Message from the Executive Director


Professor Alan Bensoussan

6 April 2016

It was refreshing to read Dr Alan Finkel’s first statement on his commencement as Australia’s new Chief Scientist expressing his interests in better supporting, understanding and capturing the benefits of innovation. According to the Global Innovation Index, Australia is ranked 81 out of 143 countries on how effectively we secure returns from research, ideas and institutions.1 In 2013, Australia came last out of the 33 countries listed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the proportion of businesses which collaborate with research institutions on innovation.2 Our universities, research institutes and businesses are critical to building new economic opportunities and for strengthening our communities and industries. Australia has a well-developed – and growing – complementary medicine research sector. Support for this sector through industry and government funding of research partnerships is critical for a number of reasons. Australians use complementary medicine and seek to integrate this use into their mainstream healthcare. Research will assist in the safe and effective integration of this medicine in practice. An environment that supports innovation and encourages greater investment in R&D leads to better outcomes for the community. The integration of different aspects of healthcare, complementary and conventional, needs to be driven by innovative science.

In 2016, we will continue to facilitate a strong, strategic approach to the development of the complementary medicine research sector in Australia, and endorse Australia’s role as an international leader in achieving an informed, evidence based approach to complementary medicine use.  NICM will continue to play a major role in developing policies for the practice, teaching and research of complementary medicine, in demonstrating the value and relevance of complementary medicine based on research and evidence, and in helping to frame the terms of public debates.

We also take great pride in having been mentioned recently by the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, in his recent address to the Macarthur Chamber of Commerce. (opens in a new window) The PM referred to our relationship with Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and the ways in which we seek to deliver innovation in healthcare.

  1. Cornell University, INSEAD, and WIPO, The Global Innovation Index 2014: The Human Factor In innovation. 2014: Fontainebleau, Ithaca, and Geneva.
  2. Australian Government. (2016). Boosting the Commercial Returns from Research. Accessed March, 2016.