May 14, 2014  Print

The Federal Budget announcement of a $20 billion medical research future fund will provide much needed funding certainty and consistency at a crucial time for the medical research sector.

That’s the opinion of the Professor Tony Cunningham, the Executive Director of the Westmead Millennium Institute for Medical Research (WMI) in Sydney.

Professor Cunningham says that WMI, which with 400 staff is one of Australia’s largest medical research institutes, needs better and more predictable funding support for areas of promising research.

“Medical research needs this boost at the time when a highly promising new era of genomic medicine is dawning –which requires significant funding in order to translate research into community health benefits.”

“We commend the Federal Government for its vision and commitment to this new fund, which will help meet the future challenges posed by the growing rates of heart disease, cancers and diabetes in the Australian community,” said Professor Cunningham.

Professor Cunningham said medical research capacity and funding in Australia has not been keeping pace with growing community needs.

Australian medical researchers are amongst the world’s best and have a great success rate with generally limited resources.

“Australian medical research is very efficient and provides the medical sector and the broader community with great bang for the buck.

“However, our researchers clearly need more resources, and with the new fund the Federal Government has recognised the potential for medical research to become one of the great success stories of the future economy in Australia.

Professor Cunningham said the new medical research fund should ultimately save taxpayers money.

“Billions of taxpayers’ dollars are spent each year dealing with diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s. The budget announcement will help medical researchers to reduce the burden of disease on the Australian community, and to make our health system more efficient,” he said.