19 October, 2012Universities Australia welcomes the announcement of $652 million in National Health and Medical Research Council grants - the first tranche of grants to emerge from the Government's freeze ahead of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO).
"Over three quarters of Australia's 39 universities have directly received grants in this funding round, showing just how vital the sector is in protecting and advancing the health of all Australians," said Belinda Robinson, Chief Executive of Universities Australia.
"The fact that these frozen grants have been paid in full is also recognition by the Government of their importance to Australia.
"Australia's health and medical research industry is critical to future economic prosperity with biomedical industries fast becoming the most significant of our elaborately transformed manufactured exports.
"At a time when there are concerns about the future of Australian manufacturing and our reliance on resources, we must stand behind the new industries being driven by our innovative research sector.
"Serious questions remain, however, about the future of billions of dollars of other research and innovation funding across Government.
"The Government has left open the possibility of programs being delayed, cut or abolished.
"To delay, cut or abolish the programs that will power the innovation needed to underwrite our productivity is to delay, cut or abolish Australia's future economic prosperity.
"Short-term, stop-go approaches to funding and investment decisions add to uncertainty and undermine efforts to retain our best and brightest researchers.
"Universities Australia looks forward to working with the Government to ensure sustainable long-term funding models to maximise research and innovation for Australia's future," Ms Robinson concluded.