29 October 2021

As advised in August 2021, NHMRC is entering the final phase of replacing its Research Grants Management System (RGMS) with Sapphire. Deployment of the remaining Sapphire Post Award modules (Releases 2 and 3) is planned for early November 2021 and December 2021, pending final testing.  This follows the successful deployment of Sapphire Select and Post Award Release 1 functions in September 2021, including outcome notifications and documentation as well as management of offers, at award milestones, variations and scientific reporting.

Post Award – Release 2

Post Award Release 2 will build on existing grant administration functions in Sapphire by introducing support for the following processes:

  • Grant payments - NHMRC will initially pilot grant payments in Sapphire with a small number of Medical Research Endowment Account (MREA) grants. NHMRC’s Research Administration team will work closely with the Administering Institutions for these grants to ensure continuity of payments, provide relevant information and support, and seek feedback as part of the pilot. Payments for all other grants will then transition from RGMS to Sapphire from early 2022, subject to pilot outcomes, and 
  • Internal (NHMRC) grant reporting.

No action is required of Administering Institutions, Eligible Organisations or researchers ahead of this release apart from noting the changes to RGMS and reminder outlined below. The deployment date for Post Award Release 2 will be advised via RAO Alert once confirmed.

Post Award – Release 3

Planned for release in December 2021, Post Award Release 3 will deliver support for acquittals and financial statements. Following this release, involving the transfer of legacy data to Sapphire, users will no longer be able to access RGMS and Sapphire will be unavailable for a period while RGMS data is migrated to Sapphire. Acquittals and financial statements, along with all other grant management functions, will then be managed in Sapphire for all grants from early 2022. 

Further detail including the deployment date for Post Award Release 3 will be advised in due course.

Variation requests in RGMS

In preparation for the transfer of all RGMS data to Sapphire later this year, the process for submitting variation requests in RGMS will change from 3 November 2021 as follows:

  • Up until 3 November 2021 – variation requests will continue to be created, accepted and managed in RGMS.
  • From 3 November 2021 until early 2022 – creation of new variation requests will occur via an off system process.
  • Variation requests that have been created before 3 November but which are yet to submitted to NHMRC in RGMS must either be completed and submitted to NHMRC in RGMS by 12 November or will need to be recreated using the off-system process.

A form will be made available on the NHMRC website for CIAs to complete and submit their variation request to their RAOs to certify and email to NHMRC’s Research Administration team at postaward.management@nhmrc.gov.au 

It is important to note that this change only applies to grants created and managed in RGMS and is an interim measure until all RGMS data has been migrated to Sapphire. There is accordingly no change to the variation process for grants created and managed in Sapphire.

Other RGMS processes

As with variations, cut off dates in November will apply to acceptances, financial reports, scientific reports and milestones/conditions in RGMS to enable the transfer of associated data to Sapphire leading up to Post Award Release 3. Dates and interim arrangements for each of these processes will be advised in the coming weeks.

Reminder - Institutional Accounts in Sapphire

Institutions are reminded that each key contact nominated by Administering Institutions (i.e. the primary Research Administration Officer (RAO), the Responsible Officer (RO), the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the Finance Officer (FO)) must have their own Sapphire account to perform Select and Post Award functions associated with their role.

Please refer to the advice provided by NHMRC previously for instructions on how to confirm and update these account holder details. Answers to commonly asked questions about setting up institutional accounts are also available on the Sapphire Help page under ‘Account’.

Please contact the Research Help Centre at help@nhmrc.gov.au for further information or assistance.