Researchers voice their opinion of the future of medical research

Researchers voice their opinion of the future of medical research

3rd May, 2012

More than 200 people turned out for the public forum on the future of health and medical research in Melbourne this week.

Researchers at all stages of their careers, members of the public and scientists who have left the sector were all present to deliver their opinions to ‘The McKeon Review’ panel.

‘The McKeon Review’ is chaired by 2011 Australian of the Year, Simon McKeon and aims to consult widely before recommending a 10-year strategic health and medical research plan for the nation.

Mr McKeon told the audience that a number of recurring themes have come before the panel, including career development for young researchers and the grant application process.

“It’s great to see the room so full of young researchers, you know what you look for in a career and you are able to adequately tell us what that is,” Mr McKeon said.

Mr McKeon said the grant application process was unwieldy, taking time and energy away from what researchers should really be doing.

Inflexibility in funding was also a topic brought up at the forum with a number of researchers suggesting that grants should be tailored so funds could be used for a number of uses including travel, publications and other indirect costs.

Dr Krystal Evans from WEHI told the panel that addressing career stability might sort out gender equality issues in the health and medical research sector.

“Perhaps near miss or gap funding for those researcher who just missed out on grants could keep people in the industry, at the moment there is no safety net,” Dr Evans said.

Mr McKeon briefly addressed philanthropy in Australia saying it’s not a huge source of funding for any cause and that health and medical research doesn’t rate highly on the list.