From the Director: Strengthening Australia’s health and medical research system

The Australian Government recently undertook a national consultation seeking views on improving the alignment and coordination between the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and Medical Research Endowment Account (MREA), managed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), to provide the greatest benefit for publicly-funded health and medical research.

The consultation paper noted how with closer coordination of MRFF and MREA support, for example during COVID where there was a greater focus on a national approach to the most important research questions, increased efficiency and effectiveness of the two funds’ investments could be achieved.

Monash Partners supports this notion.

Benefits of improving the alignment and co-ordination of the MRFF and MREA must consider:

  • Efficient delivery of a single national strategy for health and medical research and innovation.
  • Research aligned with strategic priorities of the community and health services and with evidence of greatest need, alongside investigator initiated blue sky research.
  • Clearer capability to support health services and consumer prioritised research, areas currently underserved by both the NHMRC and MRFF, and in which Research Translation Centres and the Australian Health Research Alliance (AHRA) are well placed to take a leadership role.
  • Improved capacity to embed health and medical research into the health system to support evidenced based care across Australia.

This would complement the existing provision of and emphasis on a full range of flexible, priority driven research activities, including the ability to focus in particular underserved areas. All while ensuring all types of research is supported including Health Services Research and public health which is currently sometimes neglected, and clinician led research and consumer and community involvement.

We look forward to the outcome of this consultation.