Several organisations contribute to the management of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).
- The Future Fund Board of Guardians manages the fund and reports regularly to the Finance Minister. The fund generates annual earnings which are used for medical research.
- The Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) sets the strategy and priorities for the fund and consults the public regularly before updating these. They advise the Minister for Health about MRFF matters.
- The Minister for Health takes the strategy and priorities into account and decides which research initiatives to fund.
- Several bodies administer MRFF grants and selection processes — GrantConnect, National Health and Medical Research Council, Business Grants Hub and Cancer Australia.
- Researchers carry out research, report regularly to grant administrators, and make new medical discoveries and innovations.
The Medical Research Future Fund Act 2015 sets out rules for the fund. The Act established the accounts the fund uses and details how the fund distributes money. The Act set up the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) and compels it to consult the public. The Act states that the Health website publishes the MRFF strategy and priorities.
The MRFF funding principles guide the allocation of MRFF research funding.
As with other grants, the funding process is consistent with the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines.
All disbursements must occur in accordance with the MRFF Act 2015.
The Minister (or delegate) must take into account the MRFF priorities when making grants.
The Medical Research Future Fund Declaration of Interest Policy Statement and Guidelines help members of MRFF advisory panels and committees to identify, disclose and manage relevant interests.
Committees and groups
Several committees and groups work with the MRFF.
Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB)
The independent Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) consults the public about the MRFF strategy and priorities. It then advises the Australian Government about how best to spend the money.
Expert advisory panels
Expert advisory panels guide our research missions:
- Ageing, Aged Care and Dementia Mission Expert Advisory Panel
- Australian Brain Cancer Mission Strategic Advisory Group
- Cardiovascular Health Mission Expert Advisory Panel
- Genomics Health Futures Mission Expert Advisory Committee
- Indigenous Health Research Fund Expert Advisory Panel
- Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission Expert Advisory Panel
- Stem Cell Therapies Mission Expert Advisory Panel
- Traumatic Brain Injury Mission Expert Advisory Panel
Future Fund Board of Guardians
The Future Fund Board of Guardians invests the MRFF money. In 2015 the Minister of Finance instructed the Guardians to:
- preserve the Fund's capital
- provide a stable income stream
- achieve a target return of 1.5 to 2 per cent above the cash rate, over rolling 10-year terms
- diversify the MRFF's investments
Every year, the Future Fund Board of Guardians decides what the maximum annual spending will be. This maximum limit preserves the capital in the fund into the future.
The Medical Research Future Fund Act 2015 requires the Minister for Health to report to Parliament about the MRFF every 2 years, as soon as possible after each set of MRFF priorities expires. The first report is now available.
We also report MRFF spending in Health’s Budget Papers.
The Minister for Health must consider the current MRFF priorities when choosing which projects to recommend for funding.
The Government then decides on funding processes, including the selection mechanism to identify which research projects to fund, taking into account the current MRFF: