Pressure is mounting on the Federal Government not to cut its health and medical research spending, as the Discoveries need Dollars campaign, initiated by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, gains momentum.


Over 7,000 people rallied in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra yesterday (Tuesday) and further demonstrations are planned for Thursday 14 April in Perth (Forrest Place, Murray Street Mall, 12 am), and Friday in Darwin (Raintree Park, 11.30 am) and Brisbane (Parliament House).


In Melbourne on Tuesday, more than 4000 demonstrators wearing white coats marched through the CBD chanting "Cures not cuts".


The campaign is calling for a two-year moratorium on cuts, while a 'road map' outlining future research priorities and funding is developed.


Federal Greens MP Adam Bandt has written to Treasurer Wayne Swan seeking assurances that there will be no cuts to medical research funding, while in Victoria the Minister for Health David Davis has warned that  research in Victoria would be struck particularly hard by cutbacks.


Chair of Universities Australia, Professor Peter Coaldrake, has written to the Prime Minister and other relevant Ministers, calling for “the Government to affirm its commitment to public investment in research and innovation as a key plank in the 2011 Federal Budget to ensure maximum economic, social and environmental returns from that investment..”


“Australia will risk weakening its place in the global knowledge economy if we do not sustain and continue to grow investment in our research endeavours, and in improved granting opportunities, and incentives encouraging collaboration between educational disciplines and across sectors of the economy,” Professor Coaldrake said.


Neither the Prime Minister nor the Health Minister will confirm or deny the rumours.


More information about the campaign is at