$33 million boost in medical research funding to get new clinical trials underway

$33 million boost in medical research funding to get new clinical trials underway

19th May, 2017

A new $33 million investment in clinical trial capacity will allow Australians to access some of the latest breakthroughs in medical research thanks to the Medical Research Future Fund.

This investment will include funding for new clinical trials and investment in clinical research fellowships ensuring that we can keep the best and brightest researchers here in Australia.

The $18 million for building clinical trial capacity and $8 million for clinician researcher fellowships announced today as part of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) is a boost for both Australian medical research, and patients suffering from chronic illnesses, Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) President Professor Tony Cunningham AO said.

“We can be proud of our world-class medical research in Australia. This is the country where the artificial heart valve, the cochlear implant, IVF, and the HPV vaccine were all developed,” he said. “Investing in clinical trials will allow us to take our next generation of amazing discoveries and turn them into new treatments, drugs and medical devices.

“Clinical trials are how we get research from the bench to the bedside, and they are a crucial part of the translation of the vital studies underway in Australia’s medical research institutes. They are also how we develop our discoveries to the point where they are marketable internationally, contributing to Australia’s largest ‘smart’ export industry of pharmaceuticals and medical technologies.”

Professor Cunningham said he was particularly pleased to see that some of this new funding will be targeted at public good clinical trials.

“For example, we have not made enough progress in tackling some rare and less common diseases,” he said. “It is hard to get commercial clinical trials underway for such illnesses given the small market for any drug discoveries. Then there is getting the evidence base for preventive health advancements. The MRFF is the right vehicle to get these clinical trials underway.”

Professor Cunningham also applauded the Career Development, and Translating Research Into Practice fellowship schemes announced in addition to the Practitioner Fellowship Scheme.

“Supporting our top clinicians to pursue a dual pathway that includes research and clinical work, will accelerate new discoveries and treatments into the health system,” Professor Cunningham said.

“Clinicians working in hospitals and general practice while conducting research simultaneously leads to some of the best innovations in healthcare, especially highly important preventative healthcare and leads to evidence based medicine.

“Recently, Australia has not been as effective at embedding research within our hospitals as some other countries, and we need to change that to ensure a high performing and efficient health system.

“The MRFF’s priorities include a heavy emphasis on the translation of research and research that leads to savings in the health system. Establishing this fund is the sort of forward thinking public policy we so often cry out for in Australia. Once it is fully capitalised in 2020-21 it will be a $20 billion fund that will double the Federal Government’s annual investment in health and medical research.”

The Federal Government is also providing $7 million over four years to help redesign State and Territory clinical trial operating systems.

Media Contact: Rebecca Thorpe, 0401 419 590, rebecca.thorpe@aamri.org.au.