Victorian Government opens up applications for funding to fast track health and medical research

Victorian Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy

The Victorian Government is investing in the health of all Australians, through the inaugural Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund.

Applications have opened for the new fund, which aims to assist medical research institutes, educational facilities, health services and others in the industry to translate early stage research into real solutions for patients.

What the fund aims to achieve

The fund has two pools of money for researchers to dip into: the government’s A$20 million commitment, as well as investment from philanthropic, industry and international sources.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said the investment was designed to retain and build on Victoria’s reputation as a world leader in ground-breaking health and medical research.

“Victoria is home to some of the world’s best and brightest medical minds, and we’re leading the way in breakthrough discoveries that improve quality of care for patients,” she said.

“The Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund will support early-stage research, revolutionise future patient care and save lives, while also strengthening our economy.”

Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research Frank McGuire welcomed the funding application announcement.

“These significant investments will build on Victoria’s reputation as a world leader in medical research, attracting global investment and creating new jobs,” he said.

Two tiers of funding

The program offers two different grants: one for A$100,000 and the other for A$500,000.

The A$100,000 funding is aimed at early stage innovations including discovery research, clinical research and health practice. It is also available for organisations with an idea or innovation to attract peer review funding or investment by industry.

The larger grants are designed to assist research proposals fast track the project into a real outcome. To gain this level of funding, organisations will need to match it with their own share of A$500,000.

The government’s bigger picture for health

This funding is part of the Victorian Government’s Healthier Lives, Stronger Economy: Victoria’s Health and Medical Research Strategy 2016-2020.

Accelerating research into clinical practice is the prime directive of this strategy, which aims to embed this research into the Victorian health system.

Other objectives include advancing Victoria as the lead national jurisdiction for health and medical research: building economic growth; integrating research; education and health care; enhancing clinical trials; optimising big data and informatics; developing the next generation workforce and stimulating engagement between researchers; and industry to facilitate innovation.

The panel charged with driving health innovation

To achieve these goals, a Science, Medical Research and Technology Panel has been established with 14 sitting members.

They include Minister for Health Jill Hennessy, and Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research Frank McGuire—as well as a host of representatives from health industry and research.

“I’m proud to join this panel of experts whose important work will ensure our first-class medical research sector can remain globally competitive, now and into the future,” Mr McGuire said.