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Faces of medical research

Who is involved in medical research?

Colleen and familyMedical research benefits our community. Many Australians owe their lives to medical research, and many more hope that their illness, or that of a loved one, will one day be cured by advances arising from medical research. Meet some of these people to find out why medical research is important to their lives.

Mark Mayo

Many Australians undertake health and medical research in different ways. While some medical researchers work in laboratories, others see patients at hospitals or health clinics, visit people's houses, collect samples from the air or water in a community, collect data from archived health records, or study farm animals or wildlife that live close to people. Meet some medical researchers to learn about why their research deserves support.

Who funds medical research?

In Australia, like most western countries, governments are a major supporter of medical research. Around half of Australia's health and medical researchers are supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Federal Government's major medical research funding body.

Other Federal Government agencies, such as CSIRO, and state governments also support medical research. Many Australian medical researchers also receive significant support from charitable organisations, philanthropy, and private companies.

In 2011-12, the NHMRC's total budget was $746.1 million, which funded individual researchers as well as research teams and some research infrastructure (buildings, large equipment etc).

Competition for NHMRC funding is tight. In recent years, for every research project which was funded, two more were rejected despite being considered "worthy of funding" by expert review panels. For more information about how NHMRC funding is allocated, please view the NHMRC Research Funding Facts book.

Any cuts to the NHMRC budget, or other funding sources, would mean that more important research would be lost from Australia.