The QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute has welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to the Medical Research Future Fund and increased funding for tropical health research in the 2015-16 Budget.
The MRFF will be established by August with an initial $3.4 billion and is expected to reach $20 billion by 2019-20.
The fund is expected to disburse $400 million for medical research in the next four years, including $10 million next financial year.
QIMR Berghofer Director, Professor Frank Gannon, said all Australians would benefit from the decision.
“This is a resounding declaration about the importance of medical research to Australia’s future health and prosperity, and provides much-needed certainty to the sector,” Professor Gannon said.
“Medical research provides a real basis for hope for better outcomes for those that are suffering and their families.
“This commitment allows more rapid advancement for treatments, prevention measures and diagnosis in areas such as cancer, mental health and infectious diseases.”
Professor Gannon said the landmark initiative would also deliver financial returns to the nation.
“Not only will it play a big part in reducing the burden of disease, but it will help to encourage employment and investment in producing new therapies and medical equipment,” he said.
Professor Gannon also commended a $15.3 million investment over four years for tropical health research through the Northern Australian Growth Plan.
The funding includes $8.5 million for the Australian Tropical Medicine Commercialisation Grants Programme and $6.8 million to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to build capacity in tropical disease research.
“QIMR Berghofer’s Clinical Tropical Medicine Laboratory is recognised around the world for its work on parasitic diseases such as malaria, including the testing of new drugs,” Professor Gannon said.
“Our Mosquito Control Laboratory is carrying out vital work in the effort to stop the Asian Tiger Mosquito – which can carry chikungunya virus and Dengue fever – from establishing on mainland Australia.”
Professor Gannon said that over time, the MRFF will help future-proof medical research, but in the short term QIMR Berghofer will need the support of the community as much as ever to continue to drive its work.