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What's the Fuss about the Medical Research Future Fund?

Institute News
Monday, October 19, 2015 - 10:15am
The question “What’s the fuss?” will ring out around Australia in weeks to come thanks to the launch of a new community-led campaign to promote the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and the importance of health and medical research to our nation’s future.

Professor Katie Allen, paediatric gastroenterologist and allergist at Murdoch Children's, features in the television and online campaign with other high-profile research advocates such as Carrie Bickmore, Ita Buttrose, Natasha Stott Despoja, and former Australians of the Year Sir Gustav Nossal, Prof Patrick McGorry and Simon McKeon. They are all explaining “What’s the fuss?” about medical conditions such as allergy, dementia, cancer, heart disease, and mental illness.

Medical Research Future Fund Action Group Chair, Peter Scott, said these conditions and many more are certainly worthy of a fuss being made.

“As the television commercial says, the fuss is that Australian health and medical research provides hope for new discoveries leading to better diagnostics, treatments and potentially cures for these conditions and many more”, Mr Scott said.

“The MRFF is the substantial investment in health and medical research that Australia needs, and we are grateful that it is receiving the fuss it deserves thanks to many high profile people being very generous with their time in filming with us, simply because they care so much about improved funding for medical research.

“The fuss is for all of us, for our future, and for the important role the MRFF will play in that.”

In the commercial, Prof Allen, who leads the Health Nuts and School Nuts studies at Murdoch Children's, says that we need medical research to turn the tide on our growing allergy epidemic.

“The ‘fuss’ is for allergies, many of which can be debilitating and some, even life threatening. We're working on why there's an epidemic in allergies."

The What’s the fuss? campaign is coordinated by the Medical Research Future Fund Action Group, an alliance of peak bodies representing health and medical researchers and patient groups, along with community and business leaders who support health and medical research. 

Visit the What's the Fuss? website

Australian health fast facts

  • Almost half of all Australians live with a chronic illness.
  • More than half of potentially preventable hospitalisations arise from chronic conditions.
  • Australian Government health expenditure per person is projected to more than double over the next 40 years, from $2,800 to $6,500 (in today's dollars). That is equivalent to a total health cost of $255 billion (in today’s dollars) in 2054-55.
  • Every dollar invested in Australian health and medical research returns on average $2.17 in health benefits.
  • Investment in health and medical research by the National Health and Medical Research Council (the main source of Government funding for health and medical research) between 2000-2010 is estimated to have saved $966 million in costs to the health system, with a further $6 billion in projected gains linked to increased wellbeing.

Medical Research Future Fund fast facts

  • The MRFF was legislated on 13 August 2015.
  • Earnings from investing the MRFF’s protected capital will be used towards health and medical research and medical innovation. This will be in addition to the approximate $800 million in annual funding for health and medical research currently provided through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
  • The MRFF is slated to build to $20 billion by 2020, at which point, it will deliver an extra $1 billion in annual funding to medical research and innovation. [2015-16 Federal Budget papers]
  • Research Australia polling has found 73 per cent of Australians support increased government investment in health and medical research. [Research Australia]