2020 COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Research Grant

What is the 2020 COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Research Grant?

The MRFF 2020 COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Research Grant Opportunity is a program to accelerate the development of promising COVID-19 prophylactic vaccine candidates for which research and development is already underway. The prophylactic vaccine must be intended to induce active long-term immunity against COVID-19.



The vaccine candidate must have progressed beyond early or “developmental” stage research to pre-clinical or clinical investigation, and applicants must have already generated proof-of-concept data that supports pre-clinical or clinical development of the vaccine candidate. Applicants must also demonstrate access to critical resources necessary to complete the project in the stipulated timeframes.

The intended outcome of the research is to support rapid development of a safe and effective COVID-19 prophylactic (disease-preventing) vaccine, which induces active long-term immunity, within the next 12-18 months.

The 2020 COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Research Grant Opportunity will consist of a maximum of three Rounds. A round will comprise two application steps: expression of interest and full applications.



For this grant opportunity, up to $13.65 million of funding through the Medical Research Future Fund is available in 2020-21.

The maximum amount available for a single grant is $3 million.


Eligible Projects

To be eligible, activities in your proposal (expression of interest and full application) must clearly demonstrate their criticality in meeting objectives of the 2020 COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Research Grant Opportunity under section 1.3 of the guidelines. You can only spend grant funds to pursue the research activities described in your Grant Proposal. You can use the grant to pay costs that arise directly from these activities. The following categories must be used in your proposed budget:

  • Equipment
  • Personnel (Personnel Support Packages)
  • Other Direct Research Costs (DRCs).

Rules apply to each category of expenditure. Applicants are required to justify the budget requested for each year of the proposed research. Your budget, including your justification of the proposed expenditure, will be part of the value and risk assessment.


Eligible Applicants

To be eligible you must:

  • be an NHMRC approved Administering Institution
  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • be incorporated in Australia

and in accordance with s24 of the Medical Research Future Fund Act 20152, be one of the following entities:

  • a medical research institute
  • a university
  • a corporate Commonwealth entity
  • a corporation (including businesses and not for profits).

Joint expressions of interest/applications are encouraged, provided you have a lead organisation who is the main driver of the project and is eligible to apply.



Applications close 15 July 2020.


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