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14 Nov 2018

Australia’s investment in medical research has significantly boosted the country’s welfare, economy and future potential, according to a new study launched at Parliament House, Canberra.

The Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) President Professor Tony Cunningham AO released a report of the study in October and said for every dollar invested in medical research, Australia gains a $3.90 return to the economy.

“A near $4-to-$1 is an extraordinary return on investment. This return is far higher than the level needed to secure government funding for just about any other investment in infrastructure,” Professor Cunningham said.

The new study, by KPMG Economics, has identified that the medical research sector – including the downstream medical technology and pharmaceutical sector – employs more than 110,000 people.

It also found that the health gains that flow from medical research result in a larger and more productive national workforce.

“Investing in medical research must remain a top priority for Australia – not only for the health and wellbeing of all Australians, but also to help build a strong economy through employment, knowledge creation and through our burgeoning medical technology and pharmaceutical export industry,” Professor Cunningham said. 

The findings demonstrate the national workforce is estimated to be significantly larger than it would have been in the absence of medical research – 23,000 full-time employees more.

The report also shows today’s economy, as measured by GDP, is $2.6 billion larger as a result of historical medical research. Significantly, welfare, a measure of how well off we are as a population, is $1.5 billion higher that it would have been in the absence of medical research.

Professor Cunningham said the in-depth study of the impact of medical research in Australia was a timely reminder that we can only expect the positive health and economic outcomes if we are willing to put in the investment.

“I’d like to thank the Australian community and our politicians for making that investment,” he said.

To view the full report, visit



Published: 14 Nov 2018