The creation of knowledge through research underpins improvement in Australia’s health service delivery and intervention. However, there is a significant ‘valley of death’ gap between discovery and implementation of knowledge from research. This gap slows the uptake of the benefits from research, for patients and for the operation of the health system.
To reduce the gap, NHMRC CEO, Professor Warwick Anderson has launched an independent report on the Development Grants Scheme at the Innovation Translation Forum in Melbourne today. The report, Evaluation of Development Grants Scheme, analyses the economic, health and industry outcomes.
Development Grants provide funding support to individual researchers and research teams to undertake research at the early proof-of-principle or pre-seed stage.
The Scheme supports the commercial development of a product, process, procedure or service that can improve health care, disease prevention or provide health cost savings.
All completed and current Development Grants funded between 2000 to 2008 were analysed with 40 grants sampled for more in-depth assessment. Of the 40 grants, the majority had secured a commercial partner and more than half were under possible commercial development. Others had a product to market or were awaiting regulatory approval.
“The report recommended that the scheme’s current design should be retained and that NHMRC should increase consultation with investors and industry on incorporation of commercial milestones in grant approvals and reporting,” Professor Anderson said.
NHMRC is working on a number of fronts to improve preventative approaches based on evidence, to introduce new treatments and to identify improvements to the functioning of the health system
Recent initiatives include creating the Research Translation Faculty (RTF), a major strategic initiative for health and medical research translation in Australia and the Australian Clinical Trials website that is improving access to clinical trials of new drugs, treatments and medical procedures.