A new $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund was recently announced in the Federal Budget.

The announcement provided little detail on the strategy and focus to ‘how’ the fund would support medical research and translation. The ‘what’ the fund would support appears to focus on biomedical research.

Whilst biomedical research is one focus area for delivering community benefits with 20 billion dollars, it is part of a bigger picture.

With a new fund comes new opportunities to review what is currently supported and how, then to make strategic decisions about how to maximise the potential impact from our investment on medical research.

In its own evolution, the National Foundation for Medical Research (NFMRI) reviewed the funding landscape and innovation pathways to develop three social investment (giving) portfolios to strategically support biomedical research that advances innovations and enables collaborations.

The strategy considered a number of reports, including the McKeon review into Health and Medical Research and the ACIP review into collaborations.

NFMRI’s strategy focuses on funding gaps in biomedical research and delivering benefits to the community through innovations, including drugs, diagnostics, vaccines, and devices.

We identified three funding and knowledge gaps and developed social investment (giving) portfolios along the innovation pathway to support research – not only through grants, but also by value-adding with access to networks and knowledge around translation and commercialisation.

Translation requires more than research.

It requires support systems to advance our discoveries along the innovation pathway, in order to attract investors and industry partners. These partners are essential in navigating the long, expensive, and difficult pathways of taking our medical discoveries from bench to bedside, gaining regulatory approval, and ensuring safety and efficacy.

To support innovation, the recent Budget also announced a new ‘Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program’, which will provide $484.2 million over five years and save $845.6 million over five years by ceasing other programs. The Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCAL) summarises the changes here.

We look forward to hearing more about the details for the Medical Research Future Fund, the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program, and opportunities for consultation with the medical research community.

///This article is an edited version of a story that appeared on the website of the National Foundation for Medical Research and Innovation on May 22, 2014.///