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Analysis and Comment (28)

The idea of research reducing health-care costs may seem counter intuitive because it often leads to the development of expensive drugs, technologies, and treatments. EPA/ANGELIKA WARMUTH

With the right kind of research, we can reduce health-care costs

Quality health care can be expensive and medical research has traditionally been thought to play a role in making it so. But research can also help cut the cost of medical care. The notion of research…
The Coalition government seems to take a very keen interest in medical science, but what about the other fields? AAP/Dan Peled

Science funding is a national investment – not an expense

As a relatively small and young country, by population if not by landmass, Australia has played a noticeable role on the world stage when it comes to science. Contributions to new technologies, from Wi-Fi…
The budget calls for the creation of a medical research future fund from estimated savings in health expenditure. AAP/Lukas Coch

Better ways to spend the medical research future fund

One of the few real surprises in the budget was the creation of medical research future fund, to be partly funded by the introduction of a $7 GP co-payment. This injection of money provides an opportunity…
Homeopathic medicines are not drugs and homeopathy involves much more than the use of a particular therapy. Oonagh Taeger/Flickr

Does the weight of evidence signal the end of homeopathy?

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recently completed a review of the evidence for homeopathy’s effectiveness and, after analysing systematic reviews of clinical trials, concluded…
The medical establishment needs to acknowledge that people can worry themselves sick about wind turbines. Terence Doust/Wikimedia Commons

Wind farm reviews are pointless if they leave out anxiety illness

The Australian Medical Association has released a statement once again affirming that there is no evidence that wind farms harm human health. Geoffrey Dobb, chair of the AMA’s Public Health Committee…
What does the future hold for research funding under an Abbott government? AAP/David Crosling

Securing Australia’s future: science and research

SECURING AUSTRALIA’S FUTURE: As the Commission of Audit reviews government activity and spending, The Conversation’s experts take a closer look at key policy areas tied to this funding – what’s working…
Hours spent writing grant applications could be spent actually doing research with a grant-determining formula. Λ |_ ν-\ Γ Ø

The end of written grant applications: let’s use a formula

The winners and losers of the 2013 National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC) Project Grants were announced in October. A record low success rate of just 16.9% (down from last year’s 20.5%) meant the…
Bad science is easy to spot; but can we tell which proposals are winners? an untrained eye

What is good science? And what gets public funding?

I’ve heard that we should stop talking about “pure” science and “applied” science; that we should only be talking about “good” science and “bad” science. Last year, CSIRO Chief Executive Megan Clark said…
Public confidence in medical research is vulnerable to attacks on its integrity. Andrew Huff

What Australia should do to ensure research integrity

Clinical trials of an experimental cancer drug being undertaken by the University of New South Wales were suspended this week, after questions about the accuracy of some preliminary results were made public…
Health-services research can help work out how best to share the health-funding pie. Wout/Flickr

Who gets a piece of the pie? Spending the health budget fairly

In the eighth part of our series Health Rationing, Philip Clarke and Nicholas Graves suggest ways to make the health-care system more efficient and affordable. Who would want be the health minister? If…
‘Light’ wines are potentially big business if they can be successfully marketed to the diet-conscious consumer. Steve Petric

‘Light’ wine: good for your waistline or just producers' bottom line?

Dieters can now have their wine and drink it, guilt-free and minus the hangover. That’s the promise of so-called “light” or low-alcohol, low-calorie wines. But these wines are not considerably lighter…
Reflexology is just one of the therapies subsidised by private health insurers that’s being reviewed. Chris/Flickr

Private health insurers' natural therapy rebates in the spotlight

Significant growth of natural therapy benefits subsidised by private health insurers, coupled with concerns about the poor evidence base for some of the services offered, has apparently resulted in the…
David Koch meets breastfeeding advocates who converged outside the studio where his show is recorded. AAP/Damian Shaw

Feeding frenzy: public breastfeeding is good for us all

The host of Sunrise breakfast television show, David Koch, aka Kochie, has stirred controversy by saying mothers should breastfeed “discreetly” and that while he agreed that breastfeeding should be done…
Taxpayer-funded research should be out there for everyone to access. muffin9101985/Flickr

What is open access and why should we care?

