Australia’s high-quality and affordable healthcare system is envied around the world. It’s underpinned by a world-class medical research sector, which is nurtured in our universities and hospitals, medical research institutes and life science companies.
Health and life sciences is one of our largest export sectors, and was worth A$5.6 billion in 2021.
A culture of innovation
Australia is a hub for cutting-edge, life-saving medicines and procedures. Medical research pioneers are drawn to our culture of innovation backed by generous funding and incentives. With our history of Nobel Prize-winning research and high-tech solutions, Australia has made a significant contribution to global medical scientific discovery.
When you bring your talent to Australia, you’ll have access to collaborative innovation hubs and research centres, and a world-class clinical trials ecosystem.
Add to this strong intellectual property protection, an ideal testbed market for clinical trials and access to large export markets, and you have an ideal location for the development of new diagnostics, devices and therapies.
Life sciences research in Australia
- ranked 8th globally overall
- ranked top 6 in optometry, ophthalmology, paediatrics and reproductive medicine
In addition to the public sector activities, I’ve now been involved in other projects in Melbourne and Sydney including scientific collaborations and commercial networking. Half of the shareholders in my company (Neuro-Bio Ltd.) are actually Australian. I therefore feel qualified to testify that Australia is a fantastic place for science and all STEM activities. I really feel my experiences there have gone a long way to building my confidence in a way that would not have been possible in the UK.
To anyone considering relocating in Australia, I would say that this is a wonderful opportunity!
It all started by bringing together exceptional Australian academic research, entrepreneurial experience, and targeted government support – a combination that continues to be a great model for success 40 years later.
We’re a proudly Australian company, but we’ve succeeded by bringing together exceptional people from all parts of the world. Fortunately for us, Australia is a fantastic place to live and has a blossoming tech community. So we can attract the best people from around the world – the people who will bring our life-changing technology to more people in more places.
Decades on, those characteristics still underpin my work as a geneticist and inspire my research into aging, lifespan extension and keeping people healthier for as long as possible.
While much of my time is spent at Harvard Medical School, I come back to Australia whenever I can. And as a conjoint professor at my alma mater, the University of New South Wales, I keep a keen eye on the world-leading research coming out of Australia and the many opportunities there for talented professionals in health and life sciences.
For those who share the same spirit of possibility and want to push the boundaries of science, as I have, Australia is a wonderful place to pursue your passions.
A high-energy ecosystem
Our top-ranking universities and academics are global leaders in clinical medicine and pioneers in many areas of health and life sciences research. We’re breaking new ground in specialist fields such as oncology, neurology, regenerative medicine, medical devices, tropical diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and diagnostics.
Australia is home to several comprehensive cancer care centres that are pioneering genome research. We also boast world-leading immunology facilities with the infrastructure and expertise to develop viral vectors and companion diagnostics.
Our medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors work in lockstep with industry, entrepreneurs and academics. Collaborating with an Australian university can give you access to some of the world’s best minds and a share of the impressive A$10.6 billion in revenue generated via partnerships with Australian universities each year. The Australian Government is now giving a boost to university–industry partnerships with the A$2.2 billion University Research Commercialisation Package.
Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, is leading new strategies to prevent and minimise the impact of diseases through the delivery of evidence-based products, programs and services. Its expertise includes molecular diagnostic solutions and precision health and medicine research.
It’s also an internationally renowned catalyst for advanced manufacturing, connecting industry to global supply chains. Its work with industry on research into 3D printing has led to world-firsts in printing human body parts. It even invented Wi-Fi, the empowering technology at the heart of the digital health revolution.
CSIRO is in the top 1% of the world’s scientific institutions in 15 of 22 research fields.
Ideal location for clinical trials
Australia’s clinical trial capabilities, skilled workforce and specialised infrastructure are second to none. With around 50 clinical trial networks and as many biobanks across the country, 1880 clinical trials were started in 2019, with 95,000 Australians participating. Conduct your clinical trials in Australia and you benefit from:
- streamlined regulatory and ethics approval
- a multicultural population ideal for trials
- high-quality data that is recognised around the world
- cost effectiveness – once tax incentives are taken into account, it’s 60% cheaper to run trials here than in the US.
Australia’s legal system also provides robust protection for intellectual property, encourages innovation and safeguards investment. Our IP regime consistently ranks in the top tier of international IP systems and is aligned with international standards.
