Search
Close this search box.

Medical Research Future Fund

Share

While Australia has a long history of medical research discoveries, until recently it has struggled to turn that research into tangible, world-class benefits to society.

What is the Medical Research Future Fund?

The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) is the Federal Government’s answer to this problem. This is a $20 billion fund that gives Australian researchers and medical sector innovators the scope to look at the big picture and develop solutions to Australia’s priority health issues of cardiovascular disease, cancer, injury prevention, mental illness, diabetes, asthma and dementia.

The MRFF, established under the Medical Research Future Fund Act 2015 (MRFF Act), provides grants of financial assistance to support health and medical research and innovation to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians. It operates as an endowment fund with the capital preserved in perpetuity. The MRFF reached maturity at $20 billion in July 2020. The MRFF provides a long-term sustainable source of funding for endeavours that aim to improve health outcomes, quality of life and health system sustainability.

The guaranteed funding provided by the MRFF gives medical sector researchers the certainty they need to form long-lasting, effective partnerships and invest in the solutions to help future generations
of Australians.

MRFF important details that you will need to know

The MRFF is a major set of research funding initiatives that provides medical sector researchers with funding to translate research discoveries into products and services that meet the biggest clinical demands.

Each year, net interest from the $20 billion investment fund is used to provide a variety of medical research grants. At any one time, there may be 10 or more grant opportunities open across many different areas of research.

For many researchers, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tackle challenges that usually seem so large as to be over-ambitious or unachievable. But with funding from the MRFF, interstate partnerships between universities, research organisations and corporations allow for a broad base of resources with the power to make great leaps.

MRFF grant funds also help to build a future-proofed medical research industry, one where researchers have the necessary understanding of commercialisation to develop innovative products that meet society’s most pressing medical needs.

These products will not only help Australia’s live more comfortable lives but also to compete on the world stage and keep the economic benefits of research discoveries on Australian shores, where once they may have been lost to other nations with better-established research commercialisation structures.

This fund is part of a medium to long-term plan, based on strategic advice provided by the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB).

The Department of Health states that the MRFF:

  • allows Australians to benefit from life-changing medical discoveries
  • funds research according to national priorities, filling gaps in areas of unmet need that require more research
  • helps our medical researchers and innovators develop their ideas within Australia
  • develops Australia’s growing Genomics and BioMedTech industry sectors, creating future jobs and exports
  • builds stronger relationships between researchers, healthcare professionals, governments and the community
  • invests in all research stages — from research ideas, through laboratory research and clinical trials, to the product commercialisation

 

The MRFF also played a significant role in the Australian Government’s pandemic response, with more than $77 million in grants awarded to fund critical research projects into COVID-19 during the initial phase of the pandemic.

Since the MRFF’s inception in 2015, more than 30 grant streams have been offered, covering a broad array of activities from clinical trials of new solutions and medications to long-awaited research into rare diseases such as childhood cancers, and others.

A broad variety of research initiatives will fall under the MRFF over the course of its lifespan, from mental illness in young and indigenous people, to rare cancer treatments, stem cell therapy, genomics, and many more areas of medical research.

Some of the areas of medical research funded to date include:

  • Brain cancer
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Improving access to clinical trials
  • Clinician researcher fellowships
  • Dementia, ageing, and aged care
  • Consumer-driven research
  • Medical frontier breakthroughs
  • Genomics
  • Global health threats
  • Indigenous health
  • Medical research commercialisation
  • Mental health
  • Critical research infrastructure
  • Preventive and public health
  • Primary health care research
  • Rapid applied research translation
  • Research data infrastructure
  • Researcher exchange and development
  • Stem cell therapy
  • Traumatic brain injury

 

There are four key research themes:

  • Patients

 

The MRFF benefits patients and the general public by funding innovative treatments and supporting clinical trials. It will deliver more advanced health care and medical technology that will improve the health of Australians.

  • Researchers

 

The MRFF supports Australian health and medical sector researchers to make breakthrough discoveries, develop their skills and progress their careers in Australia.

  • Research missions

 

Missions allow researchers to think big. They are ambitious programs of work that are only possible through major funding, leadership and collaboration. The MRFF is funding 8 research missions across a range of topics.

  • Research translation

 

Research findings translate into better health for Australians. It takes focused effort to turn research findings into better clinical care and health outcomes for Australians. The MRFF’s translation initiatives make new medical discoveries part of the daily clinical practice of GPs, other specialists and hospitals.

The MRFF is also about providing the conditions for a healthy population via research into disease prevention via modern techniques like genomics, and a productive population through the creation of job opportunities and commercialisation of innovative globalised products.

Funding Strategy

The MRFF Strategy and Priorities guide the decisions on which research projects to fund.

The MRFF 10-year Investment Plan drives funding allocation priorities and outlines the Australian Government’s plans for the use of MRFF funding from 2022-23 to 2031-32

The Government then designs and advertises funding opportunities on GrantConnect and research institutions and eligible entities apply.

Successful applicants receive funds and carry out their project work, providing regular reporting against milestones.

