May 2020

Welcome to the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) monthly newsletter.
What's in this edition?

$66 million for coronavirus-related research

The MRFF is investing $66 million into finding a vaccine and treatments for COVID-19, as well as better preparing for future pandemics, find out more here.

Image: iStock

Biomedical Translation Bridge program support for innovative COVID-19 research

In partnership with the not-for-profit organisation MTPConnect, the MRFF has dedicated a new round of funding from its $22.3 million Biomedical Translation Bridge program to support COVID-19 related research projects.

This latest round will match funding of up to $1 million per project to help find new COVID-19-related medical devices, diagnostics, vaccines or therapeutic approaches. Projects must make an impact within 12 months to ensure research can be quickly translated into products and treatment options.

Expressions of interest opened on 18 May 2020 and closed on 1 June 2020. Details are available on the MTPConnect website.

Call for rapid research on the mental health impacts of COVID-19

The MRFF’s Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission will provide $3 million for research to help the mental health system better support Australians to manage their mental health and wellbeing, during and following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications for grants up to $1 million opened on 1 June 2020 and will close on 13 July 2020, with research projects expected to deliver results within 12 to 18 months.

This grant opportunity is now advertised on GrantConnect.


$67 million to help children and young adults with cancer to access personalised treatments

A joint investment of $54.8 million from the MRFF’s Emerging Priorities and Consumer-Driven Research initiative and $12.2 million the Minderoo Foundation, will support the expansion of the Zero Childhood Cancer National Precision Medicine Program from approximately 150 children per year to 1,000 children per year.

Read more at the Department of Health website.

$32 million for the next generation of clinician researchers

Funding from the MRFF Clinician Researchers initiative will invest almost $32 million under the Investigator Grants: MRFF Priority Round. The Department of Health will offer five-year grants to 30 researchers in two cohorts, the first in 2020 and the second in 2021.

This grant opportunity will leverage talent from the health and medical research workforce, and provide research-focused clinicians with dedicated time and resources to assist them in translating research into clinical practice and commercial potential.

You can view the complete list of successful applicants at the Department of Health website.


More than $16 million for ovarian cancer breakthrough projects

MRFF funding from the Emerging Priorities and Consumer-Driven Research initiative has been awarded to eight projects to beat ovarian cancer.

These projects will support research in several priority areas including an improved understanding of risk factors for ovarian cancer, methods to assist with early diagnosis and treatment, best practice models for clinical management, and repurposing drugs for treatment‑resistant ovarian cancer.

Find out more about the successful projects.

$10.3 million for suicide prevention research

$10.3 million under the Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission will support three projects to better understand suicide and provide the right services, in the right place, at the right time.

Details about these projects are at the Department of Health website.


Funding boost for genomics research into cancers and to combat children’s diseases

Over $33 million in grants has been awarded to Australian researchers to 17 project teams combatting high mortality and low survivability cancers and diseases, improving paediatric acute care using genomic medicine, and addressing the ethical, legal and social issues related to genomics in health care.

These are the first competitive grants announced under the $500 million Genomics Health Futures Mission

You can read more at the Department of Health website.                                              


$6.75 million to improve treatment using pharmacogenomics in mental health

Four researchers have been awarded $6.75 million in funding, to investigate the use of pharmacogenomics in providing more effective treatment options for Australians requiring medication for mental health challenges.

Pharmacogenomics looks at how genetics can affect a person’s response to certain drugs, and this funding, provided under the Emerging Priorities and Consumer Driven Research initiative, will support efforts to tailor mental health prescriptions to the needs of each individual and improve health outcomes for all Australians.

You can read more on these important projects on the Department of Health website.


$5 million for research into health impacts of bushfires on Australian communities

$5 million for research into the physiological impacts of prolonged bushfire smoke exposure, and the mental health impacts of bushfires on affected communities has been awarded under the Emerging Priorities and Consumer-Driven Research initiative.

This research will link researchers, institutions, policy makers and professional associations together to form a comprehensive snapshot of the health effects of the 2019-20 bushfires on Australians.

 You can find details on the nine grants awarded on the Department of Health website.

Funding boost for endometriosis research

The MRFF’s Emerging Priorities and Consumer-Driven Research initiative has invested over $9.5 million in five innovative endometriosis research projects.

Endometriosis is a highly individualised disease that affects one in every ten Australian women and girls. It often leads to severe chronic pain, and in some cases, compromised fertility and sexual function.

Details about these projects are on the Department of Health website.

Australian Medical Research Advisory Board communiqué

The Australian Medical Research Advisory Board, which advises the Australian Government on how best to spend money under the MRFF, met on 12 March 2020 in Melbourne.

The Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, and the Chairs of the Expert Advisory Panels that are guiding MRFF research missions attended the meeting.

The communique from this meeting is available on the Department of Health website.

Indigenous Health Research Fund Expert Advisory Panel communiqué

The Indigenous Health Research Fund Expert Advisory Panel is responsible for advising the Australian Government on the strategic priorities for research investment through the Indigenous Health Research Fund initiative.

You can read the communiqué from the Panel’s first meeting on 14-15 October 2019 on the Department of Health website.

Is COVID-19 impacting your grant?

Significant changes to our grant opportunities because of COVID-19 will be published on the Department of Health website.

You can also contact the Grant Hub administering the relevant MRFF Grant Opportunity or Grant Agreement (NHMRC: or BGH: or with any inquiries.

Grant opportunities 

MRFF grant opportunities opening soon.

Opportunities opening from 12 June

  • Coronavirus Research Response
    • Research into the human immune response to COVID-19 infection
Opportunities opening from 15 June
  • Coronavirus Research Response
    • Promising COVID-19 Vaccine Development Projects
Applications for four MRFF grant opportunities close in July.

Opportunities closing 13 July
  • Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission
    • 2020 COVID-19 Mental Health Research
Opportunities closing 14 July
  • Coronavirus Research Response
    • 2020 Rapid Response Digital Health Infrastructure
    • 2020 Communication Strategies and Approaches During Outbreaks
  • Frontier Health and Medical Research
    • Frontier Health and Medical Research Program - Stage Two

All MRFF grant opportunities are advertised on GrantConnect.

Register with GrantConnect to receive notifications when a new opportunity is open.

How to access previous editions of the MRFF newsletter

Previous editions of the MRFF newsletter are available here on the Department of Health website.


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