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Professor Doug Hilton to lead peak medical research advocacy body

04 December 2014
Related topics
Professor Brendan Crabb, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Professor Doug Hilton at an event
Incoming AAMRI president Professor Hilton (R)
with past AAMRI president Professor Brendan
Crabb (L) and Prime Minister Mr Tony Abbott.
Image credit: Lorna Sim
The director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Professor Doug Hilton, has this week taken over the presidency of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI). He assumes the position in the same week that the Australian Government has announced a review of Australia’s independent health and medical research institutes.

As president of AAMRI, Professor Hilton will represent more than 10,000 health and medical researchers who work in Australia’s 45 research institutes, the majority of which are not-for-profit organisations governed separately from universities and hospitals.

Professor Hilton said local medical research institutes were critical to Australia maintaining a vibrant and productive research community. “The government, particularly the Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Health Minister Peter Dutton have been strong supporters of Australian medical research,” he said.

“The review of Australia’s independent medical research institutes comes at a time when the government has proposed a significant boost to Australia’s health and medical research budget, through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). This visionary fund presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Australia to optimise the outcomes generated by the medical research sector.

“The government’s review should ensure our medical research institutes are ideally placed to translate the enhanced funding base provided by the MRFF into better health for all Australians,” Professor Hilton said.

Professor Hilton said his initial priority in his two-year term as AAMRI president would be to advocate for the establishment of the MRFF, a fund that is crucial for building Australia’s health and medical research sector into the future.

“We are in a fortunate position that the current government, opposition and minor parties are all enthusiastic about supporting medical research. The MRFF is an ideal outcome that will benefit Australian research, and the Australian community, for decades to come,” he said.

Professor Hilton also highlighted the importance of reaching a resolution to the challenge of funding the indirect costs of research. “We are in desperate need for a system to fund research that recognises that discoveries rely on someone paying for indirect costs such as electricity, and staff to oversee the administrative requirements,” he said.

“I am also enthusiastic about the opportunities for AAMRI to work with the National Health and Medical Research Council to improve how medical research funding is allocated in Australia,” he said.

Professor Hilton acknowledged the role of his predecessor as AAMRI president, Professor Brendan Crabb, in nurturing AAMRI to a position of strength and influence in Australia’s medical research sector. “I intend to build on the fantastic contribution Brendan has made, and continue to build close collaborative links between Australia’s medical research institutes, universities and hospitals,” Professor Hilton said.

Further information:

Vanessa Solomon
Communications Adviser
P: +61 9345 2971
M: +61 431 766 715
E: solomon@wehi.edu.au 

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