Research missions

MRFF missions are large programs of work that bring together key researchers, health professionals, stakeholders, industry partners and patients to tackle big health challenges.

Missions in medical research

A mission allows researchers to think big.

Missions are programs of work with ambitious objectives that are only possible through significant investment, leadership and collaboration.

Missions tackle significant health challenges by bringing together key players:

  • researchers
  • health professionals
  • stakeholders
  • industry partners
  • patients

This joint effort supports the discovery of new techniques and treatments, leading to healthier Australians.

Benefits of missions

Missions:

  • enable key players to work together and exchange insights that lead to better research
  • position Australia as a global research leader
  • promote new evidence-based approaches to disease management
  • create new jobs and business growth

Missions challenge current ways of thinking. They allow researchers to be bold and change the face of medicine.

MRFF missions

The MRFF 10-year plan ​​​​outlines plans for 8 missions. 

  • The Australian Brain Cancer Mission supports research into brain cancer treatments. It aims to double the survival rate and improve the quality of life of Australians living with brain cancer over the next 10 years. Cancer Australia will coordinate and administer the Mission.
  • The Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission aims to help a million Australians access new mental health treatment approaches.
  • The Genomics Health Futures Mission is a research program that will invest $500 million from 2018–19 to 2027–28. It will help transform the lives of more than 200,000 Australians.
  • The Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Mission is a research program that will invest $175 million from 2019–20 to 2028–29. It aims to support older Australians to maintain their health and quality of life as they age, live independently for longer, and access quality care when they need it.
  • The Cardiovascular Health Mission will invest $220 million over 10 years to bring together researchers, health professionals, industry and patients to make transformative improvements in heart and vascular health and stroke for all Australians.
  • The Indigenous Health Research Fund is investing in Indigenous-led research to tackle health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, starting with a vaccine to prevent rheumatic heart disease.
  • The Stem Cell Therapies Mission is a research funding program that will invest $150 million over 10 years to develop innovative, safe and effective treatments that improve the lives of patients with incurable and/or chronic disease.
  • The Traumatic Brain Injury Mission will invest $50 million over 10 years to improve patient recovery after brain injury. It will support projects that predict recovery outcomes, or identify the most effective care and treatments.

See all MRFF initiatives.

See more information about the MRFF funding process.

Researchers speak

Professor Helen Christensen AO (Director and Chief Scientist of the Black Dog Institute) explains how the Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission enables a national response to mental health issues.

You can also hear:

  • Professor Michelle Haber AM (Executive Director, Children’s Cancer Institute) speak about the Zero Childhood Cancer program, which is part of the Australian Brain Cancer Mission
  • Professor Ian Frazer AC (Chair of the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board) talk about how genomics is the future of medicine
Helen Christensen thumbnail
2:42
Read transcript

[Image appears of Professor Helen Christensen sitting in an office talking to the camera and the camera zooms in on her face as she talks]

Professor Helen Christensen: In Australia there’s about 4,000,000 people who have a mental health problem.

[Music plays and the image changes to show an open pamphlet with a note pad next to it with the Black Dog Institute logo on it]

[Images move through to show the Black Dog Institute building, a statue of a black dog, Helen talking to the camera, and then people sitting in an auditorium] 

Understanding big problems like mental illness requires a large national response and the Medical Research Future Fund really allows us to do that.

[Image changes to show Helen talking to the camera and text appears: Professor Helen Christensen AO, Director and Chief Scientist, Black Dog Institute]

I sit on the Million Minds Advisory Committee.

[Image shows Helen talking to the camera and then the image changes to show Helen and three other staff members sitting around a boardroom table in conversation]

Our role is to help shape the way in which the Medical Research Future Funds will be used in the cause of mental illness.

[Images move through to show an open pamphlet showing a suicide prevention research chart, a Black Dog brooch on Helen’s suit jacket, and then Helen talking to the camera]

Many young kids in their early teens start to develop mental health problems like depression, anxiety and so on.

[Images move through to show Helen talking to the camera, a “Creating a mentally healthier world” booklet on a desk, and then Helen in conversation with a group of young people at a table]

However, we do know that around 22% of those young people could be prevented from developing these disorders in the first place.

[Camera pans around Helen and the group at the table and then the images move through to show Helen talking to the camera and Helen and her colleagues sitting around a boardroom table]

The Medical Research Future Fund has contributed $125 million over ten years to try and make a difference to the lives of people who have mental health problems.

[Camera zooms in on a male listening and then the image changes to show Helen talking to the camera]

At the moment we have three different areas of particular interest.

[Image changes to show a female giving a presentation to a group of people and the camera zooms in on their faces]

One is mental health issues in young people and adolescents.

[Images move through to show Helen talking to the camera, Helen working at a laptop, and then Helen scrolling through the Million Minds Mission Grant Opportunity website]

A second issue is around eating disorders. They cause so much suffering and severe disablement.

[Images move through to show Helen talking to the camera, three females in conversation, a group of people in conversation sitting around a boardroom table, and then Helen talking to the camera]

And the third one is indigenous mental health because we know for example the suicide rate in indigenous young people and adults is two or three times higher than that of non-indigenous people.

[Image changes to show scientists working in a busy laboratory and then the image changes to show Helen talking to the camera]

The Medical Research Future Fund aims to focus on translational research.

[Image changes to show scientists working in a busy laboratory and then the image changes to show Helen talking to the camera]

Australia is very good at discovery but we’re not so good at getting our innovations into practice.

[Image changes to show Helen and a male scientist in conversation while conducting tests on a male’s brain activity and then the image changes to show the “I Had a Black Dog” book on a table]

In fact, we rank much lower than comparable countries around the world and I think the Medical Research Future Fund is a way in which we can bring that investment to make sure that our discoveries are kept here in the country and actually lead to major transformative health care change into the future.

[Camera pans along the Black Dog Institute corridor showing a painted mural of a male next to a dog and the camera zooms in on the mural]

The Medical Research Future Fund is really important for Australian health.  I’m totally committed to mental health.

[Image changes to show a rear view of Helen walking up a flight of stairs and then the image changes to show Helen talking on a mobile phone while looking out of a window]

Like many people I’ve experienced mental health problems myself. I’ve had family members with mental health problems.

[Images move through to show a Black Dog Institute logo on a window, Helen talking to the camera, and then Helen smiling at the camera]

I think there’s a lot of stigma associated with it but I actually think science and research is the answer both to reduce stigma but also to make the innovations that we need in this space.

[Music plays and a blue, red and white hexagon pattern appears over the screen and then the image changes to show the Coat of Arms and text appears on a blue screen: Australian Government, Department of Health, Medical Research Future Fund]

Last updated: 
9 January 2020

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