Role

AMRAB’s key role is to determine and publish the:

AMRAB does this through a public consultation process.

In this video, Professor Ian Frazer AC (Chair of the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board) talks about the role of AMRAB and the Medical Research Future Fund.

Ian Frazer interview thumbnail
2:57
Read transcript

[Music plays and images move through to show glass panels on the outside of a building, Professor Ian Frazer in an office talking to the camera, and then glass panels on the outside of the building]

Professor Ian Frazer: The healthy population is a happy and productive population and to keep people healthy you need medical research.

[Music plays and image changes to show a view of the glass panelled building from the street]

[Images move through to show Ian talking to the camera, a group of people sitting watching a presentation, and then Ian having a conversation with the presenter and text appears: Professor Ian Frazer AC, Chair, Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB)]

I’m Professor Ian Frazer. My job as chair of the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board, AMRAB is to give advice to government about what the strategy for health and medical research should be and what the priorities should be at any given time.

[Image shows Ian in conversation with the group then image changes to show Ian talking to the camera and the camera zooms out on Ian talking]

The great advantage of having a Medical Research Future Fund with guaranteed funding is that we can look at the big problems in health and try and build new capacity to solve those problems.

[Image changes to show a male pointing at a presentation and then the camera zooms out to show him talking, and then the image changes to show  a female in the group talking]

We were charged with consulting widely to find out what the priorities should be in medical research.

[The camera pans over group, and then the image changes to show Ian talking to the camera]

That means consulting with the experts, of course, but also with the community and with governments and we also set up a website so people could put in their suggestions on the web.

[Camera zooms out on Ian talking to the camera]

Basically we did the best we could to consult with absolutely anybody that wanted to talk with us.

[Music plays and image changes to show Ian and a female scientist walking through a busy laboratory and then image changes to show Ian talking to the camera]

Australia values its health and there are many health challenges that face Australia — cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, dementia — and what will really make a difference is if through research we can prevent these diseases.

[Image changes to show Ian and a female scientist in conversation while looking at a manual in a laboratory and then the image changes to show Ian talking to the camera]

And so, there are many parts of the Medical Research Future Fund that are directed in that area but the one that stands out is genomics.

[Music plays and image moves through to show Ian and a female scientist walking through a busy laboratory, and then the image changes to show an indoor garden café]

Genomics is the future of medicine.

[Image changes to show Ian talking to the camera]

At one end of the spectrum we can diagnose young kids with serious genetic diseases quickly.

[Images move through to show Ian and a male scientist working together in a laboratory and looking into a microscope]

In between, we can use genomics to understand how bacteria spread particular diseases.

[Image changes to show Ian talking to the camera, and then the image changes to show a microscope, and then the camera zooms out to show Ian looking into the microscope]

And at the other end of the spectrum we can map out the people who are likely to end up with chronic disease such as  Type 2 Diabetes and therefore we can predict how best to prevent them getting that disease.

[Music plays and the image shows Ian and a male scientist in conversation in a laboratory]

[Images move through to show Ian talking to the camera, Ian and a male scientist working together in a laboratory, and then Ian talking to the camera]

Eventually genomics will probably be the road map for health that everybody carries around with them.

[Image changes to show blue liquid being drawn up into a syringe and then being put into test tubes]

Medical research also creates job opportunities.

[Image changes to show Ian talking to the camera]

It creates potential wealth for the country.

[Image changes to show blue liquid being drawn up into a syringe and then the camera zooms out to show Ian and a male scientist working together in a laboratory]

Innovative research leads to innovative products and innovative products can be sold on a global basis.

[Images move through to show Ian sitting in a café working at a laptop]

We are a small country in a very big world.

[Image changes to show Ian talking to the camera and then the image changes to show Ian smiling at the camera]

We contribute well above our weight in medical research but we recognise that we really need to be doing internationally competitive research and all of the Medical Research Future Fund is focused on this idea of doing world-best research in Australia.

[Music plays and the Coat of Arms and text appears: Australian Government, Department of Health, Medical Research Future Fund]

Terms of reference

AMRAB reports to us. Read the AMRAB terms of reference.

Members

The Australian Government appoints the members of AMRAB, which include:

  • the CEO of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
  • experts from the health and medical research sector
  • highly regarded representatives of the wider Australian community.

The government chooses the members of AMRAB carefully to ensure the board has the right skills and experience to guide MRFF spending.

