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Medical Research Future Fund at risk of being another Gonski

By Nadia Levin - posted Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Professor Geoffrey Dobson wants to develop a new therapy to address severe burns, in a field of practice where there has been little innovation in around thirty years.

Associate Professor Melinda Carrington says a clinical trial could prove that employing practice nurses to monitor patients' blood pressure could deliver better health outcomes for the patient, and economic outcomes for the hospital.

Around 70 per cent of the causes of major disease are behaviour-related, and Professor Sandra Jones wants to develop Australia's first evidence-based guidelines for the most effective ways of communicating those risk factors to patients and more broadly.


These and thousands of other worthwhile health and medical research projects are currently without funding, and are exactly the type of thing that could be delivered by a Medical Research Future Fund.

When the Coalition included the fund in the 2014 budget, it was hailed by the health and medical research sector as a watershed announcement that finally answered our calls for significant, predictable funding that will deliver enormous benefits for the Australian people and economy.

It's our Gonski.

When it reaches full capacity early next decade, the Medical Research Future Fund will deliver around $1 billion a year for new therapies, treatments, drugs and devices that will directly benefit Australians.

And aside from the positive human health impacts, every dollar that is invested in Australian medical research delivers $3.39 in future health and productivity gains (Deloitte 2014), meaning the fund will help Australia reap enormous, income-producing, cost-saving, economic benefits.

When – or if – it reaches full capacity, Australia will have a funding stream in place that underpins the cutting-edge, ground-breaking discoveries that keep our population healthy, our health system sustainable, and our health economy great.


It is good economic policy, good social policy and good health policy, and right now, its future is uncertain because while all of the major parties supported the legislation to create it, and the principles behind it, there is not a multi-party commitment for fully funding and delivering it.

Again, it's our Gonski.

This election is the opportunity to turn that around.

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About the Author

Nadia Levin is CEO of Research Australia.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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