Today’s passing of the legislation for the Medical Research Future Fund in the Senate has brought hope not just to the Australian health and medical research sector but also to the entire country, according to the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes.
“As we have noted throughout this process, we need to act today to ensure Australia’s future health and wealth through research that saves and improves lives and, at the same time, delivers an economic return for the nation,” says AAMRI President Professor Doug Hilton.
“We congratulate the Government on standing firm on this nation-shaping fund. We also congratulate the Parliament for recognising the MRFF’s tremendous value and offering bi-partisan support.
“We especially thank the Greens for demonstrating their commitment to bold health and medical policy by supporting this legislation.”
The MRFF is expected to deliver more than $400 million in disbursements to researchers over the next four years, building to $1 billion per year within the decade. This funding is in addition to that allocated to the NHMRC.
Prof Hilton says the sector is delighted the legislation to establish the MRFF has finally passed, and looks forward to the fund becoming operational and ready to distribute its first tranche of funding in the near future.
“This visionary fund couldn’t come at a better time, delivering renewed confidence to the health and medical research sector, knowing that within the decade we will have a doubling of funding for medical research via a safe-guarded future fund,” Prof Hilton says.
“This is an historic day, and while it has taken a year or so to get to this point, we are very pleased to finally be here.”
Prof Hilton says that medical research and innovation supported by the MRFF will not only improve life expectancy and quality of life for Australians, it will also deliver financial returns to the nation.
“With an ageing population and the news today that half of all Australians are living with chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, cancer, diabetes and mental health issues, we cannot afford not to invest in health and medical research to find new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent these debilitating diseases,” he says.
“Every dollar invested in health and medical research generates more than two dollars in health and productivity gains by reducing the burden of disease on the health system and productivity, and through the creation of innovative businesses and jobs in the health industry.
“And then there is that intangible benefit that medical research delivers: hope. Every person fighting a life-threatening disease, and every one of their friends and family, lives in the hope that health and medical research will deliver to them better treatments, or even cures for their illness.
“We have some exceptionally bright people working in health and medical research in Australia. We have the runs on the board from the past with the creation of the Cochlear implant, the humidicrib, the Gardasil vaccine – even the researcher who discovered penicillin was Australian.
“We know we can make many more discoveries, we just need the money to do it, and the MRFF will help us tremendously towards the very best goal of a healthier Australia.”