The Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) has welcomed the federal government's commitment to medical research in the 2019-20 Budget.
AAMRI president, Professor Vlado Perkovic, said he was delighted the government is sticking to its promises and is pleased to see a new long-term vision for the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund.
“The ten-year investment plan is good news, it will allow our researchers to plan long-term projects that can deliver substantial health benefits to the nation,” said Professor Perkovic.
According to AAMRI, the Budget shows the government remains committed to the MRFF being self-funded within the next two years, which would then make it the largest sovereign wealth fund for medical research in the world.
“As part of this long-term vision, it will be important to review how we are tracking over time. To make sure our investments continue to tackle the changing research priorities of the health system,” said Professor Perkovic.
Many of the existing funding opportunities from the MRFF have been administered through open competitive processes run by the National Health and Medical Research Council, something Professor Perkovic said should continue.
“The Government must now ensure that the vast majority of this new funding is awarded through rigorous competitive processes, so that we make the most of this opportunity and invest in the projects most likely to deliver,” said Professor Perkovic.
The new ten-year plan will see around $5 billion invested in medical research into some of the most chronic and debilitating diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mental health, dementia and brain cancer.
It will also include investment in new clinical trials, allowing Australians world-first access to new drugs and treatments.