Australia’s peak body for medical research institutes has praised the Federal Government’s commitment to medical research in the 2014-15 budget, including $1.1 billion for a new Medical Research Future Fund, to grow to $20 billion by 2020. Dividends from the fund—expected to be the large of its type in the world—will be spent exclusively on medical research. The fund will effectively double the government’s investment in medical research by 2023 to $2 billion.
“In an obviously tough economic climate, having medical research as a centerpiece in the budget is an emphatic declaration by the Federal Government of the importance of medical research to Australia’s future health and prosperity,” said Professor Brendan Crabb, President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI).
“Creation of this $20 billion fund into perpetuity is amongst the most significant initiatives in the history of medical research in Australia.”
Professor Crabb said that the Medical Research Future Fund will be transformative for Australian medical research, not only through the substantial increase in funding it will provide, but also because of the much-needed certainty that a perpetual fund brings to the sector.
“This will provide the stability needed to encourage our best and brightest to go into medical research.”
Professor Crabb said that billions of taxpayers’ dollars are spent each year dealing with diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease and cancer. He said that tonight's announcement will help medical researchers to reduce the burden of disease on the Australian community, and to make our health system more efficient.
Professor Crabb also commended the maintenance of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding in the budget, the $200 million commitment over five years for dementia research, and the $10 million investment over five years to streamline clinical trials and NHMRC grants processes.
“Australia must innovate across the board to flourish, and there is much in today's announcement in medical research that suggests this government understands this."
"The medical research community acknowledges the need to account for every dollar provided by this tremendous reform package, and pledges to work with the government to deliver on better health outcomes.”