Further information on the Medical Research Future Fund

Page last updated: 20 December 2017

The Australian Government is supporting the sustainability of the health system and driving medical innovation through transforming how health and medical research is conducted in Australia.

As part of the 2014-15 Budget, the Australian Government announced the establishment of the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to provide a sustainable source of funding for vital medical research over the medium to longer term. Through the MRFF, the Government is delivering a major additional injection of funds into the health and medical research sector.

The MRFF offers the opportunity to strategically fund research and address national priorities in a cohesive and coordinated way. It complements existing medical research and innovation funding to improve health outcomes by distributing new funding in more diverse ways to support stronger partnerships between researchers, healthcare professionals, governments and the community. MRFF funding will complement the work of the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Commonwealth Science Council and the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, including the Biomedical Translation Fund.

All Australians stand to benefit from ongoing investments in health and medical research through the MRFF, either directly through improved health, or indirectly by supporting improved productivity and economic growth.

Contributions to the MRFF endowment have been sourced from savings within the Health portfolio that will accumulate until the capital target of $20 billion is reached. Disbursements over the first five years of the MRFF (from 2016-17) are projected to be $1.4 billion.

The MRFF is managed by the Future Fund Board of Guardians. The Treasurer and Minister for Finance set the investment mandate for the MRFF that provides broad direction to the Future Fund Board of Guardians in relation to its investment strategy. Net earnings on MRFF capital for a given financial year will be available for drawdown the following financial year, with the capital of the MRFF preserved in perpetuity.

The Medical Research Future Fund Act 2015 sets out the rules for the development of the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy and Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities by the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (Advisory Board). These inaugural documents were delivered to Government on 9 November 2016.

Initiatives to be funded by MRFF are the responsibility of the Australian Government. The Medical Research Future Fund Act 2015 requires that Government take into consideration the current Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy and Priorities in determining the initiatives to be funded by the MRFF. In December 2017, the Australian Government endorsed the MRFF Funding Principles developed by the Advisory Board, which will serve as a reference for MRFF program design and implementation.

In this section