Burnet Institute welcomes the Australian Labor Party’s election commitment of up to $125 million over the next 15 years for a new Medical Research Innovation Fund in a response to the McKeon Review of Health and Medical Research.
Burnet Director and CEO, Professor Brendan Crabb said while Australia is renowned for its excellence in medical research discoveries, the McKeon Review highlighted that translating laboratory discoveries into commercial outcomes was far less successful.
“This commitment to the Medical Research Innovation Fund, drawing directly from one of the 21 recommendations in the McKeon Review, will help ensure Australia’s medical discoveries are translated into new diagnostics and treatments for the community,” Professor Crabb said.
Professor Crabb said the medical research sector had been eagerly awaiting a response by the Federal Government to the Review of Health and Medical Research led by 2011 Australian of the Year, Simon McKeon, released in April this year.
“Australia’s medical research sector needs a long-term vision and strategy if it is to continue to generate medical breakthroughs that protect the health and prosperity of all Australians. The McKeon Review provides this,” he said.
Although today’s announcement draws from existing Government funding, Professor Crabb said the initiatives are a step in the right direction and an acknowledgement of the importance of medical research to the country’s future.
“Just as Gonski provided a blueprint for the education of a clever country, so the McKeon Review provides a grand vision to create a knowledge-based economy, rein in burgeoning health costs and underpin the health and wellbeing of all Australians for the longer term,” he said.
Professor Crabb also said that while the recognition of the importance of medical research by both the Coalition and now Labor in the lead up to the federal election was encouraging, the sector still awaits a comprehensive response to the 21 McKeon Review recommendations.
“The recommendations of the review involve bold plans to better integrate research into the healthcare system, and to urgently address the funding gap for the indirect costs of research that is crippling research organisations,” he said.
“It is crucially important for the nation that we invest in the way the McKeon Review has detailed. This announcement is a small step in a much longer pathway to meeting that vision.”