Grants announced for COVID-19 treatments and female founders


The Australian Government has announced $13 million to fast-track research and development of treatments for COVID-19 (coronavirus) and has opened the Boosting Female Founders Initiative with $6 million to launch and scale businesses into domestic and global markets.

COVID-19 funding

The two open, competitive grants include $8 million to identify and develop antiviral therapies for people infected with COVID-19 and $5 million for clinical trials to better treat and manage COVID-19 patients with severe acute respiratory distress.

This funding is from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and is in addition to the $2 million already allocated from the MRFF for research into a vaccine against COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global health emergency, which continues to escalate. Australian life sciences contains outstanding talent, who are working diligently towards global efforts to control the outbreak and save lives.

Australian life sciences is a thriving and mature sector, with a well-deserved global reputation as a leading location for innovations to be developed into real-world solutions via industry. The treatments under development could be crucial to saving the lives of people affected by COVID-19, especially vulnerable people such as the elderly, people with compromised immune systems and people with chronic illnesses.

In the antiviral development grant opportunity, $3 million will initially be provided to test up to 10 antiviral therapies to test proof of concept. A further $5 million will then be available for the rapid advancement of the most promising candidates to clinical practice, for example through human clinical trials in, progression through regulatory pathways and commercialisation.

The respiratory medicine grant opportunity opened on 23 March 2020, and the antiviral grant opportunity will open on 25 March 2020.

Both grants will be managed by the National Health and Medical Research Council. For more information visit GrantConnect.

Boosting Female Founders Initiative – Round 1 open

Grants between $25,000 and $480,000 for female-founded start-ups are being provided to expand into domestic and global businesses.

The Boosting Female Founders Initiative (the Initiative) – Round 1 will help female entrepreneurs overcome the disadvantages they face in getting access to finance and support, to grow their start-ups.

The $18 million initiative will run over three years from 2020-21 to 2022-23. For this round, $6 million is available.

The grant opportunity will be delivered through a two-stage competitive selection process due to the expected high demand for this programme.

The grants will be available on a co-contribution basis and in two tiers:

  • Tier one - $25,000 to $100,000 ($140,000 if you meet additional requirements); and,
  • Tier two - $100,001 to $400,000 ($480,000 if you meet additional requirements).

AusBiotech responded to the Female Founders consultation in October 2019. Read the submission here.

Check eligibility criteria and apply here.