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Wednesday, 1 December 1976
Page: 3095

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   What is his attitude to the criticism that cancer and heart disease are receiving too high a percentage of medical research grants to the detriment of other areas, particularly basic biological research.

(2)   What is the category allocation of current Government medical research grants.

Mr Hunt - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(   1 ) Medical research is supported by the Commonwealth Government through the National Health and Medical Research Council which has an overall interest in supporting all types of high-quality medical research. It would be an oversimplification of the position to say, as far as NH and MRC support is concerned, that cancer and heart disease receive more support than basic biological research. Firstly, the principal criterion used to determine support is high scientific merit and, secondly, research in a great may intances covers both basic and applied areas. Thus, while a project may be generally related to cancer, it could be heavily oriented towards basic biological research or, alternatively, while having a strong clinical emphasis, it could also extend basic knowledge.

All applications for project grant support are evaluated by a peer review system and the Council's Medical Research Advisory Committee before being recommended for support Only projects of the highest scientific merit attract support.

(2)   The following information shows the break-up of initial applications approved for 1977 support.



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