With the potential to transform medical research, the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) needs the science community to get behind it. That’s the clear message delivered by the President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes, and Director and CEO of Burnet Institute, Professor Brendan Crabb in an article published in Life Scientist.
The proposed Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) is an endowment fund that the Federal government predicts will eventually build to AUD $20 billion. This would deliver AUD$1 billion in annual funding to health and medical research in Australia by 2022, effectively doubling current government funding levels.
Professor Crabb points out that should the MRFF be supported in the Senate later this year, the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) would advocate for it to have a substantial ‘translational’ focus.
This focus would provide funding to better convert research findings into improved disease prevention strategies, diagnostics, medicines and treatments that have a direct impact on health outcomes and drive a more effective and efficient health system.
Professor Crabb acknowledges the need to separate the value of the fund from the narrative on how it is going to be paid for.
The Federal government has proposed establishing the fund by transferring approximately AUD$1 billion in uncommitted funds from the existing Health and Hospitals Fund.
“We understand that many in the scientific, and broader, community are concerned that the federal government hopes to pay for the fund through the proposed Medicare co-payment. The fact is, we need to separate the value of the fund from the narrative on how it is going to be paid for - this fund has substantial value and yet very few people, including those in the medical and health sectors, have acknowledged this to the degree it deserves,” Professor Crabb states.
“Creation of this AUD$20 billion fund into perpetuity is amongst the most significant initiatives in the history of medical research in Australia. The fund will be transformative for Australian medical research, not only through the substantial increase in funding it will provide, but also because of the much-needed certainty that a perpetual fund brings to the sector.
“Billions of taxpayers’ dollars are spent each year dealing with diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer. This fund will help medical researchers to reduce the burden of disease on the Australian community and to make our health system more efficient.”
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