2023 Data and Insights, Identifying Opportunities and Advocacy

Posted: 20 November 2023

Data and insights: Be the go-to source for the healthtech industry and Victorian Government for data and insights on sector potential, priorities and needs

Identifying opportunities: Work with the healthtech industry to identify and prioritise strategic projects and working groups and advisory panels that support industry transformation and strengthening of the local innovation ecosystem

Advocacy: Be the peak body for the Victorian healthtech industry to build and maintain a supportive policy, regulatory and investment environment


Often, the first three elements of our strategy strongly interrelate:


Wilam Public Policy and Advocacy Community

There has been a growing trend for industry bodies and organisations around Australia to work together to co-develop policy positions and advocate jointly on key sector issues. These often have greater impact as we can present a more unified message to government or other bodies we seek to influence. Through this activity, we are building greater networks around the country that we can leverage to collaborate and stay informed about sector priorities, updates and key events.

What is often lacking is the ability of those organisations to have sufficient advocacy resources to know who is working on or interested in working on key issues. It is also challenging to know where to direct questions, seek collaborative advocacy partners, provide updates and better coordinate priorities.

Therefore, BioMelbourne Network promoted an initiative that we have developed to help address common challenges that we face developing public policy and advocacy at respective state and national levels.

Through our new Wilam Life Sciences Industry Community, we have established a private community within the platform for key sector advocates to come together to help address the challenges outlined above. This community has been established to support the need of key sector advocates from around the country to better collaborate and coordinate their activities. Here we can share insights on sector issues, share documents, discuss priorities, and find other sector advocates with whom we can collaborate on public policy and advocacy activities.

Wilam is not social media; it is a working, collaboration and networking space for the Australian ecosystem. It is not only for BioMelbourne Network members; it is for anyone in the life sciences sector in Australia who is working closely on related issues. This isn’t a room led by BioMelbourne Network or a single organisation; it is a working space. BioMelbourne Network remains a Victoria state peak body, but represents a significant portion of the broader Australian ecosystem. Through this initiative, we seek to leverage the Wilam community platform to facilitate improved communication, coordination, prioritisation and outcomes related to key sector issues.

Please note that:

  • BioMelbourne Network may or may not be involved in the advocacy or public policy issues being developed. There is no obligation by participants to include BioMelbourne Network.
  • The policy or advocacy work and discussions can still happen offline as you do today, but through the community you can better keep abreast of issues, find willing participants to work with on issues and provide updates to the sector on status.
  • We may establish separate working group “rooms”, where you can lead your own policy development discussions in private, away from the broader group. You will also be able to share and co-edit documents directly on Wilam.

If you are interested in joining the Wilam Public Policy and Advocacy Community, please contact Jeff Malone on Wilam as you will need to have a Wilam account to participate.

Australian MedTech Manufacturing Centre (AMMC) collaboration

BioMelbourne Network continues our close collaboration with AMMC as one of their primary ecosystem partners. The alignment of our strategic priorities creates a robust foundation for fostering collaboration.

Seed funding for the Wilam Life Sciences Industry Community, made possible through a visionary DJSIR grant via the AMMC, serves as a pivotal cornerstone in fortifying connections between government and industry throughout Victoria and Australia. It also enables us to connect our sector with peers globally.

Within this framework, we have harnessed the platform’s potential by managing working groups and setting up member-managed sub-communities.

We seek to democratise advocacy in our sector. Our aim is to empower voices within industry to address issues, both substantial and nuanced, that matter most to them and you. Through Wilam, we gather sector insights, plan events that address community needs, and advocate on behalf of the sector on issues of paramount importance.

As ecosystem partners, our involvement extends to various AMMC initiatives aimed at strengthening the sector. We actively participate in working groups, advisory panels, workshops and international collaborations, many of which have featured in our event programs.

Our partnership with AMMC has led to the development of a six-part seminar series which advocates for the growth of Victorian medtech manufacturing. Event themes include the local manufacturing landscape and health procurement policy, with a focus on strengthening local procurement practices.

