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NHMRC

Project Grants

The objective of the Project Grants scheme is to support the creation of new knowledge by funding the best investigator-initiated research project plan of five years, or less, in any area relevant to human health.

A Project Grant application must outline a research proposal that describes the investigation of a new research idea/s. The proposal must support a particular set of aims and the budget must be directed to those aims. Single investigators or teams of up to ten chief investigators are supported as well as New Investigators (early career investigators).

Apply for funding

The NHMRC’s Research Grants Management System (RGMS) must be used to access/update your Profile and CV and to submit your Project Grant application.

Applicants who are not yet registered with RGMS, should contact the Research Help Centre on help@nhmrc.gov.au for more information.

A complete Project Grant application must consist of the following:

  1. Completion of Parts A and B (including the Grant Proposal PDF template) of the application form; and
  2. The relevant information in your RGMS Profile and CV.

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

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

Minimum Data Requirements

For each application, it is mandatory that minimum data requirements be entered in RGMS by 17:00 hrs AEDT on 18 February 2015 to allow the NHMRC to start sourcing suitable assessors. Applications that fail to satisfy this requirement will not be accepted. Applicants are also reminded to complete the recommended fields below with correct information. Using placeholder text such as “text”, “synopsis” or “xx” etc. are not acceptable as minimum data.

Minimum data for the Project Grants scheme consists of the following:

  • A-PA Home: Specifically, Administering Institution, Application Title, Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Research and Synopsis;
  • A-RC Research Classification; and
  • B-AIProj: Application Information: Specifically, New Investigator.

Key Dates

The key dates for the Project Grants 2015 funding round are as follows:

17 December 2014Application information and templates available14 January 2015Applications open in RGMS21 January 2015
at 17:00 hrs AEDTDeadline for submission of New Investigator online forms to NHMRC18 February 2015
at 17:00 hrs AEDTDeadline for entering minimum data requirements in RGMS18 March 2015
at 17:00 hrs AEDTApplications close in RGMS1 June – 9 June 2015 or
22 June to 30 June 2015Approximate dates for Applicant’s response (rebuttal)4 September 2015Completion of Peer Review9 September 2015Expected release of NFFC outcomesOctober/November 2015Funding Announcement

Changes to Project Grants for 2015

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

  • Applications which fail to complete minimum data by 17:00 hrs AEDT on 18 February 2015, or any applications initiated after this date/time cannot be submitted for review;
  • Changes have been made to New Investigator Eligibility (see Section 5.1.3 of the Project Grants Funding Rules);
  • Chief Investigator A (CIA) Citizenship Waivers are no longer required. For eligibility requirements regarding citizenship / residency see Section 7.2.4 of the NHMRC Funding Rules;
  • The Assessment Criteria for Health and Medical Research of Indigenous Australians has been revised (see Section 6.2 of the NHMRC Funding Rules); and
  • Assessment Criteria Category Descriptors have been revised (Attachment A of the Project Grants Funding Rules).

Applicant Response (rebuttal) Periods

The anticipated timeframes for Applicant Responses in 2015 are:

For applications being reviewed in Weeks 1-3:

  • Reports expected to be released 01 - 09 June
  • Expected due dates for reports 11 - 19 June

For applications being reviewed in Weeks 4-6:

  • Reports expected to be released 22 - 30 June
  • Expected due dates for reports 02 - 10 July

The dates are indicative of the earliest and latest possible dates that assessor comments will be released. Assessor comments will be released before 2pm on a Monday, Tuesday or Friday throughout this period to ensure rebuttal submission dates do not fall on a weekend.  The actual date of release is dependent on the receipt of all assessor reports for the application. Applicants will be notified by email when their assessor comments are available and will have up to 10 days to complete their rebuttal response. Applicant requests for NHMRC to move applications between rebuttal periods cannot be met as allocation is based on the week in which the application will be reviewed.

Applicants should notify NHMRC via email at projects@nhmrc.gov.au immediately should they find a discrepancy with or have a concern regarding the appropriateness of the assessor comments.

Not for Further Consideration (NFFC) Process

Summary of NFFC process and outcomes

The Not for Further Consideration (NFFC) process was introduced into the peer review of Project Grants in 2010. This process identifies and removes the least competitive applications received by NHMRC based on initial scores provided by the primary and secondary spokespersons. A summary of the overall process is outlined below:

Outcomes of the 2015 NFFC process are expected to be released on 9 September 2015. Applicants who did not progress past the NFFC stage will be notified of their outcome letter availability in RGMS via email.

2015 External Assessor’s Briefing Pack

Additional Advice for the Peer Review of Applications

CI Time Commitment - Further Clarification

To further clarify recent advice, we can confirm that applicants do not need to fill in the CI Time Commitment SECTION of the Grant Proposal.  Leave it blank.  This change is effective immediately.

