3 August 2020
Australian medical research institutes are raising the alarm about the precarious position facing our earlier-career scientists. In their 2020 Budget Submission the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) has outlined the risk of losing the next generation of our brightest researchers, and all their future potential.
“Our early to mid-career researchers struggle to find funding. There are not enough grants or fellowships available from the government at this level,” said AAMRI President Professor Jonathan Carapetis AM. “Instead they’re often part funded through philanthropy and fundraising, and then turn to their medical research institutes to fund the rest. But due to the economic downturn resulting from COVID-19 the holes in this imperfect system have turned into chasms.”
“These are the researchers who have finished their PhDs, are testing hypotheses on what causes different diseases, developing new treatments and vaccines. They are our best and brightest minds and the future of Australia’s medical research.”
This budget, the medical research institute sector is calling for 300 new fellowships funded from the Australian Government exclusively for our brilliant early to mid-career researchers. Half of the funding is proposed to come from existing money within the now fully funded Medical Research Future Fund, and the other half from new funding for the NHMRC.
“It’s not just about more funding, it’s about strategic investment to where we need it most. Every time one of these highly skilled medical researchers is unable to secure funding and continue with their research, about 20 years of past training expertise is lost.”
The loss of these researchers would set Australian medical research back decades, delaying the development of new therapies for cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease to name just a few.
“Our early to mid-career researchers are tomorrow’s scientific leaders, and without action to support them we will lose them,” said Professor Carapetis.