Medical Research

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (14:54): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Minister for Health and Wellbeing in relation to medical research.

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: I have spoken in this council before about the contributions made by South Australians in medical research, for instance in commemorating the centenary of the Nobel Prize being awarded jointly to father and son, William and Lawrence Bragg. Will the minister update the council on medical research in South Australia?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (14:54): I thank the honourable member for his question. The day-to-day running of our health system is primarily about health professionals and teams of support providing care to unwell South Australians, but we need to be mindful that care is built on generations of research. Models of care need to be continually refreshed by the evidence base and continually refreshed by world-class research.

This week is Medical Research Week. On Monday, I, along with a number of my parliamentary colleagues, attended a dinner hosted by the Australian Society for Medical Researchto mark this occasion. I want to begin by putting on record my appreciation, and I am sure that of all members of the house, for the contribution made to our health system by South Australian medical researchers.

In 2017, South Australian researchers won over $75 million in competitive grant funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council, with a 19.7 success rate, which exceeds the national average. Noteworthy successes included two Centres of Research Excellence grants awarded to the Flinders University and the University of Adelaide, in conjunction with the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, as well as a program grant valued at $9.46 million for Flinders University to support further work in translating the genetic determinants of glaucoma into improved diagnosis and treatment.

The South Australian government and higher education and research sectors continue to invest significantly in our research capacities in the state. The biomedical precinct in the West End of Adelaide has seen significant investment in the past 12 months. We have seen the opening of two core facilities in the precinct, namely, the University of Adelaide's Health and Medical Sciences building and the University of South Australia's Cancer Research Institute. To avoid offending our federal colleagues, we should acknowledge that the precinct in that area received significant commonwealth investment.

These facilities will extend and strengthen our teaching, training and research capabilities, and I congratulate the universities on the successful completion of these facilities. As a key pillar and driver of improvements in policy, clinical practice and innovation, the South Australian public health system relies upon strong evidence from health and medical research to inform and shape our decision-making. By doing so, we are better positioned to ensure decision-making is aligned with evidence and that there is a good translation of research evidence into practice.