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Health and medical research funding: an investment in Australia’s future

Levon M Khachigian
Med J Aust 2006; 185 (7): 348-349.
Published online: 2 October 2006

Australians look forward to dividends from increased funding

Despite our relatively small population, Australia has made an impressive global impact in health and medical research (HMR). Our research output is twice the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average on a per capita basis,1 with high international visibility by citation,2-4 and Australia boasts five Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine. HMR is a “golden egg”. Its consequences — disease prevention, improved longevity and quality of life — reduce hospital admissions and stays, and contribute to both workforce productivity and wealth creation. Examples of outstanding success in Australian translational HMR include Frazer’s cervical cancer vaccine, Cade’s use of lithium for treating bipolar disorder, Clark’s bionic ear technology, and Marshall and Warren’s unravelling of the role of Helicobacter pylori in peptic ulcer. The Access Economics report commissioned by the Australian Society for Medical Research in 2003 put figures on the value of the golden egg: every dollar invested in health research and development (R&D) yields an average annual return of $5.5

  • Levon M Khachigian

  • Centre for Vascular Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.

Correspondence: L.Khachigian@unsw.edu.au

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