FHRI Fund Priorities

Disbursements from Future Health Research and Innovation (FHRI) Fund investment income will be guided by a Strategy and Priorities. 

The Advisory Council for the FHRI Fund is responsible for developing Strategies and Priorities (noting that the Advisory Council was not formed in time to develop the inaugural Strategy and Priorities). The Department of Health then develops Programs and Initiatives that contribute to achieving one or more Priority and the Advisory Council provides a recommendation to the Minister for Health regarding whether these Programs and Initiatives should be approved. The Strategy, Priorities and Programs and Initiatives are approved by the Minister for Health. The FHRI Fund governance page provides further details about the roles and responsibilities for developing the Strategy and Priorities. Please see the expandable content at the bottom of this page for definitions of the Strategy, Priorities and Programs and Initiatives.

The inaugural (2020/21) FHRI Fund Priorities

Potential FHRI Fund Priorities and Programs and Initiatives were considered by the FHRI Fund Advisory Council at its first meeting, which was held on 30 November 2020. In December 2020, the Advisory Council proposed Research and Innovation Priorities and recommended Programs and Initiatives to the Minister for Health, which were subsequently approved and tabled in Parliament by the Minister. The FHRI Fund Programs and Initiatives page lists the approved 2020/21 Programs and Initiatives. The approved 2020/21 Priorities are presented below.


Research Priorities

Provide cash commitments for submission to major competitive co-funding programs, making Western Australian-led applications more competitive and, therefore, increasing the State's share of national and international competitive funding.
Support research translation to foster a vibrant research translation culture in the public health system, facilitate quantifiable buy-in from health system leadership and improve patient care and outcomes.
Build capacity in the collection, analysis and communication of health data to facilitate translational research projects aimed at producing health benefits for individuals and their families and improving the health system.
Provide opportunities for all clinicians to undertake research, helping them to build a long-term research career and provide opportunities to rapidly translate findings into better healthcare.
Determine a biobank model that meets WA research and innovation needs and that represents international best practice.
Enhance clinical trial capacity and expertise to improve the quality of clinical trials in Western Australia (WA) and make the state more attractive to funders of clinical trials (grant funding and commercial sponsors).


Innovation Priorities

Establish an innovation seed fund to support early stage ideas, which will attract at least 1:1 co-funding from other partners and will enable these innovative ideas to secure follow-on funding from commercial/other funders.
Provide funding for innovation partnerships that include health system employees, to encourage projects focused at health system priorities and aid the quicker translation into clinical and diagnostic practice.
Target high-performing innovators in WA to secure the State's long-term prominence in strategically important areas.
Provide mentoring support for early- and mid-career innovators, helping them to achieve independence more quickly and improving the quality and capacity of innovation in WA.
Enhance skills in innovation (including commercialisation), which will advance the quality and capacity of innovation in WA and help WA innovators to obtain funding to support their work.


Development of the Priorities

The process to determine the 2020/21 Priorities was completed following the successful passage of the Western Australian Future Health Research and Innovation Fund Act 2012 (the Act) in May 2020. Key elements of the process include:

  • Potential Priorities to be assessed in the Prioritisation Process were based on consultations that informed development of the Strategy and gathering and/or adaptation of potential Priorities from relevant reports and documents such as the Sustainable Health Review Final Report, the WA Health Digital Strategy, and the WA Data Linkage Review.
  • An online survey was used, through which expert assessors independently selected the potential Priorities that they believe are the most critical to achieving the vision of the Strategy.
  • Potential Research and Innovation Priorities were assessed separately.
  • 45 experts participated in the Prioritisation Process, including five consumers.
  • The top-ranked Research Priorities and Innovation Priorities were recommended by the Advisory Council to the Minister for Health for approval.

In addition to the Priorities approved by the Minister for Health in December 2020, the Act provides that in the first year of the FHRI Fund scheme (2020/21), priority will be given to Programs and initiatives that relate to human coronaviruses with pandemic potential. In this regard, the Department of Health implemented the FHRI Focus Grants: COVID-19 in September 2020.

The Western Australian Future Health Research and Innovation Fund Act 2012 (the Act) provides that the Governance Framework will include a requirement for the development of a Future Health Research and Innovation (FHRI) Fund Strategy and FHRI Fund Priorities and that these must be tabled in Parliament and published online.

The Governance Framework describes the Strategy, Priorities and Programs and Initiatives as follows:

The Strategy provides a high-level vision and goals for research and innovation in WA and forms the basis from which the Priorities are derived. The Advisory Council for the FHRI Fund leads development of the Strategy and the extensive consultations that inform this process. The Advisory Council recommends the Strategy to the Minister for Health for approval.

A Priority is an approach, need or opportunity that has been determined to be critical to achieving the vision of the Strategy that is in place at the time and that aligns with the purpose of the FHRI Fund, as described in the Object of the Act. The Priorities are prepared by the Advisory Council and subsequently provided to the Minister for Health for approval.

A Program or Initiative is a mechanism through which funding is directed to a specific purpose and that contributes to achieving one or more Priority. Programs and Initiatives are approved by the Minister for Health based on a proposal by the Director General of the Department of Health. However, the Act provides that the Minister for Health must seek a recommendation from the Advisory Council and consider the recommendation subsequently received before making, or applying FHRI Account moneys to, Programs and Initiatives in the financial year.

Last Updated: 02/06/2021