Publish Date: 
Monday, May 19, 2014 - 16:30

prime minister visits tri

The significance of the Translational Research Institute (TRI) to Australian medical research was demonstrated by the fact that the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott and the Federal Minister for Health, Peter Dutton asked TRI to host discussions on the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) on Monday 19 May. 

The Prime Minister and the Minister for Health began the day with a tour of the research laboratories.  Associate Professor Ingrid Winkler loaded mouse DNA onto a gel and explained her research into protecting the immune system during chemotherapy (see left).  

The Prime Minister then viewed endometrial cancer cells through a confocal microscope, which is part of the TRI Microscopy Core Facility, managed by Dr Sandrine Roy (see below). 

After the tour, Dr David Watson and Professor Ian Frazer hosted a round table discussion with the Prime Minister and Minister for Health in the TRI boardroom.  This discussion included leading members of the research and university communities including the President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes, Brendan Crabb; the University of Queensland President and Vice Chancellor, Peter Høj; the Queensland University of Technology Vice Chancellor, Peter Coaldrake and the heads of the TRI partner institutes.  

The Prime Minister said that Australia was a powerhouse of medical research and this research was needed to meet future demands, particularly with an aging population.  The Federal Minister for Health, Peter Dutton, said that the funds set aside for medical research would be protected by placing them in a Future Fund.  

Professor Frazer explained how TRI translates knowledge derived from basic scientific research and innovation into practical improvements in patient care; and that it aims to ensure that Australia derives commercial benefit from this innovative research.  He said the MRFF represents a commitment to Australia’s prosperity through innovation.

The discussion then touched on ways to maximise the outcomes of medical research funding by addressing issues such as the current level of bureaucracy, the lack of private investment and the need to attract the best and brightest into science. 

The Prime Minister ended the discussions by inviting input into the design of the MRFF and suggestions on how to maximise the outcomes.