Excerpt from article published in The Herald Sun, 4 March 2013
Burnet Director and CEO, and President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes, Professor Brendan Crabb said Melbourne now led most of the world in research, only narrowly sitting behind the top tier of Boston, Washington and London.
“Melbourne has really become a world centre for independent medical research,‘’ Professor Crabb told the Herald Sun.
“It has evolved that way through strong universities, through a strong independent medical research institute sector, supported and promoted by government.
“This snowballs where institutes and states get reputations, and that leads to good people coming here from interstate and overseas, and there is a heavy overseas population in our institutes.
“This has evolved over decades through having great champions: (Frank) Macfarlane Burnet, Sir Gus Nossal, Suzanne Cory, Howard Florey.
“Victoria is well placed for the next 50 years, where resources are going to be more scarce as a cash cow and an emphasis for the country, when we have to go back to a knowledge and manufacturing-based economy.‘’
Each year between $2 billion and $4 billion is spent on medical research in Victoria, with the concentration of world-class institutes in Melbourne placing Australia in the top six biotech nations on the planet.
The success of the University of Melbourne and Monash University has positioned Melbourne as one of only three cities in the world - along with London and Boston - to have two universities in the global top 20 biomedicine rankings.
Melbourne has 13 world-leading independent medical research institutes dedicated to a different area of health, employing 4400 of the best minds in the country.
The medicines industry is Australia’s most valuable hi-tech export, worth $4 billion a year - almost four times greater than electronics and three and a half times more valuable than the office machinery and computer industry.
Australia produces three per cent of the world’s medical research, and about 40 per cent of that brain-based output - and the resulting income - is centred on Victoria.
The institutes have a turnover of $433.8 million – an increase of almost 30 per cent in just four years.
In the past decade the National Health and Medical Research Council has poured more than $2.4 billion into Victorian research, dwarfing the money provided to NSW and Queensland.
Professor Crabb said researchers were overwhelmed by public support in pressuring the Gillard Government into backing down on research funding cuts last year.
“It was the community jumping on board, without any encouragement at all, who seemed to be really proud of the medical sector that was leading to solutions to deafness, cancers, to sudden infant death syndrome.‘’
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