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New board seeks expertise of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute director

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

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IMAGE: Professor Doug Hilton, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, is pictured. view more

Credit: The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute director Professor Doug Hilton is one of eight people appointed to an expert advisory board created to guide priorities for the Australian Government's Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

"The board, which will be chaired by former Australian of the Year Professor Ian Frazer AC, would be a welcome new force to ensure timely, targeted funding for vital research projects," Professor Hilton said.

The board will be responsible for shaping the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy every five years and the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities every two years.

Professor Hilton, who is also president of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI), said a strong board would be able to oversee the most appropriate distribution of funding and ensure the nation's most pressing health and medical concerns are addressed.

The MRFF is expected to deliver more than $400 million in disbursements to researchers over the next four years, building to $1 billion per year by 2020.

This funding is in addition to medical research funding currently provided by the NHMRC, and will double Federal Government funding for medical research and innovation.

"The board announcement brings with it renewed confidence for the health and medical research sector, knowing that within the decade we will be able to double funding for medical research," Professor Hilton said.

"We still have a long way to get to $20 billion in the MRFF, and with it the doubling of funding to our sector, but the creation of this board signals a clear commitment to health and medical research."

Professor Hilton said that medical innovation supported by the MRFF would not only improve life expectancy and quality of life for Australians, it would also reduce the burden of disease on the health system and boost productivity with the creation of new businesses and jobs.

"And then there is that intangible benefit that medical research delivers: hope. Every person fighting a life-threatening disease, and every one of their friends and family, lives in the hope that health and medical research will deliver to them better treatments, or even cures for their condition."

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