Research sector celebrates passage of Medical Research Future Fund Bill
August 12, 2015
Today’s passing of the legislation for the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) 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 (AAMRI).
“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,” said 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 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Professor Hilton said the sector was delighted the legislation to establish the MRFF had finally passed, and looked 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,” Professor Hilton said. “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.”
Professor Hilton said that medical research and innovation 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.
“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 said.
“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.”
Source: AAMRI website
AAMRI is the peak body representing medical research institutes across Australia. Its 46 member organisations are international leaders in health and medical research, addressing practically every aspect of human health and disease. Collectively, AAMRI’s members represent more than 10,000 staff and students.
About Children’s Cancer Institute
Originally founded by two fathers of children with cancer in 1976, Children’s Cancer Institute is the only independent medical research institute in Australia wholly dedicated to research into the causes, prevention and cure of childhood cancer. Forty years on, our vision remains unchanged – to save the lives of all children with cancer and to eliminate their suffering. The Institute has grown to now employ more than 220 researchers, operational staff and students, and has established a national and international reputation for scientific excellence.
Our focus is on translational research, and we have an integrated team of laboratory researchers and clinician scientists who work together in partnership to discover new treatments which can be progressed from the lab bench to the beds of children on wards in our hospitals as quickly as possible. These new treatments are specifically targeting childhood cancers, so we can develop safer and more effective drugs and drug combinations that will minimise side-effects and ultimately give children with cancer the best chance of a cure with the highest possible quality of life.
We are currently leading the establishment of the Zero Childhood Cancer national child cancer personalised medicine program for children with the most aggressive cancers, in partnership with the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network. This program will revolutionise the way treatment decisions are made, with the aim of improving survivorship for those children at highest risk of treatment failure from their disease.