Media release: 11 November 2016

The Sax Institute has welcomed the newly announced strategy and priorities for the Federal Government’s $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund, as a major step forward in supporting research to drive health system improvements and better patient care.

“The strategy represents a welcome direction which really looks like being a game changer in the way research is funded in Australia,” Sax Institute CEO Professor Sally Redman said.

The strategy and priorities, announced last night by Health Minister Sussan Ley, are focussed on six areas: data and infrastructure; health services and systems; strategic and international horizons; trials and translation; capacity and collaboration; and commercialisation.

“We are particularly pleased to see a focus on the need to fund research into health services and systems and the importance of linking data. This will help unlock answers that will drive and support the best of resources to deliver the best patient care,” Professor Redman said.

“Australia has world-leading expertise in health services research and we have great research infrastructure such as large cohort studies so we can hit the ground running and capitalise on this new research support to benefit the nation,” Professor Redman said.

The MRFF strategy and priorities also discuss investigating the feasibility of establishing a national institute to focus on evidence based and cost-effective healthcare and public and preventive health. The UK is a role model in this area, leading the way with its National Institute for Health Research, which has a focus on applying health research to make a difference on the ground.

“An Australian institute of this type would rapidly make a real impact on the delivery of health services in Australia, improving their quality and reducing their costs, and finding more effective ways of delivering care,” Professor Redman said.

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