Date published: 
6 April 2020
Intended Audience: 
General public

MRFF in the COVID-19 research response

On 11 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced a $2.4 billion health package to protect all Australians from coronavirus (COVID-19). As part of this package $30 million from the MRFF was allocated to support research to control and manage the outbreak.  

Three priority research areas for investment have been identified by the Government, in line with the priorities agreed at the Coronavirus Research Roundtable – vaccine development, anti-viral development and respiratory medicine research. 

Two competitive grant opportunities are currently open: 

  • $5 million for clinical trials to better treat and manage COVID-19 patients with severe acute respiratory distress, closing 6 April 2020 
  • $8 million to identify and develop antiviral therapies for people infected with COVID-19, closing 
    8 April 2020. 

A further $17 million of funding from the MRFF is being invested in the development of a vaccine for COVID-19. $3.35 million of this has already been invested in partnership with the Queensland Government in vaccine research and clinical trials being progressed at the University of Queensland.

This MRFF funding is in addition to the $2 million from the MRFF allocated to the open competitive grant opportunity to accelerate research into the development of a vaccine, which closed on 11 March 2020. 

The Government has also announced a further investment of more than $2.6 million from the MRFF to support COVID-19 diagnostics research at the University of Melbourne’s Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity to increase Australia’s ability to conduct widespread testing for the diagnosis and clearance of COVID-19.

Is COVID-19 impacting your grant?

As with other organisations, we expect the COVID-19 pandemic will have an impact on the health and medical research sector to complete grant activities and also participate in MRFF grant opportunities. 

If you have concerns, we ask you to contact the Grant Hub administering the relevant MRFF Grant Opportunity or Grant Agreement (NHMRC: help [at]  or  BGH: enquiries [at] to discuss the options available.

$47 million targeted translation research accelerator grant opportunity

Up to $47 million over four years from 2019–20 will be available under the MRFF 2020 Targeted Translation Researcher Accelerator (the Accelerator) grant opportunity, to support the development of novel preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic approaches and products for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

To achieve this objective an organisation will be funded to deliver the Accelerator as a comprehensive package of activities to improve outcomes for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Applications for this grant opportunity will be accepted through the Business Grants Hub from 3 April 2020 and will close on 20 April 2020.

This is an opportunity under the Preventive and Public Health Research initiative.

MRFF consultations with researchers, the public and organisations

The success of the MRFF relies on input from researchers, the public and organisations interested in health and medical research. Our stakeholders have valuable experience and expertise that can help us to implement MRFF initiatives.

Every two years, the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) consults the public about MRFF priorities. AMRAB then develops the next set of priorities based on this feedback.

Other ways we engage with stakeholders include:

See more on MRFF consultations.

How the MRFF helps achieve better health outcomes for Australians

Hear from Professor Alex Brown, Professor of Aboriginal Health at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, about how the MRFF helps translate research findings into better health outcomes.

You can hear from other prominent members of the research community talking about how the MRFF is helping Australians in our series of videos.

Grant opportunities closing soon

Applications for 3 MRFF grant opportunities close soon.

Opportunities closing 6 April

  • Respiratory Medicine Clinical Trials Research on COVID-19

Opportunities closing 8 April

  • Antiviral Development for COVID-19

Opportunities closing 20 April

  • Targeted Translation Researcher Accelerator (part of the Preventive and Public Health Research initiative)

For more information, visit GrantConnect.

All MRFF grant opportunities are advertised on GrantConnect.

Register with GrantConnect to receive notifications when a new opportunity is open.

How to access previous editions of the MRFF newsletter

Previous MRFF newsletters are now available on our website.


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Contact us

If you have any questions about the newsletter, please email HMRO [at]

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]
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