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Research Australia sets out innovation vision.

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Tuesday, 29 Apr 2008

Research Australia Sets Out Innovation Vision

Australia is at risk of losing its competitive edge in health and medical research with relative funding set to decline and major skills shortages developing.

In the wake of the 2020 Summit's acknowledgement of the importance of health and medical research for the future of Australia, Research Australia has lodged a submission to the Commonwealth Innovation Review calling for a comprehensive approach to supporting innovation, including a further doubling of funding to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) from 2010.

Research Australia CEO Rebecca James said medical research should be the top priority for Australian innovation as it can deliver health benefits along with social and economic gains.

"Basic research is the bedrock of social and economic growth, and Australia has a strong grounding in basic research and proven capability," Ms James said.

"However, our level of funding is at risk of declining relative to the international community, impacting our ability to produce new jobs and income as well as better health and wellbeing."

Research Australia's submission finds that the NHMRC funding profile will flatten from 2009- 2010 with no real growth in expenditure, causing Australia's international position to slip against countries across Asia and Europe.

"A further doubling of funding for the NHMRC to a new base of $1.4 billion by 2014-1015 would allow Australia to maintain its competitive edge in research and to retain the best and brightest researchers," Ms James said.

"A greater commitment to health and medical research will address several of the major challenges Australia faces. It will lead to Australia competing more effectively in knowledge- based industries and will help us ease the burden of chronic disease and ageing.

"Health and medical research is the driving force behind the global medical technology sector which is a high-technology, high-skilled industry that is not heavily reliant on energy or finite natural resources and is well positioned to respond to a carbon-controlled economy."

The submission also identifies the need for innovation and research policies that ensure the gains from medical research are captured by the community. These policies would be used to encourage Australians to identify niches and competitive strengths and to work collaboratively across sectors and borders. New investments should be made in improving communication, providing share infrastructure, developing skills and translating knowledge into better technologies and health care.

About Research Australia

Research Australia is a unique national alliance of over 180 member and donor organisations with a common mission to make health and medical research a higher national priority. For more information on Research Australia visit

For more information please contact: Rebecca James, CEO 0408 120 241 or 03 9650 3131 SOURCE: Research Australia