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.
Changes to Career Development Fellowships scheme for 2013
Several changes have been made to the Career Development Fellowships scheme including:
Two new categories of fellowship:
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Fellowships, and
- Part-Time Employment Fellowships.
- Professors are no longer eligible to apply for a CDF and Associate Professors are no longer eligible to apply for a CDF Level 1.
- Industry Placements are no longer part of the eligibility criteria.
- Multiple applications at a particular CDF Level are no longer accepted.
- Removal of external assessments and referee reports.
For a full list of changes to the Career Development Fellowships scheme, please refer to Part 2, Section 6 of the Career Development Fellowships Funding Rules.
Important information for 'Professorial level researchers'
Professorial researchers who are no longer eligible to apply to the CDF scheme due to the new eligibility restriction on researchers who hold a Professorial appointment, should consider applying for a Research Fellowship or Practitioner Fellowship. Applications to these Fellowship schemes are currently open and will close on 13 February 2013. However, if an applicant cannot meet the 13 February close date and requires an extension, they should contact their RAO. The RAO should email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to seek an extension on behalf of the applicant. Requests for an extension must be able to show that aside from their Professorial title, they would have otherwise been eligible to apply for a CDF. All requests for extensions will be considered on a case by case basis. Any extensions granted will be until 27 February 2013.
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, 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.
This guide will be updated every three years.
Statistics from 2012 Application Round for Funding Commencing in 2013
The following table shows the Career Development Fellowship success rates by category and level for the 2012 application round for funding commencing in 2013:
|Number of applications received||Number of applications funded||Percentage of applications funded|
|Biomedical Level 1||121||22||18.2%|
|Biomedical Level 2||63||11||17.5%|
|Clinical Level 1||43||8||18.6%|
|Clinical Level 2||24||4||16.7%|
|Population Health Level 1||52||9||17.3%|
|Population Health Level 2||31||6||19.4%|
|Population Health Subtotal||83||15||18.1%|
|Industry Level 1||7||1||14.3%|
|Industry Level 2||4||1||25.0%|
|Level 1 Subtotal||223||40||17.9%|
|Level 2 Subtotal||122||22||18.0%|
Application numbers in the 2011 application round were similar to those above.
Applying for Funding
The NHMRC’s Research Grants Management System (RGMS) must be used to access/enter 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 email@example.com for more information.
A complete Career Development Fellowship application consists of:
- Parts A and B of the application form including all required PDF uploads; and
- The relevant information in your RGMS Profile and CV.
Prior to submission, applicants are to ensure they:
- Read all relevant reference material;
- Liaise with their Administering Institution to identify any specific requirements that the institution may have; and
- 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.
The key dates for the Career Development Fellowships 2013 application round for funding commencing in 2014 are:
- Applications open: 15 January 2013
- Application close: 17:00 hrs (5:00 pm) AEDST, 6 March 2013
Documentation to apply for a Career Development Fellowship
- NHMRC Funding Rules incorporating the NHMRC Career Development Fellowships scheme for funding commencing in 2014 (PDF, 310KB)
- Career Development Fellowships Advice and Instructions to Applicants for funding commencing in 2014 (PDF, 273KB)
- For applicants wishing to apply for a Co-Funded Career Development Fellowship, the following document details current NHMRC Career Development Fellowship co-funding partners:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.