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ACTA Update – the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF)

The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) is a major initiative of the Federal Government to establish a publicly-owned perpetual endowment fund.  The Fund will build to $20 billion in available funding to 2025, eventually delivering $1 billion in annual funding for health and medical research per annum.

ACTA have been active in supporting the establishment of the MRFF.  These activities have included multiple meetings with members of Government and Health Department officials, in addition to our submission to the Senate Community Affairs Committee enquiry into the MRFF and appearance before the inquiry. Several key points made by ACTA were included in the committee’s report tabled in parliament in August.

Below is a summary of progress and outcome.

  • The MRFF Bill received “Royal Assent” and is now an Act of Parliament.
  • The MRFF is expected to make some disbursements this year (approx. $10million) with about $400 million expected to be allocated over the next 4 years.
  • The Fund is anticipated to be fully capitalised, with $20 billion by 2019-2020 and thereafter should be delivering an extra $1 billion in research funding thereafter.
  • An independent Advisory Board, the composition of which is yet to be announced, will have the responsibility for establishing a 5 yearly strategy (the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy) and 2 yearly priorities (the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities) that will guide the disbursement of funds from the MRFF.
  • ACTA is actively lobbying to advocate that an individual with clinical research experience should be selected onto the MRFF Advisory Board (someone with extensive knowledge of how clinical evidence is generated and applied in clinical practice).
  • The advisory board will consist of eight members with expertise across medical research and innovation, health policy, commercialisation, experience and knowledge in philanthropy and in consumer issues and translation of research into applications in front-line medical practice.
  • It is unclear, at this stage, what role the NHMRC will play or what processes will be used to distribute funds.
  • Of critical importance for our sector is that unlike NHMRC funding via the Medical Research Endowment Account, the MRFF will be able to fund infrastructure. As such we will continue to argue strongly for core infrastructure for trials networks, co-ordinating centres and clinical quality registries to be available through the MRFF.

Copies of all of ACTA’s public submissions are available on the website – www.clinicaltrialsalliance.org.au but please feel free to contact Rhiannon Tate or John Zalcberg directly for additional information.