18 May 2020

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

Sapphire Update
The Sapphire performance issues experienced last week have been resolved. NHMRC has increased automated monitoring systems for detecting changes in Sapphire performance.

NHMRC is aware some users continue to experience difficulties with some functions, such as receiving or accepting invitations to be a Chief Investigator or Associate Investigator on an application. Resolutions are being tested and we anticipate providing an update this week.

Please contact the Research Help Centre via email for further information or assistance.

Eligibility - Investigator Grant awardees applying for Ideas Grants
Recipients of NHMRC and MRFF Investigator Grants are reminded that as per section 4.3 of the Investigator Grants 2020 Grant Guidelines, CIs (CIA-CIJ) who concurrently (in the same funding round) apply for an Investigator Grant and an Ideas Grant and are successful with both applications, will only be offered the Investigator Grant.

As such, recent Investigator Grant awardees are encouraged to remove themselves from any active Ideas Grants applications. If they do not, the entire Ideas Grant application will be ruled ineligible and removed from the round as per sections 4.3.1 and 4.3.2 of the Investigator Grants 2020 Grant Guidelines.

Further to this, section 4.3.1 of the 2020 Ideas Grant Guidelines states that researchers may only submit two applications across the Investigator, Synergy and Ideas Grant schemes in any given funding round.

Therefore, if a researcher applied for an Investigator Grant in the 2020 round, regardless of the outcome, their application counts toward the total number of applications they are able to submit across the above schemes in the 2020 rounds.  This limit is to help ensure equitable access across the research sector

Ideas Grants application dates
NHMRC Ideas Grant scheme dates for 2020 are as follows:

  • Round closes on Wednesday 10 June 2020.


Ideas Grants Minimum Data compliance checks
Following the Ideas Grants Minimum Data deadline on 15 May 2020, 3,489 applications were entered into Sapphire. NHMRC is currently running Minimum Data compliance checks on the applications lodged, and are planning to notify CIAs of applications that were non-compliant at Minimum Data via email within the next week.

Ideas Grants Peer Review Processes
In light of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, NHMRC has made changes to how applications will be assessed in the 2020 Ideas Grants round. Please visit NHMRC’s website for details.

NHMRC is currently finalising membership requirements.  NHMRC is very appreciative of the willingness of the sector to make themselves available for peer review.  Not everyone who expressed an interest can be appointed to participate, as membership requirements depend on the number and spread of applications received, as well as the results of the conflict of interest and suitability survey results, which prospective members will be asked to complete in late June. Final appointments will be made after this process.

Postgraduate Scholarship applicants: new user account registrations

NHMRC’s Research Help Centre (RHC) is experiencing a very high volume of new user account registration requests for Sapphire.
Applicants to the Postgraduate Scholarship scheme who do not yet have a Sapphire account must lodge their user request form with RHC no later than 5pm AEST Monday 2 June 2020.  Failure to do so may result in their application not proceeding.

Applicants should allow up to 72 hours for account activation to occur.

Featuring research outcomes
If you have a publication that acknowledges NHMRC as a funder please let us know so we can tweet about it.

  • tweet including @NHMRC and #NHMRCresearch and we’ll retweet or
  • submit your details on NHMRC’s website and we’ll write a tweet.

Key application dates

Funding scheme

Open date

Minimum data due

Applications close

GACD- Cancer Prevention Call




Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grants




Ideas Grants




Special Initiative in Mental Health




2020 Partnership Projects PRC1




Postgraduate Scholarships




2020 Partnership Projects PRC2




*NB schemes are in order of opening dates