Professional Scientists Australia has welcomed the Federal Government’s next milestone payment of $3.21 billion to the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).
The MRFF, set up in 2015, is a fund set to reach $20 billion by 2020-21. With this latest payment it is on track to reach this target.
CEO Gordon Brock said that the MRFF was set up to be as responsive as possible to new priority areas and is doing its job well in the current crisis. “Most of the funding for COVID-19 research efforts has so far come from the MRFF”, he said. “This includes funding for research into mental health, antivirals, respiratory medicine clinical trials, digital health infrastructure, immunological studies and vaccine development”.
He cautioned however that while it’s good news for the medical research sector, the Government needed to maintain their commitment to properly funding science and technology research more broadly. “The research community has expressed some concern that diverting funds to medical research in response to the COVID-19 pandemic might impact vital research funding beyond the health and medical fields.”
“The MRFF is helping our scientists meet the vast challenges posed by this pandemic”, Mr. Brock said, “but with science and technology playing a critical role in our national economic reconstruction efforts, we need to ensure strong and strategic investment in a range of crucial areas.”
“We need investment in emerging knowledge-based industries like biotechnology, communications technologies and advanced manufacturing and to encourage competitive advantages to be established in industries like agriculture and resources.”
“Investment in these areas,” he said, “combined with the work being done in the health and medical research sector, will mean science and technology and the STEM professionals who undertake this work will be able to play the central role they should in helping set up the economy for recovery, growth and job creation.”