Research Division

Medical Research Future Fund

The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) will provide grants of financial assistance to support health and medical research and innovation, with the objective of improving the health and wellbeing of Australians.

The Strategy Vision of the MRFF is ‘A health system fully informed by quality health and medical research’ and its Aim is ‘Through strategic investment, to transform health and medical research and innovation to improve lives, build the economy and contribute to health system sustainability.’ The objectives underlying this Aim emphasise the importance of creating health and economic benefits, embedding research evidence in healthcare, and driving collaboration and innovation across research and healthcare.

Six Strategic Platforms have been identified, which provide a framework for the Priorities identified under the MRFF for the first two years.

Further information can be found on the website for the Department of Health.

Further information will be added and communicated by the Office of Research Services as it becomes available.

Strategic Platforms and Priorities

  1. Strategic and international Horizons - This Platform seeks to position Australia as a leader and collaborator in several key areas of international significance. Priorities in this Platform are:
    • Antimicrobial Resistance, with a focus on developing point-of-care solutions.
    • International collaboration, with the MRFF to have a pool of funding available to rapidly support Australian participation in collaborative work in priority areas.
    • Funding to support the assessment of the impact of disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and wearables on health services delivery and training.
  2. Data and Infrastructure - This Platform seeks to make better use of existing data and infrastructure. Priorities are:
  • Start-up investment for clinical quality registries, and support for a national framework to improve interoperability.
  • Fund research with other agencies to identify how we can better utilise the MyHealth Record and linked health and social data for research.
  • Establish a consumer- driven health and research agenda to guide future MRFF priorities and develop the means to measure and report on the economic returns from the MRFF’s investments.
  • Enhance and co-ordinate research on the surveillance of and response to current and emerging infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance.
  • Health Services and Systems - Bolstering health services and systems research is identified by the Strategy as a particular need, and the Priorities are:
    • Work with the States and Territories to investigate the feasibility of a national institute focused on facilitating evidence based and cost-effective health care and public and preventive health.
    • Use the MBS Review to investigate and develop the evidence base for interventions that currently have limited supporting evidence.
    • Support research in behavioural economics in public and preventive health, with an emphasis on mental health, healthy eating and physical activity.
    • Invest in post-clinical effectiveness studies of drugs and other health interventions and pre-clinical work on the re-purposing of existing drugs.
  • Capacity and Collaboration - Skills development of researchers and healthcare professionals, and more collaboration across research disciplines and between sectors is identified as critical. The Priorities are:
    • A national scheme to assist researchers to identify and access existing high cost infrastructure.
    • Industry Exchange Fellowships (PhD and postdoctoral) to stimulate entrepreneurialism and translation capabilities.
    • Expand the scope and scale of existing the existing NHMRC Practitioner Fellowships Scheme.
  • Trials and Translation - Particular attention has given by the Strategy to the role of clinical trials. Priorities under this Platform are:
    • Provide infrastructure support for new and existing national clinical trial networks
    • Extendclinical trials of proven therapies with limited commercial potential to at-risk groups.
    • Work with the NHMRC-accredited Advance Health Research and Translation Centres to support the translation of research in key areas including clinical variation, co-morbidity and health inequity.
  • Commercialisation - Overcoming barriers to research commercialisation will initially be addressed by:
    • Creating incubator hubs for diagnostics, devices and molecular therapeutics.
    • The Biomedical Translation Fund to invest in early translation of commercially valuable research.

    Clinical Trials and Registry Capacity

    As part of the first disbursements under the MRFF, the Australian Government will invest $13 million to stimulate clinical trial and registry activity via competitive grant programs. Program guidelines are currently being developed and a call for proposals should occur by early 2018.

    Key Dates

    Applications open in RGMS 24 August 2017
    UTAS internal deadline 6 September 2017 *
    Minimum data due in RGMS 20 September 2017
    Application due to NHMRC 4 October 2017

    *Please let the NHMRC Scheme Leader, Jo McEvoy know as soon as possible if you intend submitting to this scheme. Internal date can be negotiated.