Medical research institutes are high achievers despite growing funding gap for systemic costs of research

Medical research institutes are high achievers despite growing funding gap for systemic costs of research

14th September, 2018

A new report by the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI), Australia’s Medical Research Institute Snapshot, finds that MRIs are delivering outstanding results in spite of a challenging and competitive funding environment.

AAMRI’s member medical research institutes (MRIs) are a vital part of the Australian health sector and the economy with a collective turnover of over $1.6 billion annually. The report finds that despite a stellar report card, MRIs are under increasing pressure to find funding for essential resources like IT and business development that are not covered by research grants.

“Medical research institutes get less than half the funding they need for supporting the systemic costs of research and it’s getting harder and harder every year as the funding gap grows” said AAMRI President Professor Tony Cunningham AO.

“Costs like managing research data and commercialisation activities are necessary for turning research discoveries into treatments and cures but they’re not covered by the majority of research grants. The funding gap is now nearly $250 million a year.”

Professor Cunningham also said that despite these pressures, the report show that medical research institutes continue their outstanding performance with funding now coming from a range of sources, not just government research grants. Well over half of MRI revenue is from non-government sources, mainly philanthropic donations and income from commercialising research discoveries.

Collectively, MRIs raised nearly twice as much income from commercialising their research discoveries as they did two years ago and all of it goes straight back into funding new medical research.

MRIs also conduct over 900 clinical trials in collaboration with health partners and industry, and these trials play an important role in turning research outcomes into better healthcare options for diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many types of cancer.

“The main take home message is that as a sector, MRIs benefit the Australian people and economy now and into the future, and are well placed to take advantage of the new opportunities for health research that the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund will bring.”