Funding Allocation

The MRFF funds are allocated to the following types of grants:

  • Competitive
  • Competitive pre-qualified
  • Clinical Leadership
  • National Expansion / co‑contribution
  • Patient led

 

Each of which is described in the following table.

 

Category Description
Competitive Funding allocated through an openly advertised MRFF opportunity and through which applicants are independently assessed against published assessment criteria.
Competitive pre‑qualified Funding allocated to a specific organisation following their selection in an open competitive application process outside the MRFF.  Examples include Advanced Health Research and Translation Centres (assessed by NHMRC), ARC Special Research Initiative, or Industry Growth Centre (assessed by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science).
Targeted Funding is awarded to a specific applicant following assessment of their application against predefined criteria.
Clinical leadership Funding allocated to an organisation that is nationally recognised for its role in clinical leadership and/or quality standards, including through health and medical research, in Australia.
National Expansion / co‑contribution Funding allocated to a project operating at a local or state level, where expansion would provide equity of access or that leverages non-MRFF funds to expand the research activity.
Patient led Funding allocated to an organisation driving a patient-led agenda for health and medical research and health service delivery (e.g., through a foundation).

Up to 2021, the Australian Government contributed savings from the health budget to reach the MRFF’s goal figure of a $20 billion pool of funding.

This money is invested with a target return on investment of 1.5–2 percent above the cash rate.

The fund generates interest and this is what underpins various grant funding programs out of the fund for research and medical innovation purposes each year.

Research funding projections for 2021–23 are as follows:

  • 2021–22: $646 million
  • 2022–23: $650 million

 

MRFF Grant Recipients

The Department of Health and Aged Care has a regularly updated page where you can see a full list of MRFF grants past and present. See link below in learn more about the MRFF program to access.

MRFF Grants Awarded

The table below highlights the key facts and figures outlining the financial scope of the MRFF and its initiatives as of 21 January 2022.

  • Total projects funded: 722
  • Total funds allocated: $1,948,600,000

 

The table below includes all MRFF grants awarded and announced since the program’s inception in 2015 and the total value of the grant agreement across all financial years.

 

Type of grant Grants Value ($m)
Competitive 634 1,446.7
Competitive pre-qualified 34 144.9
Percentage – Competitive 93% 82%
Targeted: Clinical leadership 10 59.3
Targeted: National expansion / co-contribution 17 151.0
Targeted: Patient led 27 146.8
Percentage – Targeted 7% 18%
Total MRFF Grants 722 1,948.6

MRFF resources

The Australian Government’s grants hub – GrantConnect lists current MRFF grants.

Need help applying for grants?

Our Insights showcase some of the grant-winning methods we employ at GrantHelper, and they will help you create a stronger grant application. But no matter how well prepared you are, winning grants takes time—something we know many business owners and directors just don’t have. And that’s why we’re here to help.

GrantHelper can assist with your organisation’s next grant application, no matter what stage of the funding journey you’re at.

Our in-depth eBook is the single most valuable resource you will find that helps organisations to truly understand how to win government grants.

A person holding a tablet device displaying the GrantHelper Guide to Winning Grants eBook on its screen.

Download our eBook to discover grant-winning secrets

Our free eBook features 10 chapters of expert advice, professional tips and more to help you do better with grants, whether you’re new to the process or you’ve applied before.

Get your copy of the Guide to Winning Grants now.

Is your business eligible for this government grant? Or perhaps you’re not sure and want to know more?

GrantHelper offers a range of government grant services, helping businesses of all sizes to discover, apply for, and win the best grant opportunities. We can help you with anything from finding the right grants, to writing your application, formulating an ongoing grant strategy, and more.

Get started now by filling in the form below, or tap the ‘Book a Discovery Call’ button to schedule a no-obligation virtual meeting with an experienced government grants consultant.

Prefer to talk? Call 0409 478 850 now for a no-obligation discussion. We’re here to help your business better understand grants, submit your best possible application, and get you in the winners’ circle.

Check out some of the clients we’ve helped and what they had to say

Share

Are You Ready to Unlock Your Business Potential with Grant Funding?

Take the first step to uncover grant opportunities, get help with an application, or simply receive some initial guidance — it only takes 3 minutes.

Steve-headshot-cutout

Also of interest

A photo of a curious lady

How to Find Grants

A grant can significantly aid business growth but finding suitable ones is challenging. Discover search strategies to ease the process.

N
Man wearing glasses smiling while looking at laptop

Are You Grant Ready

Grant Readiness is primarily about your organisation’s relevant capabilities and how convincingly you can demonstrate them within a business case.

N
Curly haired lady smiling with her team in the background

What is a Grant?

Discover everything you need to know about the different types of government grants and how they work.

N

Stay up to date

Receive our regular updates on the latest Insights and Grants News

×

Table of Contents

A profile picture of Steve Dowling

What's on my mind

Hi, I’m Steve Dowling – founder of GrantHelper. I’m a former champion of marketing and export business development turned business builder.

I do a lot of thinking and reading around grants, strategy, and funding. I send a monthly newsletter with what’s on my mind on this stuff.

Grant-Helper_Logo-white-RGB

Thank you. You have successfully subscribed to our mailing list. Please check your inbox shortly for a confirmation email.