Australia has a strong track record in medical research and discoveries. AMRAB members have all contributed to research outcomes and will continue to advance Australia's research potential. 

Two international advisors also participate in AMRAB meetings to provide expert advice about relevant international activities as required

AMRAB members

Member

Background and experience

Declarations of interest

Professor Ian Frazer AC

(Chair)

Professor Frazer is a scientist and Professor of Medicine at the University of Queensland. He is the previous Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director of Research of the Translational Research Institute. He is now Chair of the Translation Research Institute Foundation Board and a member of the Council of National Health and Medical Research Council.

'To improve health care preventing disease and translating new research into practice in the health system is important.'

Board member/Director of Microba Pty Ltd, Jingang Medicine (Australia) Pty Ltd, Implicit Bioscience Limited, Immuno Services Pty Ltd.

Shareholder of health sector companies.

Professor Caroline Homer AO

(Deputy Chair)

Professor Homer is the Co-Program Director of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health at the Burnet Institute and Emeritus Professor of Midwifery at the University of Technology Sydney. She was the Chair and National President of the Australian College of Midwives from 2014 to 2018. She is now Chair of the Council of National Health and Medical Research Council.

'Australia needs strong, capable and resilient health systems at all levels from big hospitals to small health centres in remote communities.'

Director and President of Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand.

Professor Tom Calma AO

Professor Calma is the Chancellor of the University of Canberra and Professor of Practice (Indigenous Engagement) at the University of Sydney.

'The MRFF can help Close the Gap in Indigenous health inequality by funding co-designed and implemented research with Indigenous communities.'

Director of ALMAC Pty Ltd, Ninti One Ltd, Ninti Pty Ltd, Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation, Living First Language Platform Co., Reconciliation Australia.

Advisory Board member to the Poche Indigenous Health Centres.

Contractor to the Commonwealth Department of Health.

NHMRC and MRFF grant funding recipient.

Professor Denise Doolan

Professor Doolan is the Deputy-Director at the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Director of the James Cook University Centre for Molecular Therapeutics.

'The MRFF covers the whole pipeline from the researcher’s benchtop to the doctor at the bedside. This means we can translate medical discoveries into practical benefits.'

Nil

Mr Yasser El-Ansary

Mr El-Ansary is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of FINSIA (the Financial Services Institute of Australasia), which is the peak professional body for the financial services and investment industry in Australia and New Zealand. He was the Chief Executive of the Australian Investment Council from November 2013 to April 2022.

'The MRFF is an innovative, ground-breaking Federal Government commitment to change how we invest in health and medical research.'

Nil

Professor Douglas Hilton AO

Professor Hilton is Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Head of the Department of Medical Biology at The University of Melbourne and former president of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institute.

'Over the next 5 years I look forward to seeing the MRFF demonstrate its value to researchers and the community.'

Head of The Brain Cancer Centre.

Shareholder of a health sector company.

Professor Anne Kelso AO (Ex-Officio Member)

Professor Kelso is the CEO of the National Health and Medical Research Council.

'The MRFF is the Government’s opportunity to invest to solve the health and medical problems of Australia today.'

Shareholder of health sector companies.

Ms Imelda Lynch

Ms Lynch was recently the Chief Executive of the South Australian and Northern Territory National Heart Foundation of Australia. She was the founding Chief Executive Officer of Bellberry Limited and is currently Director of several health related companies.

'The MRFF supports research into some of Australia's greatest areas of need and improves knowledge to address the burden of disease. That has a positive effect on our economy.'

Director of Bellberry Limited, Macular Disease Foundation Australia and ACH Group.

International advisors

Advisor Background and experience

Professor Shitij Kapur   

Professor Kapur is a clinician-scientist with expertise in psychiatry, neuroscience and brain imaging. He is the President and Principal of King’s College in London in the United Kingdom.

Professor Anna Ranta   

Professor Ranta is the Clinical Co-Director of the National Stroke Clot Retrieval Service Improvement Programme of the New Zealand Ministry of Health. She is also a Professor of Neurology and Head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Otago.

To find out more about the Board, see Diversity and Aims of AMRAB 2021-2026.

Meetings

AMRAB usually meets in February, July and October.

Communiques

Australian Medical Research Advisory Board – Communiques

Communiques from the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB).

Contact

Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) contact

The Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) advises the Health Minister on prioritising spending from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

MRFF [at] health.gov.au

View contact

Last updated: 
27 May 2022