Organisations that help manage the MRFF
Several organisations contribute to the management of the MRFF:
- The Health and Medical Research Office in the Department of Health advises the Minister for Health and Aged Care on MRFF policy matters and is responsible for the overall administration of the MRFF.
- The Future Fund Board of Guardians manages the investments of the MRFF and reports to the Finance Minister. The fund generates annual earnings which are used for medical research.
- The independent Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) determines the Strategy and Priorities for the MRFF after consulting the public.
- The Minister for Health and Aged Care takes the Priorities into account in deciding which research initiatives to fund.
- The National Health and Medical Research Council, and Business Grants Hubs administer MRFF grants and selection processes on our behalf.
- Researchers carry out research, report regularly to grant administrators, and make new medical discoveries and innovations.
The Medical Research Future Fund Act 2015 establishes the MRFF, and provides the legal framework for the distribution of MRFF funds. The MRFF Act sets up the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) and requires it to consult the public before determining the MRFF strategy and priorities.
As with other grants, the funding process for MRFF grants is consistent with the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines.
All disbursements must occur in accordance with the MRFF Act.
The Minister (or delegate) must take into account the MRFF Priorities when making grants.
The Medical Research Future Fund Declaration of Interest Policy Statement 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 in determining the MRFF Strategy and Priorities.
Consumer Reference Panel (CRP)
The Consumer Reference Panel (CRP) provides advice to strengthen consumer involvement in the implementation of the MRFF.
Expert advisory panels
Expert advisory panels guide our investments in priority areas:
- Childhood Mental Health Research Plan Expert Advisory Panel
- Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) Research Plan Expert Advisory Panel
- Primary Health Research Plan Expert Advisory Panel
- Targeted Translation Research Accelerator Plan Expert Advisory Panel.
Expert advisory panels also guide our research missions:
- Australian Brain Cancer Mission Strategic Advisory Group
- Cardiovascular Health Mission Expert Advisory Panel
- Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care 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 Working Group.
The governance of the research missions, including the roles and responsibilities of these expert advisory panels, is outlined in the MRFF Mission Governance document.
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% 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.
Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Chairs Committee
The Medical Research Future Fund Act 2015 requires the Minister for Health to report to Parliament about the financial assistance provided from the MRFF as soon as possible after each set of MRFF Priorities expires. The report for 2020-2022 is now available.
MRFF spending is also detailed in our budget papers.
The Minister for Health and Aged Care must consider the current MRFF Priorities when choosing which projects to recommend for funding.
The Government has set out a detailed proposal for spending from the MRFF in the MRFF 2nd 10-year Investment Plan.