17 December 2021

RGMS shutdown and extended Sapphire outage in January 2022

Further to the 2 December update and as advised in Tracker today, NHMRC anticipates deploying the final Post Award module of Sapphire in 2022. 

As a result and to enable the migration of grants from RGMS to Sapphire:

  • RGMS will cease to be available to research offices, researchers and other external users from 5 January 2022.
  • Sapphire will be unavailable for approximately one week in mid-January to allow for data migration. Anticipated dates for this outage are 14 to 20 January     inclusive.
  • Functionality that was originally planned to be deployed this year as part of the Post Award Release 3 module, allowing the submission and processing of financial statements and acquittals via Sapphire, will be introduced at a later date. 

NHMRC will advise Administering Institutions and Eligible Organisations of any changes to these dates. Outage dates will also be published via NHMRC’s Sapphire Twitter account and on the RGMS and Sapphire login pages.

While NHMRC had hoped to complete the transition from RGMS to Sapphire prior to the opening of grant opportunities in 2022, the timeframe has been extended to ensure that transferred data and new functionality in Sapphire can be thoroughly tested. In doing so, NHMRC is mindful of impacts on researchers and research offices, and is putting in place the following arrangements and recommendations to minimise disruption, as much as possible: 

  • MREA grant opportunities scheduled to open around the time of the planned Sapphire outage (Partnership Projects on 12 January and Investigator Grants on 19 January) will have soft openings on their advertised dates, with the release of grant guidelines on GrantConnect. Application forms in Sapphire will not be available until system access is restored, so applicants will initially need to work offline.
  • Applicants for MRFF grant opportunities whose application periods overlap with the Sapphire outage and researchers undertaking assessments or preparing for Grant Review Panel meetings should likewise plan to work offline for the duration of the Sapphire outage (e.g. by downloading copies of grant proposals and/or application assessment summaries in advance) unless advised otherwise via GrantConnect and secretariats. 
  • Interim post award arrangements currently in place for grants created in RGMS will continue to apply until advised otherwise by NHMRC.
  • Some January grant payments may be delayed until February. Should this be necessary, NHMRC will notify affected institutions and organisations.

Researchers and research office staff are also encouraged to take the following steps in preparation: 

  • System users who require access to RGMS data and/or are planning to undertake tasks in Sapphire in January should export the information and/or complete these tasks beforehand, where possible
  • Researchers who anticipate applying for a grant and do not have an existing Sapphire account should register for an account via the Sapphire Landing Page (select “I need to Register”) as soon as possible
  • Researchers should also check and, where necessary, update their peer review information (located under My Profile > Peer Review Information) in Sapphire by early January. Please note that the Australian Bureau of Statistics has updated its ‘Fields of Research’ categories, so there are additional Profile options to select and update. The information provided in Sapphire Profiles is a key factor in assigning applications to assessors, so it is important that researchers ensure this information is complete and correct. Instructions for updating Sapphire profiles are available in the Sapphire Knowledge Base, located under Researcher > My Profile.

RAOs are asked to disseminate this information to relevant staff and researchers as soon as possible.

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