2018 RART Projects

The MACH presented funding opportunities for researchers across its partnership through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Rapid Applied Research Translation (RART) grants scheme. It ultimately funded four research projects, which were completed at the end of 2018.


These projects were aligned with the Medical Research and Innovation Priorities 2016-2018 and the Medical Research and Innovation Strategy 2016-2021 and demonstrated clear evidence of translational outcomes to with an aim of improving health outcomes and driving health system reform.

The aim of this funding scheme was to:

  • improve patient experience by improving care pathways and service connections;

  • reduce unwarranted variation in healthcare and patient outcomes;

  • improve the health of certain at-risk groups in Australia, such as Indigenous Australians; and

  • support innovative clinical trials.


The MACH offered these funding opportunities to MACH partner-affiliated researchers to support translational research projects that would produce tangible outcomes of value to the health system within the short period of 12 months.


Explore our projects

Prof Jo Douglass

MACH Partners: Austin Health, Melbourne Health, Northern Health, University of Melbourne, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Western Health

Project titleMelbourne Thunderstorm

Epidemic of Asthma:

Solving the puzzle

In 2016, Melbourne suffered an asthma epidemic resulting the activation of disaster codes, overwhelmed emergency services and the deaths of 10 people. To be better prepared for the reoccurrence of such an epidemic, this project determines and monitors those at risk, tracks how air quality impacts them, and extends our ability to provide pollen warnings across additional states in Australia. This study will enable Government and health professionals to provide evidence-based, targeted advice to people with grass pollen allergy on the risks of thunderstorm asthma and to invest in evidence-based treatment and warning systems to avert a repeat of this disaster.

Prof Mingguang He

MACH Partners: Centre for Eye Research Australia, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, University of Melbourne

Project titleArtificial intelligence-assisted opportunistic screening of diabetic retinopathy at endocrinology clinics

Vision impairment and blindness are major public health problems in Australia with over 50% of the blindness in those aged over 40 years being caused by just three diseases. This project uses artificial intelligence to examine retinal photographs to screen patients for these such diseases before symptoms are noticeable. Given the economic impact of vision impairment and blindness, the successful deployment of these new techniques will significantly improve many patient’s health outcomes.

Prof Andrea Maier

MACH Partners: Melbourne Health, Northern Health, University of Melbourne, Western Health

Project titleEnhancing Muscle POWER in Geriatric Rehabilitation: EMPOWER-GR

The worldwide population is ageing and it is expected that the proportion of people aged 60 years and above will triple over the next 30 years. Sarcopenia – low muscle mass – is a significant problem for us as we age and is often undiagnosed, leading to serious falls, morbidity and even death. The project gathers evidence on the prevalence of sarcopenia across multiple health services in addition to establishing a biobank of blood and muscle/skin samples. This will help researchers better understand loss of muscle mass to address sarcopenia through interventions and educational programs for healthcare professionals.

Prof Ingrid Scheffer AO

MACH Partners:  Austin Health, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Royal Children's Hospital, The University of Melbourne, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

Project titleDeveloping precision medicine for the developmental and epileptic encephalopathies

This project explores which genes are involved in epileptic encephalopathies – severe epilepsies that begin in infancy and childhood with devastating outcomes – and, of those, which ones might provide opportunities for new therapies. Stem cells derived from the patient group will be utilised to safely test new pharmaceutical treatments. This project will have significant impact for epilepsy patients and families, enabling a specific diagnosis for affected individuals in whom a genetic mutation is identified.


MACH is an NHMRC recognised Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre.

The mission of MACH is to improve health and wellbeing by integrating medical research, education and clinical care.


187 Grattan Street

Carlton, VIC 3053


+61 (0)3 9035 4960



MACH acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which it works, the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation, and pay respects to its elders past, present and emerging.

All content copyright © 2020 the Melbourne Academic Centre for Health