It’s no wonder that our sophisticated clinical trials environment draws both local and overseas participants, with nearly one-third of industry-led trials in Australia led by multinational companies. In 2019 alone, more than $1.4 billion was spent on clinical trials in Australia.
Australia ranks 11th for intellectual property rights on the International Property Rights Index 2021
Aged care is a growing industry in Australia, with governments spending A$23.6 billion nationwide in 2020 – 21.
The sector is undergoing major reforms to improve care experience, quality and safety, workforce design, technology and innovation, strategic planning, infrastructure optimisation, and operational alignment.
Digital health opportunities in Australia have expanded dramatically. We’re world leaders in electronic medical records and the Australian healthcare sector is embracing big data and artificial intelligence, mobile health, connected devices and wearables, telehealth and telemedicine, and personalised and precision medicine. This is opening up exciting opportunities to access and create data-driven health services and products.
Medtech, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals
Combine our advanced manufacturing capability with our expertise in medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals and the result is world-leading medical products – from drugs, biologics and vaccines to innovative devices and diagnostics.
Synthetic biology is the application of engineering principles and genetic technologies to biological engineering. It’s estimated the global synthetic biology-enabled market could grow to A$700 billion by 2040.
Australia’s increasing research base and attractive business environment for international partnerships positions us to play a leading role in servicing the growing Asia-Pacific market for synthetic biology-enabled products, which is expected to reach A$3.1 billion by 2024.
Grants, incentives and support
- Australia's A$20 billion Medical Research Future Fund aims to transform health and medical research and innovation to improve lives, build the economy and contribute to health system sustainability. Granting activities from the Medical Research Future Fund include:
- the A$450 million Medical Research Commercialisation initiative supports innovative early-stage health and medical research in Australia. It will also help researchers to transform their ideas into life-saving medicines, devices and treatments to help future patients
- the A$47 million MRFF Targeted Translation Research Accelerator, which is improving the prevention and treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular disease
- The Clinical Trials Activity initiative will provide $750 million over 10 years from 2022–23 to help Australian researchers and patients test new treatments through national and international clinical trials.
- MTPConnect, part of the Australian Government’s Industry Growth Centres Initiative, champions the growth of Australia’s medtech, biotech and pharmaceutical (MTP) sectors. MTPConnect raises awareness, fosters collaboration and competition, and aggregates and shares existing knowledge with the broader MTP sectors. It also delivers several strategic funding initiatives on behalf of the Medical Research Future Fund.
- The National Health and Medical Research Council supports investigator‑led research activities across all areas of health and medicine, providing grants in excess of A$850 million per annum.
- The Australian Research Council funds fundamental and applied research across a broad range of fields that contribute to advancements in health and medical science, (e.g., AI, engineering, and the development of biomaterials), and brokers partnerships between researchers and industry, government, community organisations and the international community.
- The Biomedical Translation Fund is A$501 million co-investment program helping translate biomedical discoveries into products and services.
- Australia’s A$1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy has a dedicated stream for medical products.
- The Research and Development Tax Incentive encourages businesses to invest more in R&D through tax offsets.
- The Australian Tax Office’s New Investment Engagement Service gives tailored guidance on tax issues to businesses planning significant new investments in Australia.
- Business.gov.au provides information, grants, services and support from across government to help businesses succeed.
The MTPConnect podcast series connects with the people, projects and issues behind Australia’s growing medical technologies, biotechnologies and pharmaceuticals sector. Since its launch in February 2019, the podcast has featured a range of guests including notable scientists, physicians, entrepreneurs and business leaders.
- Implantable monitoring and seizure detection for traumatic brain injury
- Building a world-class influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in Australia
- Spray-on skin revolutionises burns treatment
- Gardasil: Reducing cervical cancer rates through HPV vaccine
- Commonwealth Serum Laboratories
Australia - a medtech powerhouse
Are you a talented individual working in health industries?
Get an idea of the kinds of skills and roles we’re looking for
We’re targeting exceptionally talented individuals who are leading ground breaking projects in medtech, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, medical research, disease management, and health IT.
The following specialisations are intended to be used as a guide and are not an exhaustive list. The global talent profile provides examples of the calibre of individuals who may meet program requirements.