A $20 billion medical research future fund for cutting-edge research will be the largest of its kind in the world, the government says.

Medical research is one of the few winners in a budget that makes massive cuts to health and hospital funding – much of which will be reinvested in the fund until it reaches its $20 billion target in 2020.

The fund could change the way medical research is done in Australia, with interest from the capital able to fund $1 billion a year in new research projects through the National Health and Medical Research Council.

”The additional $1 billion a year in funding will roughly double the government’s direct funding to medical research,” it said in its budget overview.bigstockphoto_Australian_Money_Background_2479434

”This investment, to be managed by the Future Fund Board of Guardians, will help to ensure Australia can continue to advance world leading medical research projects, attract and retain first-class researchers and deliver improved health and medical outcomes for all Australians.”

The government will also spend $200 million over five years on dementia research, and $18 million over four years on the Orygen Youth Health Research Centre to establish and operate a National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health.

While the project could deliver huge growth in innovative medical treatments, it is unclear who will pay for them to be implemented in Australia’s hospitals and GP rooms.

The budget health outline notes that ”advances in medical technology mean that demand for medicines and health services is expected to grow for all age groups”, and individuals and the states and territories will have to carry a much greater part of the burden of ongoing health funding.

This article first appeared on ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ on 13 May 2014.

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(1) Reader Comment

  1. The $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund will waste much money and mouse and monkey cures which fail in humans.
    “We have learned well how to treat cancer in mice and rats but we still can’t cure people.” Professor Colin Garner, quoted in Accelerator MS Is a Powerful New Tool, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Vol. 27, No. 15, 2007
    Much of this money will fund animal ‘research’. Basing human medicine on animals has historically been a disaster for humans and will not provide cures to humans in the future. In other words the money, taken from pensioners, the disabled etc will be wasted.
    “The history of cancer research has been a history of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades, and it simply didn’t work in humans.” Dr Richard Klausner, Director, National Cancer Institute, LA Times, May 6, 1998
    “Safety of drugs in animals can never guarantee the same for humans.” Khan & Rodrigues, rapid response to Goodyear, Learning from the TGN1412 trial, British Medical Journal, 332: 677-678, 2006
    Please direct this funding to species specific research such as micro dosing, epidemiology, micro fluidics etc. How many more have to die of age old diseases until we learn?

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