Commitment to Medical Research Future Fund positive for science

Commitment to Medical Research Future Fund positive for science

13 May 2015

Professor Doug Hilton standing in front of a painting
Institute director Professor Doug Hilton has welcomed
the Australian Government's commitment to the Medical
Research Future Fund.

The Australian Government’s $3.4 billion commitment to establish the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), announced in last night’s federal budget, was heartening news for the medical research sector, the director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Professor Doug Hilton, said today.

Professor Hilton, who is also president of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes, encouraged federal parliamentarians to pass the legislation required to formally establish the fund as soon as possible. “The budget papers indicate $400 million will be distributed from the MRFF over the next four years with an initial $10 million distribution from the fund in 2015-16,” he said.

“This is an important start to securing a healthier future for all Australians. The initial $3.4 billion deposit into the MRFF should provide some certainty for the medical research community, which has been seeking long-term security in funding for many years. It is integral, however, that the fund attain its full capitalisation of $20 billion to ensure Australian medical researchers, who have a strong track record of delivering health benefits for Australians, can maintain that momentum for years to come.”

The Australian Government also announced funding to support research into tropical diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and dengue fever. “As an institute that has focused on understanding and treating malaria for the past 30 years, we welcome the government’s $15.3 million investment in tropical medicine,” Professor Hilton said.

“Our work on malaria and tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands has highlighted the urgent need to find new diagnostics, vaccines and treatments for these diseases. The government’s focus on translating discoveries into new treatments could have a transformative impact on disease in our region.”

Professor Hilton said the two-year extension of funding for the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) highlighted the need for a long-term and sustainable approach to maintaining and securing world-class scientific facilities that underpin great research. “Brilliant science requires brilliant facilities,” he said. “I am pleased the government has committed to NCRIS in the short-term and am looking forward to seeing the results of their review into the strategy and infrastructure funding in the near future.

“Funding medical research is a sound investment in the health and wellbeing of all Australians and we are pleased the Australian Government has committed to supporting the sector.”

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Penny Fannin
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