The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) - Coronavirus Research Response will enable Australian researchers to continue to drive innovation and contribute to global efforts to control the COVID-19 outbreak and understand the longer term impacts of COVID-19 on patients. This measure will use the considerable expertise of Australia’s world-class health and medical researchers, which is critical for ensuring preparedness and the safety of all Australians and the global community. 

The objective of the 2021 COVID-19 Health Impacts and Vaccination Schedules grant opportunity is to provide grants of financial assistance to support Australian medical research and medical innovation projects that: 

  • Stream 1: study individuals that have tested positive for COVID-191 to improve understanding of the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 
  • Stream 2: conduct clinical trials to generate evidence on how individuals or populations with immunocompromising conditions respond to COVID-19 vaccination, to inform vaccine schedules 
  • Stream 3: conduct clinical trials to generate knowledge on the efficacy of vaccine schedules that combine different COVID-19 vaccines. 

1 via a laboratory-based nucleic acid detection test to detect SARS-CoV-2 viral ribonucleic acid (RNA), or a serology test to detect IgM and/or IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

Applications to this grant opportunity must propose research that addresses one of the three Streams of research. An application may be submitted to one of the above three Streams only. Applicants must specify the Stream to which they are applying in their application. 

Applicants to Streams 2 and 3 must propose clinical trials that test alternative vaccination schedules (specifically, vaccination schedules outside official recommendations) for COVID-19 vaccines registered, or provisionally registered, on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. 

Up to $15 million of funding is available for the three streams. There is no maximum grant amount, but grants cannot exceed the amount of funds available. The maximum project period is five years.

The intended outcome of the research funded by this grant opportunity is to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians by: 

  • Stream 1: improving our understanding of the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on the health of affected individuals and enabling development of models to better predict disease progression and tailor treatment 
  • Stream 2: supporting development of tailored vaccination schedules for immunocompromised individuals or populations 
  • Stream 3: supporting development of vaccination schedules combining different COVID-19 vaccines to generate robust, protective immune responses. 

This grant opportunity is being administered by NHMRC on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Health.

Further information on the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) is available from the Department of Health’s MRFF website