Correspondence with Barry O’Farrell on #protectresearch

Dear Barry O’Farrell MP,

Thank you so much for your lovely letter. It is nice to know that the State Government is thinking of each and every NSW citizen paid by the government.  I did not understand all of it, but got the message that you think public service is underappreciated and needs its levels of integrity, impartiality, ability, accountability and leadership increased. I’m sure a Public Service Commission (PSC) will help.

As to you wanting to end to the culture of political blame and scape-goating, that’s a really noble desire and I hope you are able to begin to do this soon.

However, your NSW PSC will be useless to me as I am only paid through the NSW public service as a vehicle and am actually funded federally by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC).

As it appears the NH&MRC is about to have its budget slashed, I will probably be out of a job next year and hence either collecting unemployment benefits or moving overseas to work.

Or maybe you will need a Science Advisor on your new PSC? I will probably be available…

I have put more information about why we need to keep the NH&MRC budget intact on my blog here.

Good luck with the election. If and when you win, please increase the budget to the NSW Office for Science and Medical Research and fund some of us who do not get NH&MRC project grants for 2012.

I will make my decision closer to the election based on ANY state politician who comments on whether NSW will lose medical researchers due to NH&MRC budget cuts.

Finally, let me quote a NSW government website to you ( http://www.business.nsw.gov.au/innovation-and-research/science-and-medical-research):

“Science and medical research play a vital role in the continued growth and better health of our community, environment and economy. From increased life expectancy and new treatments for disease, to technologies that change the way we live and work, to addressing environmental challenges – scientific research and the knowledge it generates affects us all.

The NSW Office for Science and Medical Research is part of Industry & Investment NSW and works with the scientific, health and medical research communities, the higher education sector and business to promote growth and innovation to achieve better economic, health and environmental outcomes for the people of NSW.

Its mission is to enhance research capacity within NSW and ensure that the research sector plays a key support role in implementing major policy objectives of the Government, outlined under the NSW State Plan, the Knowledge Statement (pdf), the Tertiary Education Plan (pdf) and the NSW Business Sector Growth Plan (pdf).

Major objectives are to:

  • build the State’s knowledge base to respond to challenges and opportunities within the research sector
  • ensure that the State’s R&D capabilities underpin State Plan priorities and implement the principles contained in the Knowledge Statement, the Tertiary Education Plan and the NSW Business Sector Growth Plan
  • promote national and international collaborations in science and medical research in NSW to attract increased investment to NSW
  • create strong linkages between the higher education sector, business and the community
  • optimise the effectiveness of the NSW Government’s investment in science and medical research and
  • identify new areas of science and medical research of relevance to NSW “

Will a NSW government led by you also have these objectives?

Yours sincerely,

Update – a reply via Twitter:

@barryofarrell (at 3:12pm, 24 Mar) “I’ve been in the Hunter & away from my email. We’ve announced a boost & renewed focus On medical research http://www.jillianskinner.com/Media/Press_Releases/Libs_Policy_$20m_boost_medical_+research_140211.html

Me:  “Thx for your reply. Is that $20M boost over 10 years or all for this year? Not clear on website.”

@barryofarrell “over 4 years – ie extra $5 m each year”.

PS. If the rumours are true, the NH&MRC cuts will be $400M over 3 years. The $20M above was requested for infrastructure costs of the major NSW research institutes (Garvan, Kolling, etc), money that is not (and cannot) be included in project grant budgets. We need the federal government to NOT cut the NH&MRC budget so there are researchers left to make use of said infrastructure.

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About drmmobs

Medical Researcher
This entry was posted in Australia, Health, Politics, Science. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Correspondence with Barry O’Farrell on #protectresearch

  1. Gavin Heaton says:

    So now it will be interesting to see if you get another response. He may be too busy after the weekend.

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