The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) is a $20 billion vehicle for investment in health and medical research. It represents the single largest boost to research funding in Australia’s history. It will support research and innovation activities with the objective of improving the health and wellbeing of Australians.
What is the MRFF?
Established under the Medical Research Future Fund Act 2015, the MRFF is a $20 billion investment by the Government to support, transform, and drive cutting-edge medical research and innovation in Australia.
Strategic and priority areas for the fund are guided by an Advisory Board, who developed the 5-year Strategy (2016–2021) which outline the framework for the MRFF as six strategic platforms:
- Strategic and international horizons
- Data and infrastructure
- Health services and systems
- Capacity and collaborations
- Trials and translation
The Strategy determines the biennial Priorities (2016 - 2018).
Some funding disbursements are expected to be made through competitive grants processes and targeted calls administered by the Department of Health, NHMRC, or other independent bodies.
2018 Federal Budget Update
In the 2018 Federal Budget, the Government announced $1.3 billion towards the National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan, including investments from the MRFF:
- $240 million committed to a Frontier Health and Medical Research program
- $248 million for rare cancers and rare diseases clinical trials
- $32 million for industry research collaborations
- $125 million to establish a Targeted Translation Research Accelerator for chronic disease
- $62.3 million for biomedical and medical technology programs.
- $125 million for a Million Minds Mental Health Mission
- $150 million for translation of research into better patient outcomes
For summaries of each investment, please refer to the Department of Health webpage.
These investments are expected to lead to funding opportunities in the near future however the mechanism for which is currently unknown.
Any funding opportunities derived from these investments will be advertised on this page and Research Professional as soon as information becomes available.
Other useful information is available in Research Australia's Budget Analysis Summary.
Current Funding Opportunities
MRFF Frontier Health and Medical Research program
Background information to support new proposal development
Background: The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) is a substantial new source of funding provided by the Federal Department of Health. Its aim is to support the innovative world-class research that will improve human health. A range of new schemes have recently been announced as part of the 2018-2019 Federal budget.
One of the new schemes is the Frontier Health and Medical Research program. This program will provide over $240 million to researchers and their collaborators over five years to support innovative ’out-of-the-box’ ideas and discoveries. It aims to unlock groundbreaking research which provides new treatments and technologies to improve health and open new markets for industry growth.
Process: The Frontier Health and Medical Research program will operate under a two-stage process:
Stage 1 Involves an open competitive expression of interest Researchers must articulate their idea and its merit; demonstrate its novelty, competitiveness and transformative nature, and its potential for partnerships Successful stage 1 applicants will receive $1 million and have approximately 1 year to advance their idea and develop a business case to put forward for potential stage 2 investment Stage 2 Top applicants will be selected based on their potential to realise a new frontier in health and medical research and build a new industry ecosystem Successful Stage 2 applicants will receive up to 5 years of funding, ranging from $10 - $20 million per year
The Frontier Health and Medical Research program will be overseen by an expert international panel and be consistent with the Australian Medical Research Innovation strategy.
Seeking your input:
At this stage we are canvassing colleagues across MACH to express interest. This is NOT a selection process. The value and purpose of this round is:
- to help colleagues and groups to crystallise their ideas for the Frontiers program;
- identify the major themes, synergies or overlaps;
- to inform the MACH and institutional leadership of the kind of bids/support that may be required;
- start canvassing support and partners where relevant.
Projects and ideas received will be discussed by the MACH Research Platforms Committee.
Closed Funding Opportunities
2018 MRFF - Biomedical Translation Bridge
The BTB grant opportunity will provide up to $22.3 million over four years to support eligible organisations to fund and nurture eligible early stage health and medical research ventures to reach proof of concept stage.
