16 March 2022

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

Australian Academy of Science 2022 awards

Outstanding contributions to science were recognised last week by the Australian Academy of Science with 20 of Australia’s leading scientists receiving a 2022 honorific award. 

Congratulations to all recipients, particularly those flying the flag for health and medical research and NHMRC.  

Find out more about the recipients and their research on the Australian Academy of Science website.


Investigator Grants 2022 - application close date extended 

In response to the natural disaster in Queensland and NSW, NHMRC has extended the application close date for the Investigator Grants 2022 scheme by seven calendar days.
The Investigator Grants 2022 scheme will now close at 17:00 (AEDT) on Wednesday 23 March 2022.

NHMRC has published a new addendum/FAQs on GrantConnect, which address some of the impacts of the change in application close date and other common questions. The final addenda/FAQs will be released on 16 March 2022.

At this stage, no further extensions will be considered. This is to ensure that subsequent peer review processes and approval of funding recommendations are not delayed.

Further details are available on GrantConnect and NHMRC's website.

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

Post Award Update

Overdue Milestones

NHMRC is aware that a number of grants migrated from RGMS to Sapphire are showing incorrect overdue milestones in Sapphire. This is due to a system error, which will be addressed in an upcoming system update to remove all incorrect overdue milestones. These incorrect milestone flags will have no impact on application submission or eligibility assessment for upcoming Grant Opportunities.

Grantee Variations

Due to the volume of Grantee Variation requests received since December 2021, as well as development work still underway in Sapphire, there have been some delays in processing some variation types. NHMRC’s post award team is currently focused on processing variation requests received both via Sapphire and offline. 
NHMRC ask that Research Administration Officers (RAOs) defer submitting new grantee variation requests until further notice to allow NHMRC’s post award team to process the backlog of grantee variations received to date and to address data discrepancies and incorrect milestones identified for a number of grants.  
If an urgent response to a variation request is required, researchers are asked to advise their RAO of the urgency. RAOs should contact NHMRC via postaward.management@nhmrc.gov.au  with details of the Grant ID, Variation Type and a brief explanation of the urgency. Otherwise, the outcomes of all variation requests and updates to grant milestones will be made available in Sapphire as soon as possible.

Ideas Grants open

Key dates 
Applications opened in Sapphire on 9 March 2022
Minimum data is due on 6 April 2022
Applications close on 4 May 2022

The Ideas Grants 2022 Guidelines (including assessment criteria) and other documents for the Ideas Grant scheme are available on GrantConnect.

Research Help Centre (RHC) and Sapphire Requests

Applicants who intend to submit applications to the Ideas Grant round should ensure that:

  • they have an active account or request access to Sapphire as soon as possible
  • any participating institutions they intend to list as part of their application are available in Sapphire
  • if a participating institution is not available, please email help@nhmrc.gov.au, include the URL and request that it be added to the system.

Ideas Grants Peer Review Membership

Prospective peer reviewers must have all peer review information completed and up to date within their Sapphire profile. This includes Peer Review Areas, Fields of Research and Research Key Words.  Without this information, NHMRC cannot utilise a researcher’s expertise for peer review as they cannot be matched to applications.

NHMRC will review its peer review membership requirements following the minimum data due date. Please advise NHMRC as soon as possible of any changes to your availability for peer review. Confirmation of peer reviewer appointments will be made following the results of the conflict of interest and suitability survey, which prospective members will undertake in May.

Synergy Grants 2022 update

Key dates

Minimum data must be entered into Sapphire by 17:00 (AEDT) on Wednesday 16 March 2022
Full applications close 17:00 (AEDT) on Wednesday 13 April 2022.

Section 7.3 of the Synergy Grants 2022 Guidelines outlines the requirements for minimum data with further detail on minimum data fields outlined in Section 2.2 of Appendix C (Synergy Grants Guide to Applicants) and within Sapphire.

Applications that fail to satisfy minimum data requirements will not be accepted. Applicants must complete the required fields with correct information. Using placeholder text (e.g. ‘text’, ‘synopsis’, ‘xx’) is not acceptable as minimum data.

Applicants should not make any changes to minimum data fields following the minimum data deadline as NHMRC uses the data to identify appropriate peer reviewers to assess the application. Incorrect data may result in less suitable peer reviewers assessing the application.

Applicants and RAOs are reminded that an addendum was published on 22 February 2022 updating the Synergy Grants 2022 Track Record Template. Please ensure version 1.1 is distributed to Chief Investigators for their input.

Further details are available on GrantConnect and the NHMRC website.

2022 Partnership Projects Peer Review Cycle 1 (PRC1) 

Key dates

Partnership Projects 2022 PRC1:
Minimum data is due Wednesday 23 March 2022.
Applications close on Wednesday 6 April 2022.

Partnership Projects 2022 PRC2:
Open for applications Thursday 24 March 2022.

Partnership Projects 2022 PRC1 funding with other organisations

In addition to partner organisations identified in the Partnership Projects 2022 Guidelines (section 4.4), applicants may select from the following funding opportunity from the Department of Health:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and Obesity Prevention Research special initiative.  This special initiative provides the opportunity for community organisations that are contributing to health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to develop a relationship with a researcher to strengthen the evidence in FASD and obesity research.  For further information see section 2.3 of the Partnership Projects 2022 Guidelines available via the

Partnership Projects 2022 Grant Opportunity on GrantConnect.

Targeted Call for Research: Improving Indigenous maternal and child health in the early years 2022 Grant Opportunity

The Targeted Call for Research: Improving Indigenous maternal and child health in the early years 2022 Grant Opportunity, is now open for applications in Sapphire. 

Key dates

Minimum data due by 17:00 (AEST) on 18 May 2022.
Applications close at 17:00 (AEST) on 1 June 2022.

Prospective applicants and RAOs are encouraged to review the grant guidelines on GrantConnect. Further details are available on NHMRC's website

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

2021 NHMRC Peer Review Honour Roll 

The effectiveness and sustainability of NHMRC peer review processes depends on researchers with excellent track records and wide-ranging expertise in Australian and international health and medical research fields who contribute as panel members and external assessors, and individuals from the broader community who give advice and independently observe and report on processes used by NHMRC grant review panels.

An honour roll of peer reviewers, panel chairs, external assessors and community observers who contributed to NHMRC peer review processes in 2021 has been published on NHMRC’s website.

NHMRC thanks all researchers for their contributions and asks institutions to include such service to health and medical research in their appointments and promotions activities.

Research Quality Steering Committee

NHMRC’s Research Quality Steering Committee has been announced, with Professor Paul Glasziou AO continuing as chair. 

This Committee provides advice to NHMRC about enhancing the quality of NHMRC-funded research through rigour, transparency and reproducibility, and the implementation of NHMRC’s Research Quality Strategy.

The full list of members for 2021-2024 is available on NHMRC’s website

CEO Communique webinar on Gender disparities in NHMRC’s Investigator Grant Scheme

Thank you to those who were able to attend the recent webinars on Gender disparities in NHMRC’s Investigator Grant Scheme.

Recordings of both webinars, including the CEO’s presentation and Q&As, are now available on NHMRC’s vimeo page.

Key application dates

Refer to the funding calendar on NHMRC's website.


Previous editions of Tracker are available on NHMRC’s website.

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