Science got a major win in Australia’s 2018–2019 budget, with the government investing AUD 1.3 billion ($974.8 million) over the next decade into a Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan for the purpose of driving growth in health industries and optimizing health care through R&D for new medicines, devices and treatments. The Plan is estimated to contribute AUD 18 billion ($13.5 billion) into the nation’s economy, provide for at least 130 new clinical trials, and increase exports for biotechnology, medical devices and pharmaceuticals by 50%. The funding will be mostly allocated to five initiatives. The Genomics Health Futures Mission will receive $500 million over a 10-year period, which will go towards new clinical studies to tackle rare and complex cancers and illnesses. The Mission’s first project entails a AUD 20 million ($15.0 million) trial for rare and debilitating genetic birth disorders such as Spinal Muscular Atrophy. A groundbreaking program for researchers to drive innovation and “out-of-the-box” discoveries, entitled Frontier Health and Medical Research, will receive AUD 240 million ($180.0 million) over a 4-year period, and will consist of 2 stages. In the first stage, scientists will put forward their innovative ideas and articulate their transformative impact, with a year and AUD 1 million ($749,800) to present. In the second stage, chosen applicants will receive AUD 10–20 million ($7.5–$15.0 million) per year to realize their ideas. A new Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need clinical trial program will obtain AUD 248 million ($186.0 million) over five years for accelerating R&D in the field. Diabetes and heart disease research will also get a boost, with AUD 125 million ($93.7 million) provided for a new Targeted Translation Research Accelerator program over a nine-year time frame. The fund will be used for establishing a Targeted Translation Research Accelerator that will support the process from research discoveries to human clinical trials. Over a four-year period, AUD 94 million ($70.5 million) will be allocated for industry research partnerships, as well as for innovations in biomedical and medical technology. The government will also allocate AUD 30 million ($22.5 million) to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare for optimizing accessibility to health information, and AUD 20 million ($15.0 million) to support the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board. Source: Australian Government Department of Health

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