The Academy is delighted to see the publication of the second set of Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Priorities, which will determine how the fund is spent over the next two years. The MRFF is a $20 billion vehicle that aims to transform health and medical research and innovation in Australia.

The Academy’s President Elect, Professor Ingrid Scheffer, welcomed the announcement, saying: ‘The MRFF presents a huge opportunity for Australia to grow its health and medical research and innovation so that we can remain competitive on the world stage. The priorities that have been announced set out a clear path for the next two years, which will see funding channelled through grants, fellowships, clinical trials and other mechanisms across a range of fields. They address some of the most pressing health challenges facing Australia today, meaning this investment will ultimately help to improve the health of individuals across Australia, as well as delivering wider economic benefits.’

The MRFF was established under the Medical Research Future Fund Act 2015. It is anticipated that the fund will reach full maturity by 2021, by which point it will provide up to $1 billion for research and innovation each year. The aim of the MRFF is to deliver strategic investments that transform health and medical research and innovation to improve lives, build the economy and contribute to health system sustainability.

It is governed by the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB), which develops a five-yearly Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy and a two-yearly set of Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities. The government must take the Strategy and the Priorities into consideration when making decisions about how MRFF funding is invested.

The first set of priorities covered the period 2016-2018. The 2018-2020 priorities now published will determine how funding is awarded over the next two years, and they are organised under the six existing strategic platforms, as follows:

Strategic and International Horizons

  • One health – antimicrobial resistance
  • Global health and health security
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
  • Ageing and aged care

Data and Infrastructure

  • Digital health intelligence

Health Services and Systems

  • Comparative effectiveness research
  • Primary care research

Capacity and Collaboration

  • Clinical researcher capacity
  • Consumer-driven research

Trials and Translation

  • Drug repurposing
  • Public health interventions

Commercialisation:

  • Translational research infrastructure

The Academy has been supporting the Department to develop a methodology for priority-setting under the MRFF and we welcome the publication of these latest priorities. The full Priorities document is available here.

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