The Murdoch Children's Research Institute has welcomed the opening of the first genomics mission competitive grants round to focus on research into cancers, children's illnesses and diseases with low survival rates.

The $65 million competitive grants are part of the $500 million Australian Genomics Health Futures Mission (GHFM), drawn from the $1.3 billion National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan.

The mission's Expert Advisory Committee will be supported by a new genomics scientific subcommittee to be chaired by MCRI Director Professor Kathryn North.

"Genomics is the foundation of precision medicine which means faster diagnosis and targeted treatment to improve health outcomes," Prof North said.

"Genomics technology will enable practitioners to tailor treatment for each patient, monitor and manage risk, and potentially cure a wide range of diseases."

Grants funding will be available over three years from 2019–20 to 2021–22 for research into:

  • Cancers (including lung cancer and mesothelioma) and diseases with high mortality and low survivability ($15 million);
  • Paediatric acute care genomic research for critically ill children ($15 million); and
  • Ethical, legal and social issues related to genomics in health care ($3.7 million).

Funding will also be available over four years from 2019-20 to 2022-23 for flagships for pathogen genomics, including infectious respiratory diseases ($32 million).

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that he would adopt the full recommendations of the GHFM Expert Advisory Committee, saying he was excited about bringing the 'the promise of genomics' to all Australians.

"What we do today needs to protect and save lives and set us on the right path so we arrive where we need to be in 10 years," said Minister Hunt.

"That means we must look at what our priorities should be to deliver for today and our 10 year vision."

The grants open on 28 March 2019 and the Flagships: Pathogen Genomics Grants will open on 14 May 2019. The Guidelines are available on the Grant Connect website.