New report proposes MRFF priorities

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A new report from the health and medical sector says the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) needs to prioritise closing gaps between health research, health practice and the health economy.

'Translating Research for a sustainable future' brings together the positions of 160 of Australia’s leading health and medical research organisations, companies and personnel.

The review, contributed to by prominent researchers, universities, and businesses in the field, outlines the sector’s view on priorities for the MRFF over the next two and five years.

It has been presented to, amongst others, the offices of the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and Greens Leader, the Chief Scientist and Health Ministers across the country, to inform policy-making.

“Australia has a world-leading research, and a world-class health system, but too often they operate in isolation,” said Research Australia CEO, Nadia Levin.

“The Medical Research Future Fund is the opportunity of a generation to bridge the gaps, and bring what happens in the lab together with what happens in clinical practice, and vice versa.

“This report is from the experts in health and medical research and policy, and is designed to inform the Federal Government on the best direction of the MRFF.”

Research Australia believes that in its formative years, the Fund should have overarching strategic goals that ensure dual focuses of health and wellbeing, and economic prosperity:

  • Health and Wellbeing: fund projects with clearly identified goals that will, if achieved, lead to better health and wellbeing through the translation of research into new clinical practices, health policy, products and services; and,
  • Economic Prosperity: fund programs that support the commercialisation of Australian HMR to grow GDP; help contain health expenditure through using evidence-based practice to make the health system more efficient; and minimise the opportunity cost associated with the practice of research.

“Either way, this Fund will benefit the Australian people and economy, but its policy direction will be the difference between it being just important, or a monumental shift,” said Levin.

“At $20 billion it has enormous potential, however that will be built over several years, which means we need to manage the first funds in a disciplined, targeted manner, as well as initial expectations.

“That’s why Research Australia’s proposals for the first two years focus on establishing the framework for future health and commercial outcomes of relevance to Australia.”

A copy of 'Translating Research for a sustainable future' is available at the Research Australia website.