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Funding for research and development is decreasing

Photo: Unis warn against research funding cuts
Universities Australia has launched a campaign to highlight the importance of research and development, as it faces dwindling levels of federal funding.

What do a vaccine to help prevent cervical cancer, the origins of wireless internet and using seaweed for brain injuries have in common?

They're all the result of Australian research.

With an impending cut to federal funding for research and development, Universities Australia has launched a campaign to highlight the importance of past discoveries.

Funding for research and development is expected to dip to 0.5 per cent of GDP, which is the lowest since 1978, UA says.

"Cuts to university research funding are cuts to Australia's ability to deliver desperately-needed research breakthroughs, cures, treatments and life-changing programs," UA chief Catriona Jackson says.
"Every patient group, every family with a child falling behind at school, every farming community, indeed every single Australian, has a stake in keeping the uni research breakthroughs coming."

The Uni Research Changes Lives campaign kicks off on Friday and features Australians who have benefited from local research.

The campaign features University of Queensland professor Ian Frazer and his team who discovered how to make the particles that are the base of the HPV vaccine Gardasil.

Gardasil protects against nine types of HPV, which cause most cases of cervical cancers and genital warts.

Over 200 million women have been given the vaccine globally.

"The practical impact of that is that one to two million lives have been saved worldwide from this vaccine," Prof Frazer says.

Australia's 12 and 13-year-olds receive the vaccine as part of the national immunisation program.

Lisa Lockland-Bell was diagnosed with cervical cancer 15 years ago and was able to overcome the disease after having a hysterectomy.

She's thankful her daughter Lydia is protected from the cancer after having the Gardasil vaccination.

"I feel sad for my mum knowing that she's gone through that," Lydia says.

"But it's good knowing I'll go into the future safely, with a sigh of relief knowing I don't have to go through that."

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