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$400 million funding boost for health and medical research

A media release about a $400 million investment from the Australian Government in world-leading health and medical research projects to improve the lives of all Australians.

The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Former Minister for Health and Aged Care

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The Morrison Government will invest almost $400 million in world-leading health and medical research projects to improve the lives of all Australians.

Our Government will strengthen Australians’ health through research to prevent illness and deliver better health care as we recover and restore our nation in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 237 new projects will receive funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), with a further 30 grants to be funded through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Priority Round.

Funding will support research in the areas of:

  • Cancer - $87.1 million
  • Cardiovascular Disease - $46.5 million
  • Mental health - $54.0 million
  • Indigenous - $19.4 million
  • Infectious diseases - $84.7 million

Of the grants funded, a total of $84.7 million will go towards 61 new research projects in infectious diseases – a significant strength of Australia’s research sector.

Whilst applications for this grant round closed in 2019, prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, infectious disease research into influenza and pneumonia may contribute to our understanding of COVID-19 and translate into new treatment strategies and trials.

Professor Allen Cheng from Monash University will receive $1.7 million to optimise vaccine and treatment strategies to prevent illness and death from severe influenza in Australia.

Professor Cheng’s research project will transform the prevention and treatment of influenza and its complications by developing innovative public health and treatment strategies that can be applied globally.

Australians will benefit from this vital health and medical research being conducted around the country:

  • $186 million in research funding for 124 projects in Victoria, including University of Melbourne research to put 3D printing into the reality of surgery by developing an approach for regenerating joint cartilage within the body using one-step surgery
  • $119.8 million in research funding for 83 projects in New South Wales, including
    University of New South Wales research to explore how novel internet solutions can be used
    to overcome the burden of depression in youth.
  • $48.8 million in research funding for 29 projects in Queensland, including QIMR Berghofer
    Institute of Medical Research research into the genetic basis of breast cancer risk with the
    aim of reducing breast cancer incidence and mortality.
  • $24.1 million in research funding for 15 projects in South Australia, including University of
    South Australia research into the monitoring of medical conditions such as preeclampsia,
    epilepsy, fetal arrhythmias and heart attacks through advanced technologies that can be
    integrated with point-of-care and wearable diagnostic tools.
  • $8.4 million in research funding for nine projects in Western Australia, including
    University of Western Australia research into novel and effective chemotherapy and
    immunotherapy drug combinations to reduce deaths from cancer.
  • $5.6 million in research funding for five projects in the Northern Territory, including
    Menzies School of Health Research work towards the elimination of chronic hepatitis B in
    the Northern Territory.
  • $3.8 million in research funding for two projects in the ACT, including Australian National
    University research to strengthen the detection and prediction of outbreaks of emerging
    infectious diseases, and the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases.

While this round was closed for submissions last year, we are currently in the process of awarding $42 million for COVID research through the MRFF.

Medical research is one of the core elements of the Australian Government’s $104 billion Long
Term National Health Plan. This vital investment across the broad health spectrum will continue the proud Australian tradition of discovery and translation for the better health for all.

A full list of grant recipients is available on NHMRC’s website:

The research funding allocated will support a number of health priority areas and below is a breakdown of State and Territory summaries:

NHMRC Investigator Grants Commencing 2021

State Total funding Projects
NSW $110 million 75
Vic $173 million 110
Qld $46 million 27
WA $6 million 7
SA $22 million 12
ACT $3.8 million 2
NT $4.5 million 4

MRFF Investigator Grants Commencing 2020/2021

State Total funding Projects
NSW $9.8 million 8
Vic $13 million 14
Qld $2.8 million 2
WA $2.4 million 2
SA $2.1 million 3
NT $1.1 million 1

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