Date published: 
30 June 2020
Intended Audience: 
General public

$35.9 million boost for rare cancers, rare diseases and unmet medical needs

As part of the Clinical Trials Activity initiative, the MRFF is providing $35.9 million for research into rare cancers, rare diseases and areas of unmet medical need.

The funding is awarded to 17 cutting-edge research projects including projects to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, improve neonatal outcomes and to prevent bone loss in critically ill women.

Read more about this breakthrough research under the Clinical Trials Activity initiative.

$29 million for research to tackle heart disease and stroke

An investment of more than $29 million under the MRFF’s Cardiovascular Health Mission will support vital research initiatives to tackle the nation’s two biggest killers – heart disease and stroke.

Six projects will receive a share of $11 million for research on ways to reduce the burden cardiovascular disease. 

$18 million will support a further six research projects that aim to reduce the impact of congenital heart disease by investigating new ways to diagnose and treat the condition.

View the complete list of these cardiovascular health projects.

$5.9 million for research into incurable diseases treatments

The MRFF will provide $5.9 million in funding to research projects to find new and innovative treatments for incurable diseases including leukaemia, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

This ground breaking research is part of the Stem Cell Therapies Mission which supports the development of innovative, safe and effective treatments accessible to all Australians who need them.

Find out more about the 8 projects under the Stem Cell Therapies Mission.

$12 million for research to improve treatment of cardiovascular disease and stroke patients

Funding from the Cardiovascular Health Mission will advance ground-breaking work on the nation’s two biggest killers heart disease and stroke.

Together with the National Heart Foundation, the MRFF will provide $12 million for research to improve treatment of people, including children, suffering cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The National Stroke Foundation will receive $4 million for research into better diagnosis and treatment of children who suffer stroke.The National Heart Foundation will receive $4 million from the MRFF, and provide $4 million itself, for research into four areas of clinical practice to improve identification and management of cardiovascular disease.

Find out more about the research into treatment of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Funding of 10 clinical trials to find innovative cancer treatments

Ten clinical trials will receive a share of $13.6 million under the MRFF’s Clinical Trials Activity initiative to find innovative cancer treatments for melanoma, reproductive and gynaecological cancers and childhood brain cancer.

Read more about the cancer treatment trials.

Ground-breaking research to help find a cure for motor neurone disease

In Australia, two people are diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND), and two people die because of MND, every day. The MRFF’s Emerging Priorities and Consumer-Driven Research initiative is investing $2 million in new clinical trial activity and providing greater access to cutting-edge ways to treat MND.

Read more about funding for motor neurone disease research.  

New brain injury research to examine long term impact of concussion in children

Traumatic brain injury is a major cause of disability and death in Australia. Common causes are falls, car accidents and assault. These injuries can lead to complex, long-term problems affecting patients’ personalities, relationships and independence.

The MRFF’s Traumatic Brain Injury Mission is investing over $5.7 million to support three research projects aimed at improving the lives of Australians who sustain brain injuries.

Read more about all 3 traumatic brain injury projects.

Funding for research to end avoidable indigenous deafness, blindness and kidney disease

The MRFF’s Indigenous Health Research Fund is investing $14.44 million to support Indigenous-led research to improve adolescent mental health, end avoidable deafness and blindness, and improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with chronic kidney disease.

The projects, to be run by nine successful grant recipients, will identify what will contribute to successful healthcare delivery in Indigenous populations and what barriers exist.

Find out more about the 9 projects under the Indigenous Health Research Fund.

Research into predicting cancer trends to help prepare our health system

The MRFF continues to support Australia’s best and brightest researchers to find new ways to address risk factors for chronic and complex diseases in Australia.

Under the MRFF’s Preventive and Public Health Research initiative, six projects will share more than $12 million for research that will help prepare the health system for cancer and paediatric healthcare.

See details about the 6 projects supported by the Preventive and Public Health Research initiative.

$21.8 million for neurological disorders research

Neurological disorders are becoming increasingly prevalent in Australia and account for a third of all diseases, with the number of people affected increasing by almost 20 per cent between 2003 and 2015.
Ten research projects will share in $21.8 million under the Clinical Trials Activity initiative to investigate a range of neurological disorders including new treatments for the rare Parkinson’s Disease-like supranuclear palsy, early Alzheimer’s disease, autism, encephalitis, reducing fatigue in patients after a stroke, and reducing persistent pain after breast surgery.

See the full list of research projects into neurological disorders.

$1 million to Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision for clinical trial of new therapies for bone marrow failure

Approximately 160 Australians, the majority of whom are children or adolescents, are diagnosed with a bone marrow failure each year. More than 50 per cent of these patients will die from their disease.

The MRFF’s Emerging Priorities and Consumer-Driven Research initiative is providing more than $1 million to Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision to support a clinical trial of new therapies for young patients who cannot make enough blood cells due to bone marrow failure.

Find out more about this important bone marrow failure research.

Vital Australian research projects to fight antimicrobial resistance and TB in the Pacific

The MRFF’s Global Health initiative will provide more $8.3 million to four new research projects to tackle the threat of drug resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the Pacific region.

Read more about all 4 projects under the Global Health Initiative.

$9.9 million for research to improve life for brain cancer survivors

Two research projects will receive a share of $9.9 million under the Australian Brain Cancer Mission to help improve life for brain cancer survivors.

Read more about the 2 brain cancer research projects.

A further $3 million grant opportunity will open on 1 July 2020 for research to support new approaches and technologies to improve communications between brain cancer survivors, their families, carers and health care professionals.

The grant opportunity will be advertised on GrantConnectRegister with GrantConnect to receive notification when it is open.

Is COVID-19 impacting your grant?

Significant changes to our grant opportunities because of COVID-19 will be published on the MRFF website.

You can also contact the Grant Hub administering the relevant MRFF Grant Opportunity or Grant Agreement (NHMRC: help [at] or BGH: MRFF [at] or MRFF [at] with any enquiries.

Grant opportunities

Opportunity opening 1 July 2020

  • Australian Brain Cancer Mission
    • 2020 Brain Cancer Survivorship

Opportunity closing 13 July 2020

  • Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission
    • 2020 COVID-19 Mental Health Research

Opportunities closing 14 July 2020

  • Coronavirus Research Response
    • 2020 Rapid Response Digital Health Infrastructure
    • 2020 Communication Strategies and Approaches During Outbreaks
  • Frontier Health and Medical Research
    • Frontier Health and Medical Research Program – Stage Two

Opportunity closing 15 July 2020

  • Coronavirus Research Response
    • 2020 COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Research

Opportunity closing 23 July 2020

  • Coronavirus Research Response
    • 2020 COVID-19 Immunological Studies

All MRFF grant opportunities are advertised on GrantConnect.

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

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