AHRTC Alliance accesses MRFF funds


The accredited AHRTC’s have come together to form a national AHRTC Alliance which is directly aligned with the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy and the MRFF.

Since their formal acknowledgment as Advanced Health Research and Translation Centres (AHRTC) by the NHMRC, the four Australian centres (Monash Partners, Sydney Health Partners, SA Academic Health Science and Translation Centre and Melbourne Academic Centre for Health) have been meeting regularly with the NHMRC and also have been building a national alliance. Over the last year the Centres have engaged with the NHMRC, which has enabled a series of meetings with productive dialogue about common interests and joint challenges in research and healthcare.

The Centres have recently agreed to create a more formal alliance to collaborate strategically and practically in the integration and delivery of health and medical research, translation into improved health outcomes improved clinical practice, teaching and education. One of the goals of the Alliance is to work collaboratively and productively with the NHMRC. The Alliance has also proved relevant in engaging with the Commonwealth Department of Health in response to the opportunities offered by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) as outlined below.

Late last year the MRFF released its Strategic plan 2016-2021 and its priorities for 2016-2018. Both recent MRFF documents (the Strategy plan and the priorities list) refer to the AHRTC’s as a vehicle for collaborative research and funding.

Late November 2016, NHMRC hosted a meeting of AHRTC Council Chairs and Executive Directors and on request arranged for representatives of the Department responsible for the MRFF, to present and discuss opportunities. On December 8th, the Executive Directors of the four AHRTC’s met with representatives of the Department responsible for the MRFF to discuss the possible funding options for research and translation through the AHRTC’s.

At present we are collaborating through the Alliance and developing a joint concept brief for the Department including strategic practical ideas aligned with the MFRR priorities that may work across the AHRTCs at a systems level, ), and those that operate from individual AHRTC’s with shared learnings.

As greater clarity is forthcoming concurrently each of the AHRTCs will be developing ideas and potential projects that may be collaborative across and individually within each AHRTC aligned with established local priorities, future plans and processes. We aim to ensure that as opportunities emerge through the MRFF, we are optimally positioned to respond positively and quickly. Should funds become available, it is understood that administrative and operational activities would continue to be managed through the individual AHRTCs and their partner organisations with processes akin to a program grant run across multiple institutions, with ongoing collaboration and shared learnings across the AHRTCs.