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QIMR Berghofer welcomes MRFF priorities

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy and Priorities.

The priorities were announced last night (9 November 2016) and will guide the future allocation of disbursements from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

The MRFF is expected to grow to $20 billion by 2021, at which point it will disburse $1 billion per year.

QIMR Berghofer’s Director and CEO, Professor Frank Gannon, said the priorities would see additional funding channelled into crucial areas of medical research that would benefit all Australians.

“In particular, we welcome the focus on, and commitment to, clinical trials,” Professor Gannon said.

“Australian medical researchers are making great scientific advances, but those discoveries can’t become new treatments, drugs and vaccines for the community until they have been through clinical trials.

“We are also very heartened to see the support for research translation and commercialisation.

“At QIMR Berghofer we are strongly committed to ensuring that our research will benefit the community and to ensuring the sustainability of our operations by reinvesting commercial profits into further research.

“The establishment of a Biomedical Translation Fund will help us to keep these commitments by investing in the early translation of commercially valuable research.”

Other priorities targeted by the MRFF include making better use of de-identified health records for research, and supporting behavioural economics in public and preventive health.

“These priorities will help to support the crucial work of our public health researchers who need access to data in order to identify health trends and risks, which then guide public health advice,” Professor Gannon said.

“It will also support our health economics research group, which looks for savings and efficiencies in the health system.

“Finally, we particularly welcome the commitment to expanding the existing NHMRC Practitioner Fellowships Scheme. Attracting more clinicians into medical research is crucial for ensuring that our research remains clinically relevant.

“The MRFF will effectively double the Federal Government’s investment in health and medical research by 2021. These priorities will ensure that that additional investment leads to better ways of diagnosing, treating and preventing diseases and conditions, including cancer and mental illness.”