|Health & Fitness, Science
Trust in Medical Research
What Scientists Must Do to Enhance It
Warwick Peter Anderson
The Covid-19 pandemic showed the community the value of scientific research. But in an age of disinformation and false facts, when public trust in institutions is at record-low levels, does the community still hold trust in medical research and in the bodies and institutions that administer it?
In this timely, thought-provoking essay, Professor Warwick Peter Anderson AO explores questions around how medical research funding is valued, awarded and recognised in Australia, and how to better use the evidence from medical research to improve the health of Australians. He interrogates whether there are gaps and biases in the processes for awarding grants, if peer review can be improved, if tougher penalties should apply to those who produce ‘fake’ or misleading science, and how medical researchers can invite the public in to take part in decisions about who receives funding and why. Anderson surveys the international landscape and draws on his own experience as the head of the NHRMC to outline the case for why we need to ensure the public retains its faith in the quality and objectivity of medical research.
Offering a range of practical solutions, this essential essay is an impassioned call for higher standards around the conduct of medical research, and due recognition for the wealth of talent among Australian medical researchers.