Looking ahead, this collaborative relationship with AMMC and the Victorian Government will continue beyond the fiscal year and drive our collective efforts towards a brighter future. Together, we remain committed to fostering innovation and growth in the healthtech and life sciences sectors.

Follow the links below to view the first two Medtech Manufacturing Series seminars on BioResource Hub:

2023-03-28 | 2023AMMC1 | 1/4 | Leaders at the Forefront: Charting the Course for Victorian Medtech Manufacturing

2023-06-21 | 2023AMMC1 | 2/4 | Supplying to Health: The Changing Nature of Health Procurement in Victoria

2023 mRNA Lecture Series

Tailored events are a new service to industry that enable member organisations to showcase new initiatives, while accessing our network and event management expertise. The mRNA Lecture Series, produced on behalf of mRNA Victoria, and Medtech Manufacturing Series, produced on behalf of AMMC, are just two examples of the quality of events that we are delivering to government and industry.

Dr Renee Winzar agrees. “When we decided to host a series of seminars to inform the Victorian biotech sector about the emerging RNA ecosystem, BioMelbourne Network was an obvious partner. They understood our vision and how to make it happen,” said mRNA Victoria’s Senior Scientific and Policy Advisor.

“The mRNA Lecture Series events were delivered seamlessly and due to the broad reach of the network, tickets sold out hours after they went on sale. And we also had attendees traveling from interstate.

“The BioMelbourne Network team flawlessly delivered a ‘fireside chat’ with Professor Robert Langer, Co-Founder of Moderna and Institute Professor at MIT, video conferencing in from the US and engaging with attendees in Melbourne.

“We’ve had so much positive feedback that we’ve decided to continue the mRNA Lecture Series in 2023-2024.”

Clinical Trials Action Plan – Steering Committee

As part of the Health and Medical Research Strategy (2022-2032), the Clinical Trials Action Plan (CTAP) has been established to lead reform for clinical trials in Victoria. The CTAP will develop a forward-thinking roadmap of priorities which will implement commitments from the Health and Medical Research Strategy. This will help secure Victoria’s position as a world leader in clinical research.

The CTAP Steering Committee has been established as an advisory group to the Clinical Trials Action Plan project, which is managed by the Office of Health and Medical Research and Department of Jobs Skills, Industry and Regions. It is composed of leaders and stakeholders across all areas of Victorian clinical trials, including government, rural and regional healthcare, researchers and clinicians, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, patient engagement and Indigenous health.

As an organisation supporting the research community, BioMelbourne Network is delighted to be a participating member of the CTAP Steering Committee.

The CTAP Steering Committee will provide oversight of the CTAP project, including advice on project direction. They will provide expert review and feedback of project materials, highlighting relevant organisational activities and/or interdependencies, and identify relevant areas of consideration.

Discussion by the CTAP Steering Committee will include, but not be limited to, the below areas of clinical trial reform identified by the OHMR:

  • Increasing the number of clinical trials in Victoria, including investigator-initiated trials and commercially-sponsored clinical trials
  • Improving clinical trial start-up times
  • Building rural and regional clinical trials capacity
  • Increasing community engagement and patient recruitment to clinical trials, including Indigenous and minority communities
  • Building and supporting the clinical trials workforce.

Strategic advice from the Steering Committee about opportunities and challenges for the CTAP and roadmap will contribute to Victoria’s health outcomes and economic performance l and help secure Victoria’s position as a world-leader in clinical research.

The first full day meeting was held on 25 July 2022, with participants divided into three groups to focus on specific areas.

Manufacturing Industry Skills Alliance –  IBSA collaboration

BioMelbourne Network provided support to IBSA to develop the Manufacturing Industry Skills Alliance (Manufacturing Alliance). Their submission was successful and the entity launched in June 2023.https://manufacturingalliance.org.au/

The Manufacturing Alliance is the Jobs and Skills Council for the manufacturing industry. It is an industry owned and industry led organisation that supports the workforce skills development in modern manufacturing and associated industries. It works with Australian employers, unions, educators, learners and government to build a skilled workforce.

