In a statement announcing the investment, Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, confirmed more than $16.9 million had been awarded to researchers to study women’s health issues and aspects of primary health care, and to facilitate more and better clinical trials of new and improved treatments.
In the lead up to Women’s Health Week – taking place from 7th to 11th September 2020 – the MRFF grants announced would include:
- $5 million over five years for the National Women’s Health Research, Translation and Impact Network, aimed at research with strong potential to improve health outcomes for women and girls;
- $5 million over four years to the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance to be a national partner providing specialised leadership and support to both investigator-led and industry clinical trials, and to Clinical Quality Registries; and
- More than $6.9 million delivered to five projects to improve primary health care in the areas of contraception and abortion for rural women, health care for people in aged care, diabetes in Indigenous Australians, nutrition and heart disease, and the health of urban Indigenous people.
Compared with men, women have a higher life expectancy but experience more disease burden from living with disease, rather than dying early from disease and injury.
The Women’s Health Network are expected to use the funding for research into nine priority areas, including reproductive health, mental health, and preventing cancer and heart disease.
The Government has said the project will also boost national and international collaboration on women’s health, build health workforce capacity and develop leaders in women’s health.
In addition to these grants, Minister Hunt said he was announcing new grant opportunities worth more than $86.5 million for clinical trials and other vital research.
Clinical trial grant opportunities totally $77.2 million will provide up to:
- $24 million for the Million Minds Mission Mental Heath Research supporting access to new approaches to prevention, diagnoses, treatment and recovery;
- $3 million for clinical trials to examine the benefits of medicinal cannabis for managing pain, symptoms and aside effects for cancer patients;
- $25.2 million for international clinical trial collaborations; and
- $25 million for clinical trials of new or improved treatments for rare cancers, rare diseases and other illness with unmet clinical need.
Other grant opportunities are making $9.3 million available for research:
- $4.8 million for primary health care research; and
- $4.5 million from the MRFF and National Health and Medical Research Council for research into silicosis, a preventable lung disease related to inhalation of fine silica dust from artificial stone bench tops.
The Government has identified investment in health and medical research as one of its key priorities in its Long Term National Health Plan.