Further advice on the assessment of Early Career Researchers (ECRs)

In 2015, the NHMRC Project Grants Category Descriptors have been amended to encourage and support the inclusion of ECRs as part of the Chief Investigator team. To this end, when assessing the Team Quality & Capability criteria, assessors will need to take into account the contribution of junior members and their capability and/or capacity to undertake the proposed research under the guidance (mentoring) of experienced members of the research team.

Further advice on preparing your Career Disruption Claim

As stated at Section 6.1.1 of the NHMRC Funding Rules 2015, career disruptions are only applicable for:

  • Pregnancy;
  • Major illness; or
  • Carer responsibilities including parental leave and care for immediate family (e.g. spouse, children or elderly parent).

To minimise the information applicants need to include within the Grant Proposal, we provide the following advice:

  • To ensure consistency, all applicants claiming a career disruption (including sensitive career disruptions) should complete the career disruption table provided in the Project Grants Grant Proposal template (see Documentation to Apply for a Project Grant below).
  • Detailed explanation of your career disruption is not necessary – basic facts are sufficient.  Applicants following the sensitive career disruption process simply state “sensitive career disruption” in the “work status” field within the table but still provide all other details.
  • Ensure you include additional publications, presentations etc. that you want considered in the years prior to 2010 (time period to correlate with duration of your career disruption) within your list of references.
  • If you have had an extended career disruption commencing prior to 2010 and ending within the last 5 years, it is advised that you briefly explain this in your application and nominate additional research achievements for the most recent year(s) without a career disruption.

For example, Person X had a career disruption due to illness which lasted 2 years from 2009-2010.

  • The career disruption that meets NHMRC policy is only valid for one year (2010 which is within the last 5 years).  Therefore, one year should be added to their track record.
  • In this case, Person X would normally provide their research achievements for 2009.
  • However, given that the career disruption included 2009,  there would be no additional research achievements for 2009. In this instance, Person X would also provide research achievement details for 2008 (the last full time equivalent year worked prior to the career disruption).

Note:  Applicants that have other circumstances that impact their track record (relative to opportunity) can record this information as part of their overall Track Record in the last 5 years under the CI Track Record, including the Top 5 publications in the last 5 years section of the Grant Proposal template.

Changes to New Investigator eligibility process for 2015 Project Grants

Significant changes have been made to the New Investigator eligibility process for the 2015 Project Grants funding round. Applicants will now be required to complete the New Investigator online eligibility form. The early application and notification process is intended to allow applicants time to adjust the CI team if they do not meet the eligibility criteria. For further information refer to the Additional Guidance document (see below).

For further information on the New Investigator eligibility criteria see the NHMRC Funding Rules 2015 incorporating the Project Grants scheme-specific funding rules, Section 5.1.3.

Please note: the deadline for submission of New Investigator eligibility forms has passed. As such, the form is no longer available.

Documentation to Apply for a Project Grant

Research Classification Guide including Broad Research Area, Fields of Research & NHMRC Keyword ⁄ Phrases

Applications in Indigenous Health and Well-being

Five Year Project Grants

In 2014 there was a significant increase in the number of applications seeking five years of funding, from 192 applications in 2013 to 433 in 2014.  Of the 433 applications submitted, 71 were successful in being granted five years funding (16.4%).

Clinical Trials

NHMRC will only be able to fund a limited number of clinical trials and may require applicants to find co-funding as a prerequisite for NHMRC support if Clinical Trials Peer Review Panel members determine that this is warranted. See Section 6.2.3 of the Project Grants Funding Rules for additional details.

Funding by Other Organisations

External Funding Schemes

In 2015, organisations offering funding through the NHMRC Project Grants scheme include:

While the funding of applications is managed by the external funding organisation, NHMRC conducts the peer review process. Applicants may select one or more funding organisation/s on their application form to indicate that the application/s are to be forwarded to the organisation for consideration of funding. NHMRC is unable to forward the application to an external funding organisation without the applicant’s permission. Following the peer review of applications NHMRC provides the nominated organisation/s with the outcomes of the assessment process for applications that are considered fundable, but not funded by NHMRC. Any additional/supplementary questions required by the organisation are to be submitted directly to that funding organisation.

For more information on how to apply for funding from these external funding parties, applicants should refer to their websites and to the Project Grants Funding Rules.

Gap Funding

External organisations may have funding available to support research in specific areas and use the NHMRC Project Grants scheme to identify such projects. External organisations that have expressed an interest in providing funding for suitable Project Grant applications are:

Gap funding is aimed at supporting fundable research proposals that are unsuccessful through the NHMRC Project Grants scheme. Applications that address specific research areas identified by the funding organisation may be funded through this mechanism. The decision to ‘gap-fund’ a fundable Project Grant application that is not funded by NHMRC, is made by the partner organisation which may request additional information from potentially suitable applicants. The duration, budget and award requirements for gap funding will vary according to the organisation.

Recent Outcomes

Further information

If you require more information, direct your inquiry to your administering institution Research Administration Office in the first instance. If you require further assistance contact the Research Help Centre on 1800 500 983, or email help@nhmrc.gov.au.

Page last updated on 23 June 2015