Proposed projects are expected to put in place systems to enable service functions including:
- selecting, providing funding to, and managing a portfolio of ventures
- providing mentoring and networking capabilities to aid in the development of these ventures, including helping to establish development milestones that are commercially relevant
- soliciting and securing relevant and appropriate philanthropic donations and third-party sponsorship or co-investment and then provide this to the selected ventures to aid in their development
- selecting successful ventures, through an open and competitive selection process, with possible subsequent intake rounds or a continuous intake process
- establishing a suitably qualified selection panel, in consultation with the department and the Department of Health, that will be used to select ventures to be funded
- executing and managing contractual arrangements with the selected ventures (between $200,000 and $1 million with a maximum duration of three years) including terminating funding and support for ventures that fail to progress
Contact: Ken Choong, firstname.lastname@example.org, 9035 8763
NHMRC/MRFF Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need
The Australian Government has announced a total of up to $33 million from the MRFF for this grant opportunity. It is anticipated that up to twenty grants of up to five years duration will be considered with funding anticipated to commence in January 2019. This competitive grant opportunity will provide support for publicly funded clinical trials that address areas of health burden and unmet need, such as rare cancers and rare diseases. Applications to this grant opportunity must propose a clinical trial that addresses an ‘unmet medical need’ by improving the health outcomes for members of the Australian community living with serious health conditions whose diagnosis or treatment is not adequately addressed by existing options. The grant opportunity incorporates a call for applications to the Australian Brain Cancer Mission.
This scheme closed 15 August 2018. Outcomes are expected November-December 2018.
NHMRC Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need Program: Low Survival Cancers and Diseases (LSCD) Grant Opportunity
This competitive grant opportunity will provide support for publicly funded clinical trials that address low survival cancers and diseases. Applications to this grant opportunity must propose a single clinical trial that aims to improve survival rates for Australians with a low survival cancer or other disease.
The Australian Government has announced a total of up to $10 million from the MRFF for this grant opportunity. Grants of up to five years duration will be considered with funding anticipated to commence in July/August 2018. It it anticipated that up to seven grants will be funded.
This scheme closed on 18th April 2018. Outcomes are expected in August 2018.
BioMedTech Horizons Expressions of Interest – MTPConnect
Expressions of Interest (EOIs) are open for the Australian Government's $5 million BioMedTech Horizons program, an initiative to support innovative collaborative health technologies that address key health challenges. MTPConnect is delivering this grant program on behalf of the Australian Government as part of the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund.
MTPConnect welcomes ideas that are set to customise and revolutionise healthcare, stimulate inter-disciplinary collaboration between research, industry and technology sectors, and foster strong entrepreneurship potential.
Investments from the program will be focused on supporting cutting-edge ideas in precision medicine and 3D anatomical printing towards proof-of-concept and commercialisation. Innovative technologies in these areas can play a key role in significantly transforming the national healthcare system and promote Australia's international ranking as a leader in biotechnology and medical technology.
Approximately $3 million is reserved for supporting ideas in precision medicine and $2 million for ideas in the 3D anatomical printing area. Up to $1 million is offered in funding for individual projects over the next two years, to drive innovation and foster commercialisation. Cash and/or in-kind contributions from the applicant will be viewed favourably.
Stage 2 of this scheme closed on 15th January 2018.
Programs funded to date
The MRFF provides medical research funding via partner agencies that run peer review funding programs. It is not possible to apply directly to the MRFF for funding. For example, the MRFF has already partnered with the NHMRC, CanTeen and The Cure for MND Foundation. The University of Melbourne regularly monitor programs announced by the MRFF to provide support for applicants as call for applications emerge. Details of available support and internal submission procedures will be posted on Research Professional
Strategy and Priorities
MRFF National Consultation - SAVE THE DATE!
A national consultation process to inform the development of the next iteration of the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities 2018-2020 (MRFF Priorities) I about to commence. The MRFF is interested in hearing reflections on the first set of MRFF Priorities from people with an interest in ensuring the Priorities for 2018-2020 accurately reflect strategic research investment opportunities.
The consultation will commence with the release of a ‘Priorities Consultation Discussion Paper’ on 29 June 2018, followed by a series of public forums and targeted themed roundtables in July and August 2018.
The Melbourne Public forum will be held on 30 July, further information on venue and time will made available shortly through health.gov.au.
More information and contacts
For general enquiries and requests for coordinating information sessions, please contact:
- Manager (Health & Medical Grants), Major Initiatives, Contracts and Grants
- Frank Anastasopoulos
- +61 3 8344 8208
- +61 424 004 794