What do we know about the Medical Research Future Fund?

What do we know about the Medical Research Future Fund?

29th August, 2017

Last updated: 8 March, 2019

This page provides an overview of what we know about the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).


See our summary page for current MRFF grant opportunities and their closing dates. 


To apply for MRFF funding and receive email alerts about open MRFF funding rounds, register with GrantConnect.

Find out what initiatives have been funded and how much MRFF funding has been allocated to each on our summary page.


The MRFF will double the health and medical research budget in Australia.

The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) is a major new source of Federal Government funding for medical research. The MRFF is a sovereign fund that was set up in 2015 set to reach $20 billion by 2020-21. The MRFF is now at $9.5 billion (as 10 July, 2018) and will fund medical research and its translation from the dividends.


After the MRFF reaches the full $20 billion, it will be providing approximately $1 billion per year in medical research funding. Combined with the existing annual investment in health and medical research through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the MRFF will effectively double the Australian Government’s investment in health and medical research.




MRFF funding for medical research will increase over the next five years.

Funding for health and medical research will rapidly increase as the MRFF continues to grow over the next few years with investment from the Federal Government.



Actual figures are indicated in red boxes.  All other figures are projected (Source: Department of Finance (2018) Portfolio Budget Statements).




$1.7B in MRFF funding for medical research has been announced, where more than 90% of funds will awarded to researchers through open and competitive schemes.

The MRFF will fund initiatives under four key streams – patients, researchers, missions and translation.

Visit our summary page to find out what MRFF funds are available over the next 5 to 6 years and what funding has been allocated to each of the MRFF initiatives announced so far.


For more information about each of these streams, please see the MRFF website.


MRFF funding has been announced for a variety of initiatives supporting key areas such as clinical trials, clinician researchers and large scale missions to tackle ambitious health challenges.

Six large scale missions have been announced since October 2017:

  1. $100M Australian Brain Cancer Mission (announced 29/10/17)
  2. $500M Genomics Health Futures Mission (announced in 2018 Federal Budget)
  3. $125M Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission (announced in 2018 Federal Budget)
  4. $185M Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Research Mission (announced 18/12/18)
  5. $220M Mission for Cardiovascular Health (announced 25/2/19)
  6. $50M Traumatic Brain Injury Mission (announced 10/3/19)

The $160M Indigenous Health Research Fund (Indigenous Health Futures), a mission-scale initiative for indigenous health, has also been announced.

The strategic advisory group for the Australian Brain Cancer Mission, the expert advisory committee for the Australian Genomics Health Futures Mission and the advisory panel for the Million Minds Mental Health Mission have been appointed. Details of how the missions will be awarding funding to researchers may vary depending on the mission.

Details of  MRFF initiatives that have been announced are available on the MRFF website.


In line with the MRFF Funding Principles, the majority of the MRFF funding will be open and contestable. Over 90% of the MRFF funding for medical research will be accessible to our best and brightest medical researchers through open and contestable processes.


Source: Department of Health MRFF Post-budget briefing, 8 May, 2018.




The MRFF Strategy is to fund research and its translation that will lead to direct health and economic outcomes.

Both the five year strategy (2016-2021) and the first set of two year priorities (2016-2018) for MRFF funding were released in November 2016 by the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB). In these two documents AMRAB put forward recommendations about where the MRFF could invest to deliver the best healthcare benefits through translation of health and medical research. The second set of two year priorities (2018-2020) were released on 8 November 2018.

The MRFF initiatives announced to date address the current Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy (2016-2021) and two sets of Priorities (2016-2018 and 2018-2020).


For information about what funding has been announced, see our summary page.

For more information about how to apply for MRFF funding through GrantConnect, see the MRFF website.



MRFF funding decisions are guided by sixteen principles.

The aim of the MRFF is transform health and medical research and innovation to improve lives, build the economy and contribute to health system sustainability. On 6th December, 2017, the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) released sixteen principles that will underpin MRFF funding decisions going forward. Read the AAMRI/Group of Eight joint statement supporting the funding principles here.

The full list of sixteen principles fact sheet is available here: Medical Research Future Fund – Funding Principles Fact Sheet, Department of Health.