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A visionary investment in medical research

news_Katie_GillAustralia’s leading eye research institute, the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), has praised the allocation of $1.1 billion for a new Medical Research Future Fund, to grow to $20 billion by 2020, in the Australian Government’s 2014-15 budget.

Professor Jonathan Crowston, CERA Managing Director, said that the establishment of this fund reinforces the importance of medical research to secure better health for all Australians.

“For every $1 invested in medical research, there is a $5 return in health care savings. Eye diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma impose a huge financial burden on our current health system, so we need more research into better diagnosis and treatments, and maybe one day, a cure.”

The number of people affected by eye disease in Australia continues to grow at an alarming speed. Vision Australia estimates there are 357,000 people in Australia who are blind or have low vision, with this number expected to grow to 564,000 by 2030.

Dividends from the fund—expected to be the largest of its type in the world—will be spent exclusively on medical research. The fund will effectively double the government’s investment in medical research by 2023 to $2 billion.

“It is important that medical research across all areas of health and disease are allowed to benefit from this fund,” said Professor Crowston.

Creation of a $20 billion fund into perpetuity was described by Professor Brendan Crabb, President of the Australian Association of Medical Research Institutes as “amongst the most significant initiatives in the history of medical research in Australia.”

Professor Crowston agrees: “The fund will provide much needed security for the sector and encourage our best and brightest, young scientific minds to choose a career in medical research.”