Rapid Applied Research Translation

Page last updated: 22 December 2017 (this page is generated automatically and reflects updates to other content within the website)

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The Australian Government will invest $10 million to support Advanced Health Research and Translation Centres (AHRTCs) and Centres for Innovation in Regional Health (CIRHs) to conduct rapid transformational research that delivers scalable solutions to health service problems and directly benefits patients.

Key Elements

  • Clinical pathways and care transition – collaboration across healthcare, enhanced data integration, strengthened health services integration and public and preventive research.
  • Clinical variation – drive data linkage and integration to reduce unwarranted variation in healthcare and outcomes.
  • Improving the health of vulnerable groups – better management of multiple chronic conditions, end of life care, and disadvantaged ethnic and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.


  • AHRTCs are part of an international trend that is bringing together healthcare, research and education leaders to problem find and solve.
  • Through collaboration, AHRTCs and CIRHs will bring together academia, service and industry players with the focus on the end-user – the patient.
  • The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) accredits AHRTCs. The first AHRTCs were established in 2015 and new AHRTCs and CIRHs will be announced shortly.
  • The Australian Medical Research Advisory Board that supports the MRFF has identified AHRTCs and CIRHs as primed and ready vehicles for strategic investment.

Desired Outcomes

  • Early evidence of health system research translation, with a focus on patient benefit, quality, safety and health system performance.
  • Unprecedented collaboration between research and healthcare services on health professional education.
  • Overt involvement of the health service workforce in research, such that it becomes routine.

Key Facts

  • Research translation is designed with a problem to solve and concludes with an action plan for changing clinical practice. It necessarily involves health system users and practitioners.
  • The Australian health and medical research sector is known for high quality and publication outputs. However, Australia performs poorly by international standards in relation to research translation in general – ranked 73rd, Global Innovation Index for innovation efficiency.
  • Collaboration is the key to research translation and impact – and AHRTCs and CIRHs provide a means to overcome barriers to innovation in healthcare.
  • AHRTCs and CIRHs are health service led collaborations involving universities, medical research institutes, hospitals, primary care networks and community services working on priority driven research agendas.
  • AHRTCs and CIRHs are NHMRC accredited and internationally recognised. The model is based on the formation and prominence of Academic Health Science Centres elsewhere in the US and UK.
  • The existing four AHRTCs have access to a significant concentration of Australia’s academic leaders and research teams. The forthcoming additional AHRTCs and new CIRHs will expand this reach.
  • Harnessing the capacity of AHRTCs and CIRHs will allow the progression of partner agreed merit-based work that draws on best placed talent and collaborators.


  • Existing AHRTCs: Alfred Health and Monash Health and Partners, Melbourne Academic Health Centre, the South Australian AHRTC and Sydney Health Partners.
  • $8 million will support agreed research projects that identify the key elements of the program across the four existing AHRTCs.
  • $2 million will support both existing and soon to be announced additional AHRTCs and CIRHs to participate in national system level initiatives.
  • The formation of an Alliance to enhance collaboration across all entities will be part of the program’s success.
  • With this formative funding AHRTCs and CIRHs will be well placed for future investment under the MRFF.

Medical Research Future Fund

The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) demonstrates the Government’s strong commitment to research and innovation. 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 MRFF will double direct Australian Government funding for health and medical research.

The MRFF is a dedicated vehicle for priority investment in health and medical research.

The MRFF, established under the Medical Research Future Fund Act 2015, provides grants of financial assistance to support health and medical research and innovation in improving the health and wellbeing of Australians. It operates as an endowment fund with the capital preserved in perpetuity. At maturity, the MRFF will reach $20 billion.

The first disbursements from the MRFF focus on translating research into real health benefits, breakthrough investments in new technologies and challenges, and enhancing Australia’s reputation for research excellence and leadership.

Over $65 million will be injected into a range of programs that cut across the research pipeline – fuelling new discoveries and the translation and commercialisation of great Australian ideas.

Advisory Board

The Australian Medical Research Advisory Board, established in accordance with the MRFF Act, is responsible for consulting on and developing a five-yearly Strategy that sets out the vision, aims and objectives for the MRFF and an accompanying two-yearly list of Priorities.

The Government must consider the Strategy and Priorities in making MRFF investment decisions.

Strategy 2016-2021

Vision: A health system fully informed by quality health and medical research.

Identifies key strategic investment platforms that set to position Australia to meet future healthcare challenges:

  • Strategic and international horizons
  • Data and infrastructure
  • Health services and systems research
  • Capacity and collaboration
  • Trials and translation
  • Commercialisation

Priorities 2016-2018

The first MRFF disbursements address identified Priorities under each strategic platform, are a mix of strategic investments, and use a range of administrative mechanisms to maximise impact. More disbursements will occur in 2017-18.

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