What is the Indigenous Health Research Fund?

The Indigenous Health Research Fund (IHRF) is investing in Indigenous-led research to tackle health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It will provide $160 million from 2018–19 to 2028–29.

Why is the Indigenous Health Research Fund important?

In 2016, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up about 3.3% of the total Australian population (around 798,400 people). Improving health and social equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is one of Australia’s most significant challenges. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people currently have a 10-year-lower life expectancy and 2.3 times the burden of disease compared to non-Indigenous Australians. This fund focuses research funding on issues that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  

What are the goals of the Indigenous Health Research Fund?

The goals are to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through:

  • Indigenous-led research practice and governance
  • knowledge translation
  • evidence-based structural change in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practice

How will we meet these goals?

The early funding priority area is research into a vaccine to prevent rheumatic heart disease, which started in 2018–19.

The IHRF includes a commitment of $35 million over 3 years from 2018–19 to 2020–21 to support the development of a vaccine to eliminate rheumatic heart disease in Australia. This funding has been provided to the University of Western Australia. The remaining $125 million of the IHRF will be distributed through competitive processes.

See the initiative snapshot for details of how we plan to meet these goals.

MRFF snapshot – Indigenous Health Research Fund

This snapshot shows this initiative at a glance. It includes budgets, early funding priorities and grant timelines, as at November 2019. Researchers and other stakeholders can use it to plan for upcoming opportunities and see how the initiative will be established, expanded and embedded over time.

Who works with us on the Indigenous Health Research Fund?

The Indigenous Health Research Fund Expert Advisory Panel provides advice to the Minister for Health and Aged Care on the strategic priorities for research investment through the Fund by developing a Roadmap and Implementation Plan. Public consultation on the Roadmap and Implementation Plan was undertaken between 14 December 2020 and 23 April 2021. Submissions through the consultation will be used to inform any further development of the Roadmap and Implementation Plan by the Expert Advisory Panel.

The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) funds the initiative.

Our Health and Medical Research Office oversees this and other MRFF initiatives.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) administers this initiative. 

Apply for funding

We will list grants on GrantConnect when they open. If you want GrantConnect to notify you about future MRFF grants:

  • register with them
  • enter ‘MRFF’ in the keyword section of your GrantConnect profile


Upcoming grants

Currently, there are no upcoming grant opportunities. 

Open grant rounds

Currently, there are no open grant opportunities.

Grants being assessed

We are currently assessing applications received under the 2020 Indigenous Health Research opportunity.  

Grants awarded

We have awarded or announced the following grants under this initiative, as at 25 March 2021.

Funded Institution Project Name Chief Investigator/s Total Funding

University of Western Australia

Accelerating Development of a Group A Streptococcal Vaccine

Not applicable


Flinders University

Aboriginal Community-Led Diabetic Retinopathy Prevention: An Innovative Model of Eye Care for Understanding Risk and Early Detection

Professor Jamie Craig


Macquarie University

Improving care pathways for Otitis Media in Aboriginal children (0-12): A case study approach

Professor Catherine McMahon


Menzies School of Health Research

What Matters to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adolescents’ Wellbeing: Developing a wellbeing measure for adolescents (WM2A Project)

Professor Gail Garvey


Monash University

Reducing the burden of chronic kidney disease in the indigenous population - the PROPHECY CKD study

Professor Mark Cooper


South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute Limited

Ngalaiya Boorai Gabara Budbut - supporting the heads and hearts of children: Responsive mental health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescents

Professor Ngiare Brown


University of Sydney

ACCESS: Aboriginal Community Controlled Ear health Support System: developing, embedding and evaluating best practice models of care

Associate Professor Hasantha Gunasekera


University of New South Wales

Enabling Dads and Improving Indigenous Adolescent Mental Health

Associate Professor Susan Rees


The University of Queensland

IMHIP-Youth: A multi-disciplinary collaboration to embed and evaluate a model of social and emotional wellbeing care for Indigenous adolescents who experience detention

Associate Professor Edward Heffernan


The University of Queensland

Co-designed sleep health program to achieve better sleep and improved mental health symptoms in Indigenous adolescents

Doctor Yaqoot Fatima




Related information

Communiqué for the first meeting of the Indigenous Health Research Fund Expert Advisory Panel, 14–15 October 2019

See a list of all MRFF grant recipients.


For more information, contact us.

Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) contact

Contact for more information about the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), or to provide feedback on the MRFF website.

General enquiries:
MRFF [at] health.gov.au
MRFF website or newsletter feedback:
HMRO [at] health.gov.au

View contact

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funds high quality health and medical research to build research capability, support researchers, encourage the translation of research into better health outcomes and promote the highest ethical standards for health and medical research.

help [at] nhmrc.gov.au

View contact

Last updated: 
28 April 2021