12 April 2023

Welcome to Tracker, NHMRC’s fortnightly newsletter with the latest information on major activities and funding opportunities.

Woman with glasses smiling

HFSPO announces US$41 million to support 34 international research programs

The international Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) has announced the outcomes of its US$41 million 2023 Research Grants scheme, and four of the 34 funded projects involve Australian-based researchers or research groups.

Professor Elizabeth (Liz) Hartland of Monash University will lead one of those four projects as a Principal Investigator.

The 2023 HFSP Research Grants will support the top 6% of HFSP research grant applicants over the coming 3 years. The rigorous year-long selection process started with 589 submitted letters of intent involving scientists with their laboratories in more than 50 different countries.

HFSPO Secretary-General Pavel Kabat commended the overall performance of the Australian research sector in the 2023 HFSP Research Grant round.

“The excellent result demonstrates again the competitiveness of Australia in the international life science arena and the vitality of its science community in pursuing curiosity driven frontier research,” Secretary-General Kabat said.

This year, 9 Research Grants - Early Career and 25 Research Grants - Program were selected for funding. Each team member receives on average US$110,000 - US$125,000 per year.

Find out more in the HFSP media release.

Pictured: Professor Elizabeth (Liz) Hartland

Rising stars of dementia research funded to collaborate with experts in Japan on shared challenge

Three project teams have been awarded almost $500,000 each in funding to collaborate with colleagues in Japan on research into the causes of dementia, and factors that may prevent or delay its onset.

Dementia has overtaken coronary heart disease as the leading cause of disease burden among Australians aged 65 and over, according to an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report in February.

Funding recipient Dr Quan Huynh from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute said his team’s study aimed “to transform the way healthcare is delivered to cognitively impaired patients with heart disease, and substantially reduce dementia in Australia and Japan”.

NHMRC partnered with the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) for this collaborative scheme.

Find out more about the funded projects in our media release.

Development Grants opening soon

Key dates:

  • Applications open Wednesday 19 April 2023
  • Minimum data due Wednesday 17 May 2023 17:00 AEST
  • Applications close Wednesday 14 June 2023 17:00 AEST.

If you anticipate applying for or being named on a Development Grant application (including as an Associate Investigator), please activate or register your Sapphire account well in advance of the minimum data deadline.

The Development Grant scheme provides financial support to individual researchers and/or research teams to undertake health and medical research within Australia at the proof-of-concept stage that specifically drives towards a commercial outcome within a foreseeable timeframe.

Find out more on NHMRC’s website.

Ideas Grants – closing next month

Ideas Grant applications close Wednesday 3 May 2023 17:00 AEST.

Do you have a question about the Ideas Grant Scheme? Please submit it to your Research Administration Office (RAO) by Wednesday 19 April 2023. Responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs) are published on the FAQs page on GrantConnect at intervals during the round. The final FAQs update for this round will be released on Wednesday 26 April 2023, and take in questions received via RAOs before 19 April 2023.

Researchers listed on applications must have a Sapphire account. New account registrations must be submitted at least 72 hours prior to application close. The Research Help Centre will continue to respond to Sapphire-related enquiries until Wednesday 3 May 2023 13:00 AEST.

Further details are available on GrantConnect and NHMRC’s website. Please contact help@nhmrc.gov.au for information or assistance.

Peer Review for Ideas Grants in 2023

Peer review for the Ideas Grant scheme is expected to run from June-August 2023. Peer review requirements depend on the number and distribution of research areas of applications received. Information collected at the minimum data stage allows us to identify which peer reviewers will be asked to complete conflict of interest and suitability declarations in May. Thank you to everyone who has indicated their availability to participate in peer review.

The Ideas Grants 2023 Peer Review Guidelines are available on GrantConnect.

Synergy Grants 2023 - key peer review dates

The Synergy Grants 2023 round closed for applications on 5 April 2023 with 50 applications submitted (down from 69 applications submitted in 2022). 

The conflict of interest and suitability survey process for peer reviewers is scheduled to commence on Monday 17 April for completion by 28 April 2023, with the assessment process to begin in mid-May.

