drive the country’s prosperity.
We are pleased to note that the 2030 Plan, “Australia 2030: Prosperity through Innovation”, articulates the jobs of the future and skills we need to ensure Australia’s world class research can translate into global outcomes.
Research Australia has long stated that Australia has the potential to lead and create new markets by applying cutting-edge science and technologies to new, first in world applications that improve human health. However, to achieve or even entertain these possibilities, we have to be courageous and adapt our current approach to funding to reach “an economies of scale” ideal. This includes funding for areas such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, robotics and automation, high performance computing, and of course genomics and epigenetics.
While there are some questions about the Plan’s detail, Research Australia looks forward to working through them with our membership and the Government.
Research Australia is particularly pleased to see that many of the recommendations made in our June 2017 submission to ISA in response to the 2030 Strategy Issues Paper were adopted in the report, specifically the focus on frontier technologies and embedding research in Australia’s health system.
Continue reading “Research Australia’s response to the 2030 Plan”
Each year the Treasurer invites the Australian community to make submissions in relation to the preparation of the budget for the following financial year. Research Australia’s recommendation are:
- Maintain the aggregate real value of Commonwealth Government funding for health and medical research across all funding programs.
- Fund the implementation and monitoring of the McKeon Review recommendations.
- Increase funding for research to support the effective and rapid translation of new discoveries into practice.
- Increase funding for health systems research to increase our capacity to analyse and identify best practice for the Australian health care system and to increase research into the most successful, effective and efficient delivery mechanisms and structures for implementing best practice.
- Expand the mandate of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care to include efficiency as well as safety and quality, and provide incentives for health care providers to nominate existing practices and initiatives to the Commission for adoption as part of the Healthcare Standards.
- Increase funding for population health and preventive health research to improve the effectiveness of preventive health campaigns and identify emerging trends in the health and disease profile of the Australian population.
- Retain programs that support Australian research and development (R&D) and innovation, including Commercialisation Australia and the R&D tax incentive.
Pre Budget Submission 2014