WA future health fund seeks new research initiatives

Brandon How

The latest program under the Western Australian government’s Future Health Research and Innovation fund calls on members of the community to propose their own research and innovation initiative.

Through the Co-Funding Partnership Program, organisations can propose the establishment of new health and medical research and innovation initiatives. If approved, between $500,000 and $1 million will be committed by the state government to set up the initiative, so long as the funding is matched by a partner.

Some examples of initiatives highlighted by the state government include the co-design of new grant programs, research or innovation fellowships, and infrastructure support for medical research or innovation. The Co-FPP also permits the proposal for ‘untied partner funding’, with the design of any resulting co-funded program left to the Research and Innovation Office within WA Health.

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Research translation is key

Proposals must be from an eligible funding partner, such as a non-government organisation, a charitable organisation or the private sector. Expressions of interest can be submitted at any time with the Co-FPP currently expected to be open on a continuous basis. Assessments of the expressions of interest will be undertaken throughout the year.

A government spokesperson said that a provisional funding pool has been set aside from the FHRI Fund but did not disclose the value. The FHRI fund is currently worth around $1.5 billion but only the yearly investment income is made available for research and innovation programs. For the period 2021-22, this income was estimated to be $32.4 million.

The state government has committed $22.8 million through FHRI fund programs announced in financial year 2021-22 so far. According to the 2022-23 budget, the fund’s investment income is expected to be $36.4 million over financial year 2022-23 before declining to less than $30 million in each of the next three years.

Minister for Medical Research and Innovation and ICT Stephen Dawson said that the scheme would help increase support for the health and medical ecosystem.

“We are looking to form strategic funding partnerships to help drive positive health outcomes for the Western Australian community. The program has been designed to provide a mechanism for funding partners to co-fund FHRI Fund research and innovation activities that are working toward common goals,” Mr Dawson said.

“The Co-Funding Partnership Program will increase the funding available for health and medical research and innovation of benefit to WA by enabling collaboration between partners with a shared vision.”

Similar funding partnerships facilitated by the Research and Innovation Office at WA Health include the WA Child Research Fund co-funded by the Department of Health and Channel 7 Telethon Trust as well as the Clinician Research Fellowships co-funded by the FHRI Fund and the Raine Medical Research Foundation.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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