Australian researchers have been offered $2 million in federal funds for COVID-19 research.

“We are going to be putting that money into a competitive program to find a vaccine,” Mr Morrison has told reporters.

He made the announcement at the Peter Doherty Institute in Melbourne, where COVID-19 was grown in a laboratory outside of China for the first time.

“There are many research projects that are going on around the world to do this very task, and Australia is going to play its part in that process,” Mr Morrison said.

“We want to get as many of the brightest and smartest minds in Australia, working on this task.”

Researchers can apply for the money from the Medical Research Future Fund, adding to the work already being undertaken by the institute, CSIRO and University of Queensland.

Health Minister Greg Hunt says the money is for more research.

“We're providing an opportunity for additional funding over and above that which is already occurring,” he told reporters.

“We are hoping that funding will encourage even further work.”

He was asked why the money was not given to the expert groups already working on solutions.

He pointed to funding of $25 million over four years for the Victorian infectious diseases reference laboratory and $50 million offered through the National Health and Medical Research Council grants to the Peter Doherty Institute.

"We will certainly apply for this funding to boost our efforts to create a vaccine for this virus, which as of today, has infected more than 70,000 people across the globe," University of Melbourne Professor, and institute director, Sharon Lewin said.

The Medical Research Future Fund is expected to firm up the details of the grant process this week.

The NHMRC will advise the government on the merits of the research proposals.