The issue of open access to research findings has been in the media for a number of reasons lately, some positive - the release of the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) open access policy - and some…
A rat used for cancer research in the United States. Janet Stephens

The elusive ethics of animal ethics committees

More than six million animals are used in experiments in Australia each year. Many endure pain and distress, and most are killed after their use. The research community claims that our regulatory framework…
We need to research the health of the health system for the sake of sustainability. Greg Boege

McKeon review should consider the well-being of health system

The consultation paper by the panel of the McKeon Review is available and open for public comment now, so it’s worth examining whether this review (the latest of many into health and medical research…
Health services are ripe for evidence-based reform. www.shutterstock.com

Six easy ways to improve health services

Each year $120 billion is spent on health services in Australia. But hardly any research is done to investigate whether this money is being used wisely. Only 2.8% of the funding for NHMRC project grants…
Ovarian cancer is a significant cause of illness and death in Australia. Flickr Lindsey G (modchik)

It’s time to adjust our cancer research priorities

Cancer has been a National Health Priority Area since 1996 because of the burden it places on the Australian community. Of course, cancer isn’t just a health and economic burden – it takes an enormous…
A rally of white-coated scientists and lab technicians rally against cuts to research funding in Perth, April 14, 2011. AAP Image/Lloyd Jones

Taking to the streets to protect medical research funding

Australia’s usually mild-mannered medical researchers marched in the streets a year ago to protest mooted government budget cuts. In the face of widespread outcry, the government chose to maintain the…
Guidelines help doctors decide on the best way to treat patients. Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA News Photo

Conflicts of interest in guideline development: the NHMRC responds

TRANSPARENCY AND MEDICINE – A series examining issues from ethics to the evidence in evidence-based medicine, the influence of medical journals to the role of Big Pharma in our present and future health…
Healthy food needs to promote long-term health, so must consider environmental impact. Mark Lawrence

Update Australia’s dietary guidelines to consider sustainability

When eating for health and the environment, not all foods are created equal. The consumption of seafood has led to the over-exploitation of three quarters of the world’s oceans. Meat and dairy foods require…
The value of medical research extends beyond pure economics. Flickr/left hand

How does medical research deliver value for money?

The Federal Government’s main medical research funding body, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), last week announced its 2011 program and development grants, and postgraduate scholarship…
Cutting down on processed food means less rubbish in the bin. poopee shmoopee/Flickr

NHMRC’s healthy diet is also good for the environment

The NHMRC’s new Australian dietary guidelines recommend eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans and wholegrains and eating fewer starchy vegetables, refined cereals, red meat (unless you are a young…
In 2009, 180 years worth of time was used up preparing grant applications instead of doing research. US Army

Fingers crossed: the role of randomness in medical research funding

Chance is something researchers feel could be important when their applications for scientific research funding are assessed and discussed in peer review. Now this hunch has been supported by an analysis…
Francis Crick (right) and James Watson (far left) started a revolution in medicine. AAP

Genomics was great but it’s time for a new medical revolution

Medical science has changed the human health and lifespan in the last century and now another revolution is coming in health. This revolution will entail closing the chasm between what medical evidence…
Why is writing grant proposals the bane of scientists' lives? Fotolia

Putting the fun back into research funding

Getting research money, especially the no-strings-attached kind that government agencies give out, is difficult. Researchers spend months on each proposal with only a small chance of getting funded. Winning…
Are we a step closer to equality in Australian laboratories? Argonne National Laboratory/Wikimedia Commons

A breakthrough for women in science

Yesterday, April 11, should be remembered as the day the Australian science community agreed to change. Specifically, it agreed to change the way we work to enable women to fully participate, and to prevent…

Research and News (1)