1 August 2022

Welcome to Tracker, National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) fortnightly newsletter, with the latest information on major activities and funding opportunities.

Pictured: Professor Anne Kelso AO, Professor Brett Mitchell, Hon Mark Butler MP and Professor Caroline Homer AO

First nurse to receive the Commonwealth Health Minister's Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research

Professor Brett Mitchell is the first nurse to receive the Commonwealth Health Minister's Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research. This Award is given annually to the top-ranked recipient of the Investigator Grant in the Emerging Leadership Level 2 category in the previous year’s round.

He is a Professor of Health Services Research and Nursing at Avondale University and received the 2021 Peter Doherty Investigator Grant Award (Emerging Leadership) for his work providing evidence for practical measures to reduce common infections, as well as improving cleaning in healthcare.

Find out more about Professor Mitchell’s research on the NHMRC news centre

Options to reach gender equity in the Investigator Grant scheme

NHMRC’s gender equity discussions started today in Brisbane. You can still attend in person in Townsville, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide, or join us via one of the online options. You can register to attend an event through the NHMRC news centre.

To understand the options presented and participate in the discussion, please read Discussion Paper: Options to reach gender equity in the Investigator Grant scheme.

We have collated a series of frequently asked questions about the options presented, please see this on the FAQ page.

If you are unable to participate in these events, you can still provide your feedback on the options by completing the online survey. The survey will be open until Tuesday 16 August 2022 17:00 AEST.

Ideas Grants peer review processes

Ideas Grants peer review assessments are due Sunday 7 August 2022. Peer reviewers should notify their secretariat as soon as possible if they will not be able to meet the assessment deadline.

Peer reviewers are required to provide a comment and score for each criterion, for each application they assess.  The de-identified comments will be visible to other assessors following the completion of the assessment period, and will be provided to applicants as part of their Application Assessment Summary documentation.

If peer reviewers have any questions about the assessment process, please contact your secretariat. Technical Sapphire enquiries should be directed to NHMRC's Research Help Centre.

Peer Review Mentors have been assigned to the 2022 Ideas Grants Scheme to assist peer reviewers in assessing Ideas Grant applications. Ideas Grant peer reviewers who would like advice from a mentor on the assessment phase, interpretation of the category descriptors or procedural aspects of the peer review process should contact their secretariat.

Medical Research Future Fund - key dates

The following grant opportunities are closing during August 2022:

The following grant opportunities have Minimum Data due in August 2022:

Applicants are reminded:

  • only applicants who completed minimum data requirements can submit a full application
  • applications submitted after close will not be accepted.

For further details and a list of all opened MRFF grant opportunities refer to the Funding Calendar page. 

Details on how to apply for MRFF grant opportunities and close dates are available on GrantConnect.

Prospective applicants should also refer to advice on Sapphire requests in the Research Help Centre (RHC) and Sapphire Requests section below. This includes details about ensuring their Sapphire account is active and that participating institutions are available in Sapphire. 


MRFF Application Eligibility Criteria and Compliance Checking

Applications must address all eligibility and assessment criteria as set out in the guidelines.
Applicants must pay careful attention to Chief Investigator (CI) eligibility including limits on the number of times a person can be named as a CI on applications submitted to a grant opportunity. Please refer to the eligibility section of the relevant grant opportunity guidelines. 


MRFF Grant Assessment Committee Self Nomination

Researchers, consumers, clinicians and health practitioners, as well as those in industry, policy or who manage health services are invited to express their interest in assisting with the assessment of MRFF applications as a member of a grant assessment committee. Register your interest via NHMRC’s online portal.

Research Help Centre (RHC) and Sapphire Requests

Researchers who intend to submit applications to upcoming NHMRC and Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant opportunities should ensure they have an active Sapphire account or request access to Sapphire as soon as possible. Sapphire accounts can be requested/activated as follows:

  • If you have not previously used Sapphire or NHMRC’s legacy Research Grants Management System (RGMS) you will need to register for a Sapphire account through the registration form
  • If you previously had an RGMS account, you need to activate your Sapphire account before logging into Sapphire for the first time. Visit Sapphire's Activate my account page. Your Sapphire 'user name' is the primary email address registered in your RGMS Profile.

Where relevant, researchers should also check:

  • their primary supervisors have an active account or request access to Sapphire as soon as possible (for Post Graduate Scholarships)
  • any partner or participating institutions they intend to list as part of their application are available in Sapphire and, if a partner or participating institution is not available, email help@nhmrc.gov.au, include the institution URL and request it be added to the system
  • the organisation through which they are applying is formally registered with NHMRC as an Administering Institution (AI) or Eligible Organisation (EO). Further information on applying can be found at AI application process and EO application process.

Sapphire account activation and the addition of partner/participating institutions can take up to three business days or longer during peak periods. NHMRC cannot guarantee requests submitted within three business days of minimum data or rounds closing will be processed before close.

Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grants 2022 update

The closing date for 2022 Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies applications is 24 August 2022 17:00 AEST.

The Clinical Trials and Cohorts Studies Grants 2022 Guidelines and Peer Review Guidelines to support applicants are available on GrantConnect.

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

Development Grants 2022 peer review processes

NHMRC would like to thank the peer reviewers who completed their Conflicts of Interest (COI) and suitability declarations.  These efforts help optimise the quality of our peer review process. NHMRC appreciates the willingness of the sector to make themselves available for peer review.

We are currently working through the declarations received to assign applications to assessors based on the best available self-declared suitability matches. NHMRC will notify assessors as soon as possible to confirm which applications they have been assigned.

Further details are available on GrantConnect and NHMRC’s website. Sapphire enquiries should be directed to the Research Help Centre.

Partnership Projects 2022 PRC2 closing

Applications for Partnership Projects 2022 PRC2 will close Thursday 11 August 2022 17:00 AEST.

Applicants are reminded:

  • only those who completed minimum data by Wednesday 27 July 2022 17:00 AEST can submit a full application
  • applications submitted after close of round will not be accepted.

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

Synergy Grants peer review processes

NHMRC would like to thank all Synergy Grant peer reviewers, including those who conducted conflict of interest and suitability declarations and were not asked to undertake assessments, for their time and energy in contributing to the quality of the 2022 Synergy Grant peer review process.

NHMRC would also like to acknowledge the contributions made by our appointed peer review working committee Chairs and Community Observers.

Stage 2 assessments are complete and NHMRC is working through the funding recommendations process with a view to advise outcomes under embargo by October 2022.

In the coming weeks, the Synergy Grants team will contact peer reviewers to seek feedback on the scheme and processes this year through the Synergy Grants peer reviewer survey. We greatly appreciate participation in the survey as it helps us to evaluate and consider process improvements.

Peer reviewers are reminded that confidentiality is important to the fairness and robustness of peer review, and a lifetime commitment is expected under the Deed of Confidentiality and NHMRC Principles of peer review.

Key application dates

Refer to the Funding schemes and calendar page.


See previous editions of Tracker.

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