Dear Colleagues, friends, family and every Australian who is enjoying great healthcare in Australia.
We should all campaign for increased funding in medical science. The funding level by the Australian govt has fallen to a record low level. The funding has not increased significantly since 2008 and is currently sitting at AUD 771.2 million for 2014. Current NHMRC grant success rate (as of 2014) is at an appalling rate of about 15%. And the rate is expected to fall below 10% this year. Last year, NHMRC deems that at least 50% of the projects that were rejected to be of quality and fundable. Currently, NHMRC investment is approximately 0.6% of the total annual health expenditure. Our education sector is experiencing one of the biggest “brain drains” where several scientists are leaving the country or the industry altogether.
NHMRC is the authority organization and has a proven track record –
Health and Medical Research (HMR) between 1993 and 2005 is estimated to have returned a net benefit of $29.5 billion.1
Every dollar invested in HMR returns on average $2.17 in health benefits1
Investment in NHMRC between 2000-10 is projected to save $966 million in direct and indirect costs to the health system.2
Gains of $6 billion linked to increased well-being from NHMRC investment between 2000-10.2
Access Economics. Exceptional Returns: The Value of Investing in Health R&D in Australia II. In: 2008, http://www.asmr.org.au/Publications.html
Deloitte Access Economics. Returns on NHMRC funded Research and Development . In 2011, http://www.asmr.org.au/Publications.html
HMR cannot address all of the economic challenges we face but it does hold the key to substantially alleviating the projected health spend which threatens our future.
So, I urge each and every one of you to write in a letter to your local MP to address this predicament.
I attach a letter from the current President of the Australian Society for Medical Research, Dr. Phoebe Phillips for a plea to inject more research funds by the Australian government-
“In 2014, NHMRC project grant success rates were below 15% and are the lowest in our history. These funding rates mark a significant drop of over 8% since 2011. This year our sector faces its toughest challenge yet, with NHMRC project grant success rates predicted to drop below 10%. In addition, the NHMRC budget allocation in 2014 dropped below the 2008 investment. If we donâ€™t act immediately, this reduced investment into health and medical research (HMR) will result in attrition of a world-class, highly skilled and productive workforce and also negatively impact our capacity to improve health outcomes.
Early this year ASMR made its pre-budget submission (attached to this update), requesting
an immediate injection into NHMRC,
that the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) is established,
that Government commit to incrementally increasing investment for health and medical research until it reaches 3% of the total health expenditure by 2023.
This evidence based model will ensure that health and medical research is positioned to be responsive to the future health challenges facing Australia.
We applaud the Government recognising the value of health and medical research with the announcement of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), however, this is a long-term initiative and we as a sector will not see any significant positive effects for several years. Our biggest challenge at the present time is to secure an immediate injection into NHMRC to claw back the loss of intellectual capital which an 8% drop in NHMRC grant success rates since 2011 represents.
Today I officially request your support for our campaign to secure
An Immediate additional investment of $300M into the NHMRC in the 2015 Budget
ASMR has and will continue to inform the Government of the gravity of this situation which threatens our ability to continue to provide the exceptional returns on investment our HMR brings to Australia in terms of both health and economic wellbeing. As always, our argument for additional public investment into NHMRC is underpinned by evidence. .
We will continue strategic meetings in the coming weeks. But, we need you!
As a sector we cannot accept the current situation and we must unite with a clear message. I ask that each of you, write a letter in the next couple of weeks to your local MP, the health minister and the prime minister. We recommend sending the letters by email and hard copy by mail. We know that this remains a very powerful advocacy tool. I have attached a template letter and also an ASMR fact sheet to help you. Also, spread the word to your friends, family and professional networks. In our 2006 campaign Government received >10,000 letters and this had a huge impact on the Government at the time â€“ investment into NHMRC was doubled!
It is not too late to act on influencing Government decisions, you can make a difference! Thanks for getting on board and I am optimistic that we can ensure a positive change.”