The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) – 2022 Clinical Trials Activity Grant Opportunity will support medical research and medical innovation projects.

These guidelines contain information for the 2022 Clinical Trials Activity Grant Opportunity.

The grant opportunity aims to fund clinical trials in two priority areas:

  • rare cancers, rare diseases and unmet need
  • effective health interventions.

Priority 1: Rare cancers, rare diseases and unmet need

Rare cancers are a broad and diverse group of cancers with a range of incidence and survival outcomes. In Australia, it is estimated that more than 42,000 Australians are diagnosed with a rare or less common form of cancer every year[1]. While one in 3 cancer diagnoses in Australia are rare or less common, they contribute to over half of all cancer deaths[2]. There is a lack of evidence-based information to inform treatment options for many patients diagnosed with a rare cancer.

Rare diseases are life-threatening or chronically debilitating disorders or conditions uncommon in the general population. To date, more than 10,000 rare diseases have been identified, and approximately 8% of Australians live with a rare disease[3]. Rare diseases typically exhibit a high level of symptom complexity leading to diagnostic delays and require frequent, ongoing multidisciplinary care and treatment[4].

Unmet medical need arises where individuals are living with a serious health condition, where there are limited satisfactory options for prevention, diagnosis or treatment to support improved health outcomes.

Australia has one of the highest rates of antibiotic use in the world. High rates of antibiotic use are associated with increasing rates of antibiotic resistance, with more than 1.27 million people dying each year from drug-resistant infection[5]. Currently, reducing inappropriate use of antibiotics is challenging due to limited uptake of effective interventions into routine clinical usage. Implementation trials aim to address this gap by generating scientific knowledge and assessing the effect of existing interventions to improve the quality and effectiveness of health care and services.

Priority 2: Effective health interventions

Australia is a mix of diverse populations, which may have very different health and healthcare needs. This includes Australians living in rural, regional or remote areas. Research that addresses differences in health and healthcare needs in rural, regional and remote communities is important to reduce inequities in health outcomes.

Comparative effectiveness research is the generation and synthesis of evidence that compares the benefits and harms of alternative methods to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor a clinical condition or to improve the delivery of care. The purpose of comparative effectiveness research is to assist consumers, clinicians, purchasers, and policy makers to make informed decisions that will improve health care at both the individual and population levels.

Effective health intervention trials assess the effect of health interventions to improve health or therapeutic outcomes for individuals and populations.

The objectives and intended outcomes of this grant opportunity are aligned with the following Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities 2022–2024:

  • antimicrobial resistance
  • comparative effectiveness research
  • priority populations
  • health and medical tesearcher vapacity and vapability.

Consistent with the Medical Research Future Fund Act 2015, the objective of this grant opportunity is to provide grants of financial assistance to support medical research and medical innovation projects that:

Rare cancers, rare diseases and unmet need

  • Stream 1 (Targeted Call for Research): conduct a clinical trial of one or more treatments and/or management-based interventions for rare cancers, rare diseases and/or unmet need.
  • Stream 2 (Targeted Call for Research): conduct an implementation science trial to determine the best strategies for reducing inappropriate antibiotic use in clinical settings.

Effective health interventions

  • Stream 3 (Targeted Call for Research): conduct a clinical trial that reduces inequities in health outcomes by addressing the specific health and health care needs that are of priority for people in regional, rural, and remote communities.
  • Stream 4 (Targeted Call for Research): conduct a clinical trial that assesses the comparative effectiveness of 2 or more health interventions to treat a specific clinical condition, to inform the decisions of policy makers, clinicians, and consumers regarding healthcare and to minimise the use of unnecessary, ineffective, and harmful health interventions.

NHMRC is responsible for administering this grant opportunity on behalf of the Department of Health and Aged Care.

Further information on MRFF is available from Department of Health and Aged Care – MRFF.

[2]  Rare Cancers Australia – What is a rare cancer?
[3]  Elliott EJ and Zurynski YA. Rare diseases are a 'common' problem for clinicians. AFP. 2015;44:9
[4]  Anderson M, Elliott EJ, Zurynski YA. Australian families living with rare disease: Experiences of diagnosis, health services use and needs for psychosocial support. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2013;8:22

Grant at a glance

Level of funding