I am honoured to have recently joined the National board of directors of the Australian Society for Medical Research (#ASMR). This is a fantastic society that has for decades fought for a better working environment and more sustainable investment in Medical research. We recently launched a campaigned to help restore much needed funding to the sector, which as many of you know this year is facing its worst level of grant success rates in years. Please read the information below, and using the template letter lobby your local, state and national MPs to help convince them of the urgent need and benefits of Medical Research.
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 don’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 – 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.
The Australian Society for Medical Research
Dr Phoebe Phillips | President
Level 7, Suite 702, 37 Bligh Street| Sydney | NSW | 2000
T: 02 9230 0333 | f: 02 9230 0339 | m: 0415 928 211
Snr. Exec Officer : Catherine West
Please use the links below to download all of the factsheets and performed letters to help you lobby your local MPs.