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A round-up of two years of MRFF grant recipients: what was funded?

Written by Sharon Brennan-Olsen

The Medical Research Future Fund’s (MRFF’s) March newsletter included a link to their report on the outcomes of the 2021 Early- to Mid-Career Researcher (E-MCR) grant opportunity, which identified the size of E-MCR teams, funding allocated and the broad discipline area, among other ‘information goodies’.

Although the names of recipients across other MRFF initiatives and grant opportunities are publicly available (Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant recipients | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care), information about the CI teams, funding and discipline areas haven’t been aggregated by MRFF as seen for the E-MCR opportunity.

At GrantEd, we felt that a summary for each of the MRFF schemes spanning 2021-2022 may be helpful for those considering or developing an application.

In Table 1, we’ve tabulated funding awarded under MRFF’s 2022 grant opportunities, presented according to the initiatives under which the funding sat. To date, more than $155M has been allocated to 2022 initiatives. As expected, proposals falling under the broad discipline area of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, followed by Health Sciences, appear to be the ‘big winners’. While the number of CIs is dependent upon grant-specific guidelines, both the largest and smallest CI teams fell under the Emerging Priorities and Consumer Driven Research initiative.

Table 1: Aggregated data: recipient teams of MRFF’s 2022 grant opportunities, to date.

*No data was recorded by MRFF

Researchers awarded funding from the 2021 grant opportunities, also stratified according to the MRFF

initiatives under which the funding sat, are in Table 2. For contrasting purposes, we’ve included the 2021 E-MCR awardees, although you can find more information about the awardees in our previous blog, including CIA metrics (here).

What you’ll notice, year to year, is substantial changes in the types of grant opportunities offered under some of MRFF’s initiatives. For instance, in 2021 under the initiative Emerging Priorities and Consumer Driven Research, four grant opportunities were offered: i) Traumatic Brain Injury, ii) Improving the Health and Wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mothers and Babies, iii) Chronic Neurological Conditions, and iv) Chronic Musculoskeletal Conditions in Children and Adolescents. In 2022, the four grant opportunities under the same initiative were: i) Pancreatic Cancer, ii) Mitochondrial Donation Pilot Program, iii) Models of Care to Improve the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Acute Care, and iv) Effective Treatments and Therapies.

You may also have noticed differences between the years in the level of funding allocated to the same grant opportunity. For instance, in 2021, $33.6M was awarded across 41 projects/CI teams under the Cardiovascular Health Mission initiative, compared to $23M across 14 projects/CI teams in 2022. It’s important to remember that MRFF allocates a defined amount of funding to an initiative over a specific period, which means there may be a different amount allocated per year.

Take the E-MCR initiative as an example. MRFF allocated $384.2M over 10 years to this initiative, which is spread across the three streams of; Incubator ($84M), Accelerator ($206M) and Targeted Call ($95M). Table 2 shows that $42.6M was awarded to 23 projects/CI teams across the three streams in the inaugural round.

Of the 27 grant opportunities offered by MRFF in 2021, the number of awardees for the E-MCR grant opportunity (n=23) was surpassed by only three others; Cardiovascular Health (n=41), Clinical Trials Activity (n=31) and Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need (n=29).

There’s one thing that’s guaranteed when aiming to secure funding for your research: if you don’t apply, you have a 100% chance of not being funded.

Table 2: Aggregated data: recipient teams of MRFF’s 2021 grant opportunities.

*No data was recorded by MRFF

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