Program Grants

The aim of the Program Grants scheme is to provide support for teams of high calibre researchers to pursue broad based, multi-disciplinary and collaborative research activities. Teams will be expected to contribute to new knowledge at a leading international level in important areas of health and medical research. The scheme is available for all research approaches relevant to better health - biomedical, clinical, public health or health services research and is typically for 5 years.

Applying for Funding

The NHMRC’s Research Grants Management System (RGMS) must be used to access/update your CV and profile and to submit your Program Grant application. If they have not already done so, applicants are advised to gain an RGMS account and commence their CV and profile.

Applicants who are not yet registered on RGMS should contact the Research Help Centre on for more information.

Prior to submission of an application for Program Grant funding, applicants need to ensure they have:

  • read all relevant reference material; and
  • liaised with their Administering Institution to identify any specific requirements that the Institution might have.

Key dates

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

  • 25 March 2015 – Round open.
  • 5PM AEST 6 May 2015 – Minimum Data Due in RGMS – 1700hrs (5pm) AEST.
  • 5PM AEST 20 May 2015 – Applications close.
  • 11:59 PM, 1 July 2015 – Deadline to provide NHMRC with interview time preference.
  • August 2015 – Applicants notified of shortlisting outcome; shortlisted applicants invited to interview.
  • 11.59PM, 14 September 2015 – Deadline for CIs to provide one-page Research Achievements update.
  • Week commencing 21 September 2015 – Applicant team interviews for shortlisted applicants.
  • Nov-Dec 2015* – Funding outcomes announced and offers of funding made to successful applicants.
  • 27 February 2016 – Final date to accept offers of funding.
  • 1 January 2017 – Funding for successful applications scheduled to commence.

Changes to the Program Grant scheme for 2015

Applicants should note the following changes to the Program Grants scheme-specific Funding Rules for 2015:

  • Description and Objectives of the scheme have been clarified
  • Opening and closing dates, and dates for assessment steps, including applicant team interviews, have been brought forward by approximately one month, relative to 2014
  • Applicants must enter minimum data into the Research Grants Management System (RGMS) by 5.00 pm AEST on 6 May 2015
  • Eligibility rules relating to citizenship and residency in Australia have been revised
  • NHMRC time commitment is no longer an eligibility issue and full time/part time CI status has been removed
  • ‘Additional Personnel’ are renamed Associate Investigators
  • Applicants must submit a Project Grant Variation Agreement upon application
  • The Assessment Criteria for Health Research Involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have been revised
  • All Chief Investigators must attend interviews at their own expense.
  • Introduction of a seven point scoring system, with Category Descriptors.

Project Grant relinquishment for Program Grant eligibility

NHMRC’s Grant Variations Policy takes effect on 1 July 2015.

It has been drawn to NHMRC’s attention that the timing of the release of the new Grant Variations Policy (the Policy) is impacting upon Program Grant applicants in the current round (for funding commencing in 2017). Consequently, NHMRC will be flexible in implementing the Policy for these applicants only, and allow successful Program Grant applicants in the current round to submit a variation request for all Project Grants they are no longer eligible to hold.

Program Grant applicants in the 2015 round for funding commencing in 2017

The Program Grant rule that specifies Program Grant Chief Investigators are not permitted to hold or apply for more than one Project Grant is long standing policy and has not changed. To ensure all applicants are aware of Chief Investigators’ current Project Grant commitments, NHMRC requires Program Grant applicants in the current round to complete the Project Grant Variation Agreement form. Successful applicants will not be required to relinquish Project Grants, but will be permitted to submit a grant variation request for the nominated Project Grants they are no longer eligible to hold.

Program Grants awarded in 2014 for funding commencing in 2016

For Program Grants commencing funding in 2016, the 2014 NHMRC Funding Rules (section 5.1.2) allow Program Grant holders to submit variation requests for all Project Grants they are no longer eligible to hold.

Documentation to Apply for a Program Grant

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.

Program Grants External Assessor’s Briefing Pack

Program Grants Quanta

Program Grants are awarded on the basis that recent past achievements are the best indicators of future performance. This is why the selection criteria award 60% of available points to each Chief Investigator’s record of research achievement.

The budget for Program Grants is also based on this philosophy. Program Grant budgets are not based on the cost of the proposed research and applicants do not submit budget requests; instead, each CI attracts a quantum of funding based on assessment of their track record, as indicated by their individual score for Research Achievements. The budgets offered will generally equate to the sum of the quanta for all CIs on the application.

The 2015 Program Grants quanta rates are provided below as a guide to assist applicants considering a submission to the 2015 round.

Research Achievements score range Quanta Level 2015 annual rate*
6.501 – 7.000 4 $534,816
5.501 – 6.500 3 $460,321
4.501 – 5.500 2 $381,375
3.501 – 4.500 1 $299,097
1.000 – 3.500 0 Nil

* Program Grant budgets may be indexed 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

Archived Documentation for the Previous Round