The University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research has welcomed the 2015 Federal Budget commitment to the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), beginning with $400 million in disbursements to researchers nationally over the next four years.
The Menzies Director, Professor Tom Marwick, says he is delighted that the MRFF will be legislated and operational by 1 August 2015 and will soon deliver its first disbursement of $10 million.
“This is very good news for medical research in Australia because we cannot build on the gains of the past in medical research without the confidence that adequate funding will flow in the future,” Prof Marwick says.
The MRFF’s endowment account will be opened with the $1 billion remaining in the Health and Hospitals Fund, along with another $2.4 billion from other budget savings made in the past year.
The MRFF is projected to reach its target of $20 billion by 2019-20. The $400 million expected to be disbursed in the next four years includes $10 million in 2015-16, $53 million in 2016-17, $130 million in 2017-18 and $224 million in $2018-19.
Prof Marwick says the focus of Menzies research is on the illnesses that have the most impact on the Tasmanian population – chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia and mental health issues – and these illnesses would have a huge impact in Australia as the population aged.
“This funding will give researchers greater access to the resources they need to make gains in prevention and treatment of these diseases.
“Medical research investment will improve life expectancy and quality of life but we also know that every dollar invested in health and medical research generates more than two dollars in health and productivity gains. An investment like this has a positive return in so many ways,” Prof Marwick says.