A comparison of the distribution of Medical Research Future Fund grants with disease burden in Australia

Stephen E Gilbert, Rachelle Buchbinder, Ian A Harris and Christopher G Maher
Med J Aust 2021; 214 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50916
Published online: 15 February 2021

The disability burden of non‐fatal disease is not reflected in allocation of grants

The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) has become an increasingly important part of health and medical research funding in Australia. In the 2019–20 federal budget the Australian Government announced $5 billion of research funding over a 10‐year period.1 In comparison, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) awarded $923 million in funding in the 2019 funding round.2 An important difference between the NHMRC and MRFF funding schemes is that MRFF grants are usually targeted within funding initiatives. For example, in 2019 there was a $20 million call for ovarian cancer research under the Emerging Priorities and Consumer‐Driven Research Initiative.

  • 1 Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 3 Cabrini Institute, Melbourne, VIC
  • 4 Monash University, Melbourne, VIC
  • 5 Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, Sydney, NSW



Christopher Maher and Rachelle Buchbinder are funded by NHMRC Research Fellowships. They are chief investigator or co‐investigator on multiple previous and current research grants from government agencies and charities in Australia and internationally. They have received travel expenses for speaking at conferences from the professional organisations hosting the conferences. They are investigators on the SHaPED trial which received heat wraps at no cost from Flexeze. The funding sources had no influence on any aspect of study design, data collection, analysis or interpretation, reporting or publication.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.