Medical Research Future Fund

The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) was established on 26 August 2015 by the Medical Research Future Fund Act 2015 External Site (MRFF Act). It provides an ongoing funding stream for medical research and medical innovation into the future with the credits to the MRFF preserved in perpetuity. The capital of the MRFF is invested, with the earnings used to make grants of financial assistance for medical research and medical innovation over the long term.

For information on the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy 2016-2021 and the accompanying Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities 2016-2018, and disbursements from the MRFF, refer to the Department of Health website External Site.


The MRFF Act gives effect to the following:

  • Establishment of Government bodies: Australian Medical Research Advisory Board External Site (Advisory Board); 
    • the Advisory Board is tasked with determining the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy and related Priorities to inform Government decision making on Medical Research Future Fund disbursements. 
  • Investment Mandate: the responsible Ministers are required to issue an Investment Mandate (detailed below).
  • Crediting amounts to the MRFF: the responsible Ministers make credits to the MRFF. For information on the credits, refer to the Investment Performance and Financials webpage.
  • Maximum Annual Distribution Amount: The Future Fund Board of Guardians (Future Fund Board) determines the maximum annual distribution amounts for each financial year, this will enable the preservation of the credits to the MRFF in perpetuity.
  • Debiting amounts from the MRFF: the Finance Minister, on request from the Minister for Health, will authorise disbursements (debits) from the MRFF, subject to the maximum annual distribution amount. The Treasurer is responsible for payments to States and Territories.

Investment Mandate

The responsible Ministers provided the Future Fund Board with strategic investment guidance through a written direction in respect to the MRFF. This is a legislative instrument that is not subject to disallowance.

The Medical Research Future Fund Investment Mandate Direction 2015 was issued 8 November 2015. It requires the Future Fund Board to adopt a benchmark return of the “average return of at least the Reserve Bank of Australia Cash Rate target + 1.5 to 2.0 per cent per annum, net of investment fees, over a rolling 10-year term”.

In targeting this benchmark return, the Future Fund Board must determine an acceptable but not excessive level of risk for the MRFF measured in terms such as the probability of losses in a particular year. In determining the level of risk, the Future Fund Board must take into account; the principle that the nominal value of the credits to the MRFF be preserved over the long term; and the need to moderate the volatility of the maximum annual distribution.

Contact information on this page: Funds and Superannuation Branch

Last updated: 05 September 2019