Australia’s best and brightest awarded in medical research grants

Australia’s best and brightest awarded in medical research grants

24th October, 2013

AAMRI welcomes NHMRC funding announcement  

The peak body for Australia’s medical research institutes (AAMRI) has welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health, the Hon Tony Abbott MP and the Hon Peter Dutton MP, of $562.6 million for Australia’s best and brightest medical researchers in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants and fellowships.

“It’s a nervous time of year for our medical researchers as they wait to hear if they have secured government funding to carry on with their pioneering work in the new year. The sector genuinely appreciates that the Health Minister has made the punctual announcement of NHMRC grants a priority in his first few weeks in office,” said AAMRI President, Professor Brendan Crabb.

Professor Crabb said that the NHMRC announcement, including $559.1 million for new grants and fellowships and $3.5 million for fellowship extensions, means that some researchers will have secured up to five years of funding for their medical research.

However, while funding for medical research remains stable, an increase in applications and rising costs of research mean that the success rate in the 2013 NHMRC funding round was down to 19 per cent, with 963 of 5,033 grant and fellowship applications receiving funding. This compares to a success rate of 22.5 per cent for the equivalent NHMRC schemes last year.

NHMRC grant applications undergo a rigorous peer review process to ensure that Australia’s most promising research is funded. Unfortunately, due to the reduced success rate, many applications strongly recommended for funding will not receive support.

“The negative pressure on success rates emphasises just how important the government’s commitment to maintain medical research funding really is for the future of our highly talented medical researchers and the future of healthcare in Australia,” said Professor Crabb.

Professor Crabb noted that the $562.6 million in funding announced yesterday will be supplemented by further announcements of other NHMRC grant schemes later in the year.

NHMRC grants are the primary source of government funding for health and medical researchers in Australia’s medical research institutes, universities and hospitals. Yesterday’s announcement included funding for research on a myriad of health conditions, including mental health, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and infectious diseases.

 

Media Contact: Nicole den Elzen | 0431 666 346 | nicole.denelzen@aamri.org