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.
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
Prostate Cancer Research Alliance - Request for Proposal
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.
International Clinical Trial Collaborations Program
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.
2019 Stroke Foundation - Return to life, return to work Clinical Research Grants
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.
Million Minds Mission Grant Opportunity
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.
Keeping Australians Out of Hospital Grant Opportunity
This program will support preventive health, behavioural economics and implementation science research to:
- reduce avoidable hospitalisations
- improve the prevention and management of chronic and complex health conditions
Targeted Health System Research Grant Opportunity
This program will:
- focus on the comparative effectiveness of health services
- address areas of practice with low or insubstantial evidence
- provide opportunities for exploring consumer-driven research
MRFF 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.
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
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. More information here
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
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 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.
NHMRC Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need Program: Low Survival Cancers and Diseases (LSCD) Grant Opportunity
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:
- Manager (Health & Medical Grants), Major Initiatives, Contracts and Grants
- Frank Anastasopoulos
- +61 3 8344 8208
- +61 424 004 794