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Testing times in Australia

Reviews assessing return on investment in national research bodies create tension

Stephen Pincock(Stephen@thescientisteurope.com)

Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), which funds biomedical research and offers guidance on medical subjects, is readying itself for the results of a government review into how well it spends its money.

The review is supposed to examine what the council has done since 1999, when the Australian government committed itself to doubling the base level of research funding for the council by 2004, adding $614 million to the purse over the 5-year period.

Last October, Health Minister Kay Patterson appointed John Grant, chairman of the companies Biota, Inc., and Ambri, to see if the investment had paid off. The review is also receiving advice from Peter Wills, who conducted the earlier investigation into the agency that prompted the funding increase.

“It is now time to review the impact of that investment and look to the future needs of health and medical research,” Patterson said...

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