I would like to give you a brief overview of the outcomes from the Federal Budget of 10 May 2011. These outcomes affect the range of activities undertaken by NHMRC, across its research funding, evidence translation and health advice functions.
I know that the appropriation for the MREA has been a key focus for many of you in the lead up to the budget.
Funding for medical research, through the NHMRC’s Medical Research Endowment Account, increased from $715.5 million in 2010-11 to $746.1 million in 2011-12 (an increase of 4.3%).
Special NHMRC Initiative for Mental Health
In the 2010-12 Strategic Plan, NHMRC identified mental health as a significant health priority for the triennium. In the plan, NHMRC said
We will focus on supporting the development of evidence needed for effective preventative strategies, management and treatment of mental illness, and services for chronic and complex mental health conditions.
In the past year, NHMRC has conducted two major workshops to develop our plans for this important issue.
We will now implement a special initiative to allocate $26.2 million over five years for additional research to support development of evidence for better treatment and health services in mental health.
I have asked the NHMRC Research Committee and Council to advise me on the best way to make this funding available to the research community. I will keep you informed about how we will deliver our additional support through this special initiative.
This initiative will fund research in addition to grants made to mental health researchers through existing NHMRC competitive grant schemes.
Research Advice – Informing health care decisions
Administrative responsibility for three important programs will transfer to NHMRC:
Although details are still being finalised, funding for these activities and the costs of administering them will be transferred from the Department of Health and Ageing and will not impact on NHMRC’s research budget.
Further information about the 2011-12 Federal Budget is available from www.budget.gov.au.
We will provide updates on our actions in response to the budget announcements through our NHMRC Research Tracker newsletter and our website.
Professor Warwick Anderson, AM
Chief Executive Officer