Budget boosts medical research funding at critical time

The introduction of legislation for the Medical Research Future Fund with more than $400 million in disbursements to researchers over the next four years, and an increase in funding for tropical health research, have made health and medical research a central pillar of the Federal Government’s 2015-16 Budget, according to the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI).

AAMRI President, Professor Doug Hilton, said the sector was delighted to learn the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) would be legislated and operational by 1 August 2015, soon delivering its first disbursement of $10 million. According to the budget papers, the Government will distribute more than $400 million from the MRFF for health and medical research over the next four years, beginning with an initial disbursement of $10 million in 2015-16.

“The MRFF was the highlight of last year’s budget, especially for the health and medical research sector, and while it has taken a year to get to this point, we are very pleased that the government has stood by this nation-changing policy,” Professor Hilton said.

NeuRA’s Executive Director and CEO, Professor Peter Schofield, said, “The MRFF represents one of the most important and far-sighted initiatives in our nation’s history. It will put medical research funding on a secure footing by ensuring that Australia stays at the leading edge of medical science, with untold benefits to our health, our economy and our longevity.”

“Australia is a world leader in health and medical research with discoveries including a vaccine for cervical cancer, the bionic ear and a cure for most peptic ulcers. NeuRA discoveries have reduced death and injury by preventing childhood trauma in accidents and through falls prevention programs. However, these achievements are only the tip of the iceberg, with thousands of other Australian discoveries having led to improvements and transformed the world’s health.”

Health and medical research supported by the MRFF would not only improve life expectancy and quality of life for Australians, it would also deliver financial returns to the nation.

This visionary fund could not come at a better time, delivering renewed confidence to the health and medical research sector.

With an ageing population and more than seven million Australians already living with chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental health issues, Australia cannot afford not to invest in health and medical research to find new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent these debilitating diseases.