AAMRI’s budget priority: Secure Australia’s world-class medical research workforce

AAMRI’s budget priority: Secure Australia’s world-class medical research workforce

9th February, 2021

The Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) Budget Submission calls for new strategic investments to help safeguard the future of Australia’s medical research workforce. These investments will boost Australia’s preparedness for future health challenges by providing new career opportunities to our most talented medical researchers.


Read AAMRI’s Budget Submission and learn more about our early to mid-career scientists


Decades of investment in medical research has guided Australia’s response to Covid-19, averting the public health catastrophes that have occurred in most other countries. It will be our future investment in medical research that will help guard against future pandemics and other health challenges.

Unfortunately, our world-class medical research sector faces an uncertain future as the economic impact of COVID-19 has led to declines in research revenue with philanthropy, gift-giving, and revenue from international education all falling.

The anticipated economic impact amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars of reduced research revenue each year. This decline will mean fewer medical research careers can be supported, and as a result fewer new discoveries and treatments being developed.

“Every time a highly-skilled medical researcher is unable to secure funding to continue their research, more than 15 years of past training and expertise is lost from medical research,” said AAMRI President, Professor Jonathan Carapetis AM.

Altogether, this loss of talent represents a loss of billions of dollars of past investment in training and thousands of years of research experience.

“Losing our outstanding medical research talent will eventually jeopardise the future health of millions. It will delay the development of new therapies for cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and our ability to respond to future pandemics,” said Professor Carapetis.

As part of the 2021-22 Budget, AAMRI is calling for an additional 300 Investigator Grants to be funded and targeted at early to mid-career researchers. Half of the funding is proposed to come from existing funding through the fully funded Medical Research Future Fund, and the other half from new funding allocated to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

“We cannot allow the economic downturn to impair a sector which is vital for the future health of the nation. Instead, we need to build, sustain, and nurture medical research capacity, and this means investing in the next generation of our medical research workforce,” said Professor Carapetis.

Media Contact: Saheem Wani, 0470 343 042, saheem.wani@aamri.org.au