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.
Following a comprehensive national consultation process involving community and sector participation, the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB), in conjunction with the federal government, have released the 2018-2020 priorities developed for future Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).
The priorities will guide and inform future government decisions on MRFF investments and initiatives, and build on the first set of priorities developed for 2016-2018.
MRFF strategies are complementary but distinct to those addressed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), and are intended to complement other investments by state and territory governments, as well as the private sector.
Earlier Strategy and Priorities documents can be view below:
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.
2019 Federal Budget Update
In the 2019 Federal Budget, the Government renewed its commitment to get the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) fully capitalised over the next two years and announced its $5.0 billion Ten-Year Investment Plan.
The ten-year funding total for each of the four initiatives is now as follows:
Patients - The Government will commit a further $931.0 million for a total of $1.3 billion, bringing the totals to:
- Emerging Priorities and Consumer Driven Research - $633M
- Clinical Trials for Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Needs -$614M
- Global Health – tackling Antimicrobial Resistance and Drug Resistant Tuberculosis - $28M
Researchers - The Government will commit a further $444.6 million for a total of $792.8 million bringing the total to:
- Frontier Health and Medical Research - $570M
- Industry Researcher Exchange and Training - $32M
- Clinical Researchers - $191M
Missions - The Government will commit a further $1.2 billion for a total of $1.4 billion, bringing the totals to:
- Australian Brain Cancer Mission - $49M
- Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission - $125M
- Genomics Health Futures Mission - $500M
- Ageing, Aged Care and Dementia Mission - $168M
- Indigenous Health Futures -$148M
- Stem Cell Mission - $150M
- Cardiovascular Mission - $200M
- Traumatic Brain Injury Mission - $45M
Translation - The Government will commit a further $1.2 billion for a total of $1.5 billion, bringing the totals to:
- Preventative and Public Health Research - $261M
- Primary Health Care Research - $45M
- Rapid Applied Research Translation Centre - $218M
- Medical Research Commercialisation - $311M
- National Critical Infrastructure - $605M
- Data Infrastructure, registries, biobanks, linkage platforms -$80M
For more information, please refer to the Department of Health webpage.
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
Congenital Heart Disease Grant Opportunity
Part of the Mission for Cardiovascular Health, this grant will support research to reduce the impact of congenital heart disease.
The objectives of the program are to:
- Provide new diagnoses and treatment options for those suffering from congenital heart disease.
- Conduct research and development activities into one or more of:
– Understanding the genetic basis of CHD
– Clinical and social observations
– Disease modelling
– Pre-clinical testing and clinical trials
(Other activities may be approved)
- Align with the National Strategic Action Plan for Childhood Heart Disease, and could target the Research Priorities in the Action Plan in particular:
– Preventing neurodevelopmental and mental health complications
– Understanding the impact of prenatal and postnatal factors affecting the health of children born with CHD and their families, or
– Exploring the role of exercise and increased activity in reducing the impact of CHD.
Genomics Health Futures Mission - Flagships - Pathogen Genomics
The Flagships will be funding large-scale pilot research studies that generate the evidence needed to implement genomics in the clinic in an efficient and cost effective manner and enable discontinuation of unnecessary or outdated practice. It is anticipated that flagships will build on a significant pre-existing body of evidence for an intervention, including robust safety and effectiveness indicators, in order to test the value, scalability and/or system preparedness of implementing the intervention in the clinical environment.
Pathogen Genomics is the application of genome sequencing technologies to the characterisation and analysis of pathogens, for the purpose of informing clinical and public health investigations of, and responses to, infectious disease. For the purposes of this grant opportunity, pathogens are defined as microorganisms that are significant to human health.
Frontier Health and Medical Research program
Frontier Health and Medical Research Program is a large-scale MRFF program offering researchers $50M-$100M over 5 years to tackle a significant unmet need with a clear, defined solution. This could be a specific and innovative new technology, device, service or therapeutic. It is a two-stage process:
- Stage 1 is competitive, with researchers selling their idea and its merit. Successful applicants will have approximately 1 year and $1 million to advance their idea, ready to put forward for potential stage 2 investment.
- Stage 2 will support the best applicants to realise a new frontier in health and medical research with up to 5 years of funding.
It is anticipated that Frontiers Stage 1 will run again at the end of 2019 and we are currently doing a call for project ideas.
We recently held a workshop to explain the process and the general feedback we got from the previous Stage 1 round. If you are a UoM academic, please find the slides and a recording of the session on our Staff Hub here.
International Clinical Trial Collaborations Program 2019.2
The ICTC Grant Program complements other Australian Government programs by providing a specific funding mechanism to increase Australian leadership of, and participation in, high quality international collaborative investigator-initiated clinical trials.
Programs funded to date
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 this site as well as on Research Professional.
BioMedTech Horizons 2.0 EOI
BMTH2.0 can provide up to $1 million of funding over a maximum two-year period to help eligible organisations progress medical technologies and devices through to Proof of Concept or beyond, the point where they are attractive to secure further venture capital or other funding. Note: Applications must come from an Australia based SME or startup company. A University or Research Organisation cannot be the lead applicant. However, we can be a partner on an application.
2019 Genomics Health Futures Mission - Projects Grant Opportunity
The Genomics Health Futures Mission (GHFM) aims to deliver better diagnostics and targeted treatments, avoid unnecessary health costs, and improve patient experience and outcomes. This will be achieved through partnership with state and territory governments, public and private entities in healthcare, and linkages with the National Health Genomics Policy Framework. A total of $156 million for the Projects Grant stream and $17.6 million for the Ethical, Legal and Social Issues Grant stream over nine years have been announced under the GHFM .
2019 Million Minds Mission
The Million Minds Mission grant opportunity aims to support multidisciplinary teams of researchers to undertake collaborative, patient-focussed research that is transformative, scalable and demonstrates the greatest impact on health outcomes and translation into policy and/or practice.
2019 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.
2019 Keeping Australians Out of Hospital
This grant opportunity under the MRFF Keeping Australians Out of Hospital program will support research into evidence-based, implementable and scalable preventive health solutions that can result in outcomes to prevent the development of, or promote better management of complex and chronic health conditions, improve quality of life for people with these conditions and keep them out of hospital.
2018 Prostate Cancer Research Alliance (PCRA) - Request for proposals
The Prostate Cancer Research Alliance (PCRA) is a three-year program jointly funded by the Australian Government and the Movember Foundation. The initiative aims to fund research projects that will accelerate the translation of prostate cancer research in the identified priority areas.
2019 Stem Cells Australia - Call for Disease Teams
Stem Cells Australia (SCA) invites Australian researchers to submit proposals for targeted disease teams to translate stem cell research towards a specific clinical need.
2019 Stroke Foundation - Return to life, Return to work clinical research grant
Supported by the Australian Government's Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), the Stroke Foundation is facilitating a targeted clinical research investment in recovery for working age survivors of chronic stroke through two dedicated research grants funded from 2019-2021.
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
2018 Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need
The Australian Government has announced a total of up to $33 million from the MRFF for the RCRDUN 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.
2018 Low Survival Cancers and Diseases
This competitive LSCD 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 available.
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.
More information and contacts
For general enquiries and requests for coordinating information sessions, please contact:
MRFF Project Officer
T: +61 3 83441471
M: +61 412 130295
Dr Bow Tauro
MRFF Senior Project Officer (Melbourne Medical School)
T: +61 3 9035 4724
M: +61 413 697 498
Applicant support and templates
Internal support and templates for UoM applicants (University of Melbourne login details required)