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Career Development Fellowships

The purpose of the Career Development Fellowships (CDF) scheme is to further develop Australian health and medical early to mid-career researchers. It aims to enable investigators to establish themselves as independent, self-directed researchers; expand capacity for biomedical, clinical, public health and health service delivery research, and for evidence-based policy development in Australian health systems; encourage the translation of research outcomes into practice; and bridge the gap between research and industry.

Key Dates

The key dates for the Career Development Fellowships 2014 application round for funding commencing in 2015 are:

  • Applications open: 22 January 2014
  • Applications close: 17:00 hrs (5:00pm) AEDT, 19 March 2014

Changes to Career Development Fellowships scheme for 2014

Several changes have been made to the Career Development Fellowships scheme including:

  • The Part-time Fellowship category has been adapted into a part-time option, which is able to be applied for, or taken up at any time, within any fellowship category.
  • The Bernie Banton Fellowship has been added to the CDF scheme (transferred from the Research Fellowship scheme).
  • The shortlisting step has been removed from the peer review process. ALL applications will be scored against the CDF Selection Criteria with only the top scoring 50% to be discussed by the panels at teleconference.

For a full list of changes to the Career Development Fellowships scheme, please refer to Section 3 of the Career Development Fellowships Funding Rules.

A Guide for Researchers Applying for Career Development Fellowships

Applications for appointment as Career Development Fellows are considered by peer review panels, whose task is to consider and rank the applicants. In doing so, they take into account all the material submitted by applicants (see the Selection Criteria and Scoring Matrix in the Career Development Fellowships Funding Rules).

NHMRC has been concerned about the rapid growth in the number of applicants in recent years, rising from 136 in 2002 to 345 in 2012 and 308 in 2013, the majority of whom are not competitive against the top applicants.

To help researchers contemplating applying for a Career Development Fellowship, NHMRC provides the below information on a “typical” successful applicant, to guide researchers who are deciding whether to apply. This was derived from information provided on the successful application forms received by NHMRC in 2011. These “typical characteristics” must not be regarded as a “bar” above which applications will be successful, because the peer review panels take into account all the selection criteria, and there are marked differences between even the top ranked individuals each year. These are produced as a guide to applicants.

In 2011, successful applicants typically, in the past 5 years, had:

  • published an average of 17 or more peer reviewed journal articles and two or more review articles or book chapters, with the peer review panel also taking into account first authorship and quality of the published work;
  • presented at international meetings at least twice;
  • obtained research funding as a first named Chief Investigator in a competitive granting scheme;
  • international postdoctoral experience;
  • led their own (small) research group.

Please note that this is a guide only and there are many variations to this profile, depending on individual achievements. Panels consider all achievements relative to opportunity.

Applying for Funding

The NHMRC’s Research Grants Management System (RGMS) must be used to access/update your CV and Profile, and submit your Career Development Fellowship application. Applicants who are not yet registered in RGMS should contact the Research Help Centre at for more information.

A complete Career Development Fellowship application consists of:

  1. Parts A and B of the application form including all required PDF uploads; and
  2. The relevant information in your RGMS Profile and CV.

Prior to submission, applicants are to ensure they:

  1. Read all relevant reference material;
  2. Liaise with their Administering Institution to identify any specific requirements that the institution may have; and
  3. Ensure their application is complete and correct. Once submitted to NHMRC, your application will be considered final and no changes can be accepted.

Applicants are advised to contact the Research Administration Officer at their Administering Institution early in the application process and are asked to direct any questions they may have to their Research Administration Officer.

Documentation to apply for a Career Development Fellowship

Further Information

If you require more information, direct your inquiry to your Research Administration Office in the first instance.

If you are unable to satisfy your concern by seeking assistance through your Administering Institution, please contact the Research Help Centre on 1800 500 983, or by email at


Page last updated on 14 November 2014