The headquarters of the Manufacturing Alliance is in Melbourne, with the team based throughout Australia.

Visit their website or watch a presentation from the Manufacturing Alliance on BioResource Hub 2023-09-14 | BioForum – Bridging the Talent Gap: Fostering a Skilled Workforce

If you require more information about the Manufacturing Alliance or wish to get connected, please reach out to BioMelbourne Network.

Secure stable funding for the TGA

In January 2023, BioMelbourne Network joined other key sector stakeholders to advocate for additional funding for the TGA.

You can access the letter to the Australian Government here.

Unfortunately, in the June 2023 Cost Recovery Implementation Statement published by the TGA, we note that there have continued to be increased costs put onto industry.

Further discussions are underway as of November 2023 to review and potentially resubmit our position to the Australian Government for additional funding for the TGA.

NRF letter of support with Research Australia

BioMelbourne Network joined with Research Australia, AusBiotech and other key sector advocates to write a letter of support for passage of the National Reconstruction Fund.

You can access the letter here.

On 14 March 2023, the National Reconstruction Fund Corporation Bill 2023 had just passed through the House of Representatives on the way to the Senate.

Between 20 and 28 March 2023, the bill was reviewed and passed in the Senate with amendments. Amendments were agreed to by the House on 29 March and the bill was passed.

The NRF is currently being formed and they are searching for a CEO to lead the independent financing entity.

Parkville precinct – Haymarket roundabout review

BioMelbourne Network continues to work with the 17 institutions that comprise the Haymarket Roundabout Stakeholders Group to advocate for the redevelopment and reform of the infamous Haymarket Roundabout on Flemington Road. Significant new infrastructure development, including the CSL building, the new Royal Melbourne Hospital facility and the Parkville Station which will open in 2025, are exponentially increasing the daily pedestrian, cyclist, motorist and public transport movements into and across the Haymarket Roundabout.

Currently, the Stakeholders Group has presented to the Victorian Government a reform concept which would markedly improve traffic flows, car-tram interactions and the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. It would also free up unused space in the middle of the roundabout for four parklets – and pave the way for an iconic centrepiece of the precinct that is safe, globally recognisable and synonymous with Australian health and medical research excellence.

Global Vic/ Invest Vic international investment strategy support

In June 2023, BioMelbourne Network was approached by Global Victoria to provide input on key areas of their strategy to address sector needs, industry trends, industry specific challenges and opportunities, the competitive global landscape and barriers to success for our industry.

BioMelbourne Network sent a written submission to Global Victoria on your behalf and followed up with advisory discussions.

National science priorities consultation – Kathy Foley

On 4 April  2023, BioMelbourne Network and other key sector stakeholders met with Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley to discuss the question of what Australia’s science and research priorities should be.

Public submissions closed on 31 March, allowing the public and industry to respond to the question through a survey against the current science priorities.

The current nine national science priorities are:

  1. Food
  2. Soil and Water
  3. Transport
  4. Cybersecurity
  5. Energy
  6. Resources
  7. Advanced Manufacturing
  8. Environmental Change
  9. Health.

Following our meeting with Dr Foley, a written submission was provided to her summarising BioMelbourne Network’s response to the National Science and Research priorities.

CSIRO non-animal model strategy development

Between March and August 2023, CSIRO engaged with over 100 people across 66 organisations that span industry, government and research in the development of their non-animal models strategy – Non-animal models: A strategy for maturing Australia’s medical product development capabilities.

The strategy was finally launched on 31 August 2023. This report assesses the potential of emerging non-animal models to complement or replace traditional animal models over the next 15 years and actions for Australia to pursue these opportunities.

The final report can be found here, and we encourage you to promote the document through your own organisations and networks.

If you’re interested in exploring the ideas in the report further or applying similar analysis to other important topics, we can help you connect with CSIRO Futures.


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