Peer review key dates*:

  • By 28 April 2023: Peer reviewers finalise conflict of interest and suitability declarations.
  • By early May 2023: Peer reviewers are assigned to applications (based on results of the conflict of interest and suitability survey results) and attend a peer review briefing session.
  • By early June 2023: Peer reviewers submit comments and scores for Stage One assessment of the Knowledge Gain and Synergy criteria.
  • By late June 2023: Shortlisting process and allocation of applications for Stage Two Track Record assessment.
  • By late July 2023: Peer reviewers submit scores only, for individual Chief Investigators against the Track Record criteria.

* NHMRC will notify peer reviewers of any timing changes.

The Synergy Grants 2023 Peer Review Guidelines are available on NHMRC’s website.

Please email help@nhmrc.gov.au for further information or assistance.

Postgraduate Scholarship applicants: new user account registrations

The Postgraduate Scholarship scheme will open for applications on Wednesday 12 April 2023.

  • Minimum data due: Wednesday 10 May 2023 17:00 AEST
  • Applications close: Wednesday 7 June 2023 17:00 AEST.

Applicants and their supervisors who do not yet have a Sapphire account should register as soon as possible and allow up to 72 hours for account activation to occur.

The Postgraduate Scholarship scheme funds successful applicants to attain a research based postgraduate degree – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or a Research Masters Degree. Find out more about the Postgraduate Scholarship scheme.

Investigator Grants 2023 – peer review process underway

Applications for 2023 Investigator Grants have been matched to potential peer reviewers with relevant expertise.

Conflict of interest and suitability declarations should be completed by Monday 17 April 2023 to ensure applications are assessed by the most appropriate reviewers. Assessment of applications is scheduled to begin in mid-May.

NHMRC will host a peer reviewer briefing webinar and live Q&A session in late April before assessments begin. This briefing will familiarise peer reviewers with the peer review process and provide an opportunity to ask questions on NHMRC peer review policy. Details will be provided directly to peer reviewers.

We sincerely appreciate the value and contribution that peer reviewers make to ensuring transparency, fairness and independence in identifying the highest quality research and researchers whilst upholding NHMRC’s principles of peer review.

European Union 2024 Horizon topics for funding in 2025

The European Union (EU) has advertised the 2024 funding calls for its Horizon Europe program.

NHMRC is considering supporting a limited number of Horizon Europe topics to enable Australian-based researchers to form collaborations with EU partners.

NHMRC selects topics that align with the health priorities identified in the NHMRC Corporate Plan, and are guided by the principles of NHMRC’s International Engagement Strategy 2023–2026 to support collaborative approaches to health and medical research internationally.

Projects involving Australian-based researchers that are chosen by the EU for funding commencing in 2025 may be eligible for NHMRC support.

For more information, visit GrantConnect and Horizon Europe.

Public consultation opening soon – colorectal cancer guidelines

The Daffodil Centre and Cancer Council Australia (the developers) will release draft Clinical practice guidelines for the prevention, early detection and management of colorectal cancer: population screening and risk and screening based on family history for public consultation from Monday 17 April 2023 to Wednesday 17 May 2023.

For more information and to access the draft guideline and associated material please visit Colorectal cancer guidelines.

The developers will be seeking NHMRC approval of their guidelines under section 14A of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992.

Public consultation opening soon – update on the national guideline for the assessment and diagnosis of autism

The Autism Cooperative Research Centre (AutismCRC) will release a draft update of its 2018 National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism in Australia for public consultation from Monday 17 April 2023 to Monday 29 May 2023.

For more information and to access the draft guideline and associated material please visit the guideline update on the AutismCRC website.

AutismCRC will be seeking NHMRC approval of their guidelines under section 14A of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992.

Key NHMRC grant program dates

Please see Funding schemes and calendar.


See previous editions of Tracker.

Do you know someone who would like to receive this newsletter? They can visit the Newsletter sign up page.

If you have any questions about the newsletter, email communications@nhmrc.gov.au

Featured image Credit
Photo supplied by: