The value of our health and medical research investment is at risk unless we foster the discipline of biostatistics. Every year, Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) spends around $800 million on medical and public health research,1 much of which depends critically on the correct analysis and interpretation of data. We argue here that the value of our health research investment, in terms of improved health and lives saved, is at risk unless serious attention is paid to fostering the core scientific discipline of biostatistics. This risk is heightened by the expansion of research possibilities offered by the era of big data, which is rapidly enhancing the availability and scale of new information, necessitating ever deeper understanding of statistical issues and computational tools. Concerns surrounding the inadequate foundations of biostatistics in Australia were raised in a statement emanating from the International Society for Clinical Biostatistics conference held in Melbourne in August 2018 (in conjunction with the Australian Statistical Conference), the largest gathering of research biostatisticians that has ever occurred in Australia.