Early Career Fellowships

The purpose of NHMRC Early Career Fellowships (ECFs) is to provide opportunities for Australian researchers to undertake research that is both of major importance in its field and of benefit to Australian health.

A major objective of the scheme is to foster career development at the postdoctoral level by encouraging the beneficial experience of a different research environment.

ECFs provide for advanced training in health and medical research either in Australia or overseas (where appropriate), to enable Fellows to work on research projects with nominated advisers. Awards are offered to a limited number of persons of outstanding ability who wish to make research a significant component of their career.

Apply for funding

The NHMRC’s Research Grants Management System (RGMS) must be used to access/enter your CV and Profile, and submit your Early Career Fellowship application. Applicants that are not yet registered in RGMS should contact the Research Help Centre at help@nhmrc.gov.au for more information.

A complete ECF 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 Office (RAO) at their Administering Institution early in the application process and are asked to direct any questions they may have to their RAO.

Key Dates

The key dates for the ECF 2015 application round are as follows:

  • Applications open: 4 February 2015
  • Applications close: 1 April 2015 at 17:00 hrs (5:00pm) AEDT

Changes to the Early Career Fellowships for 2015

Several changes have been made to the Early Career Fellowships Scheme-Specific Funding Rules for funding commencing in 2016, as summarised below:

  • The types of documents that will be accepted as evidence of career disruption have been specified.
  • Part-time fellowships can now be applied for at up to 90% of a full-time position.
  • The citizenship requirement must be met at time of acceptance, rather than at commencement of an award.
  • Record of academic performance is no longer required as part of the application.
  • Wording has been added to clarify that successful applicants are expected to commence their fellowship on 1 January of the first year of the award.

For a full list of changes to the Early Career Fellowships scheme, please refer to Section 2 of the Early Career Fellowships Funding Rules.

Documentation to Apply for an Early Career Fellowship

These must be read in conjunction with the NHMRC Funding Rules 2015, NHMRC Advice and Instructions to Applicants 2015 and Guide to NHMRC Peer Review 2015, which have also been revised.

A Guide for researchers applying for Early Career Fellowships

Applications for Early Career Fellowships are considered by peer review panels, whose task is to discuss and score the applicants (see the Assessment Criteria and Scoring Matrix in the Early Career Fellowships Scheme-Specific Funding Rules). In doing so, they take into account all the material submitted by applicants.

To help researchers contemplating applying for an ECF, NHMRC is providing 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 as the range of output between individuals is evidently large. Peer review panels take into account all the assessment criteria as a whole prior to any decision making and there are marked differences between even the top ranked individuals each year.

Recent Outcomes

Further information

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

If you require assistance and are unable to satisfy your concern by seeking assistance through your administering institution contact the Research Help Centre on 1800 500 983, or email help@nhmrc.gov.au.