11 March 2020

Tracker is a fortnightly email newsletter that informs the Australian research community about major NHMRC activities and funding opportunities

Consumer involvement in research  
Consumers and community members can be actively involved throughout the research process and this can lead to quality research that meets the needs of the community.

The Toolkit for Consumer and Community Involvement in Health and Medical Research, comprising five individual resources, was released on 23 January 2020 and is now available on the NHMRC website.

Synergy Grants 2020 update
The Synergy Grant scheme for funding commencing in 2021 opened in Sapphire on 26 February 2020.
Key dates:

  • Minimum data is due by 5:00pm AEDT on 25 March 2020.
  • Applications close at 5:00pm AEST on 22 April 2020.

Investigator Grants 2020 update 
The Assessments for the Investigator Grants 2020 round have been received.

Assessment of applications submitted under the MRFF Priority Round is underway.

Panel members are reminded of the importance of confidentiality of the peer review process.

NHMRC would like to thank all members for their assistance this year and encourage them to provide feedback on their experience by completing the Investigator Grant Panel Member survey, to be released in the coming weeks.

Development Grants 2020 update 
The Development Grants Sapphire pilot continues in March 2020, with peer reviewers providing declarations for conflicts of interest and suitability using the Sapphire Assign module.

All peer reviewers have been contacted directly with information on activating their Sapphire account. If you have not received an email from NHMRC please contact the Development Grants team. Further details are available at the NHMRC website.

Ideas Grants application dates 
Applications open in Sapphire on 11 March 2020. Minimum data is due on 8 April 2020. Applications close on 6 May 2020. The Grant Guidelines (including category descriptors) for the Ideas Grant scheme will be available on GrantConnect when the round opens.

Ideas Grants peer review membership
NHMRC will review its peer review membership requirements following the minimum data due date. Please advise NHMRC as soon as possible of any changes to your availability for peer review. Confirmation of panel appointments will be made following the results of the conflict of interest and suitability survey, which prospective members will undertake in May.

Sapphire update
Following the launch of Sapphire on 24 February, applications for all future grant opportunities will be received in Sapphire. Researchers should confirm their Profile data migrated from RGMS is complete and up-to-date in Sapphire. A summary of the key changes in your Sapphire Profile and NHMRC’s recommendations for checking your profile data is available here.

Please contact the Research Help Centre or 1800 500 983 with any questions or concerns.

Follow NHMRC_Sapphire on Twitter to keep informed on Sapphire updates, help, and hints and tips.

NHMRC participation in the 2020 e-ASIA Joint Research Program
NHMRC is participating in the 2020 e-ASIA Joint Research Program (JRP) 9th call for research proposals in the fields of Health Research (infectious diseases, cancer and mental health), and Environment (human health impacts of climate change).

To be eligible to apply for NHMRC funding, a research project must consist of Australian researchers partnering with at least two research teams from participating e-ASIA member organisations.

Details of the 9th call and participating member organisations is available at the e-ASIA website. NHMRC will accept applications from Australian researchers partnering with e-ASIA research teams from 11 March 2020. Applications must be submitted via NHMRC’s Sapphire online grant management system by 29 April 2020.

NHMRC-ERC Implementing Arrangement call for expressions of interest 
NHMRC-funded researchers can apply to work with European research teams for up to a year during their grant period. Information about the current opportunities can be found here. Contact ERC for further details.

Release of the Collaborative Research Guide
NHMRC, together with the Australian Research Council (ARC) and Universities Australia (UA) recently released the Collaborative Research Guide, which supports the implementation of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (the Code).

Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grants 2020 update
The Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grant scheme for funding commencing in 2021 is now open. Minimum data is due 01 April 2020 and applications close 29 April 2020.

Further details are available on GrantConnect and the NHMRC website.

Please contact the Research Help Centre on 1800 500 983 or email help@nhmrc.gov.au for further information or assistance.

Targeted Call for Research into End of Life Care – Forecast Opportunity 
The Forecast Opportunity for the Targeted Call for Research (TCR) into End of Life Care 2020 is available on GrantConnect.

The Grant Opportunity will be available on GrantConnect on 25 March 2020 when the scheme opens to accept applications. An RAO Alert will be released at this time.

This TCR aims to identify best practice approaches to end of life care that are meaningful for patients, carers and families and coordinated within, and sustainable for, the health system.

Further details are available on the NHMRC website.

Case study—Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder 
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a lifelong condition characterised by severe neurodevelopmental impairments (with/without physical impairments) that results from prenatal alcohol exposure. Collaborative research efforts beginning with data from the first register of birth defects in Western Australia led to FASD being recognised as a public health issue in Australia.

NHMRC has partnered with the Telethon Kids Institute and The University of Sydney to produce a case study on FASD, from its recognition as a major birth anomaly, to research and development of resources to support affected children and their families.

NHMRC-funded research has contributed to capacity building, best practice in FASD diagnosis and management, and research that underpins initiatives for education and prevention.

More information can be found the NHMRC website.

Key application dates

Funding Scheme

Open Date

Minimum Data Due

Applications Close

GACD- Cancer Prevention Call




MRFF Emerging Priorities and Consumer Driven Research - 2020 Novel Coronavirus Vaccine Development




Synergy Grants




Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grants




Ideas Grants




2020 Partnership Projects PRC1




Postgraduate Scholarships




2020 Partnership Projects PRC2