22 May 2023

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

Professor Greg Fox

Research Excellence: Clinical trialist committed to eliminating TB         

Professor Greg Fox is motivated by a vision of eliminating tuberculosis (TB) globally. The airborne infectious disease affects 10 million people each year. 

Over the past decade, Professor Fox’s research group at the University of Sydney has undertaken a program of research to improve the early detection, the prevention and the treatment of TB. Much of this work has been conducted in Vietnam, where over 100,000 people have participated in clinical trials.

On International Clinical Trials Day this week (20 May), we recognised the important role of clinical trials and research in healthcare.

Celebrate those who contribute to this vital work by reading more about Professor Fox, recipient of the 2021 NHMRC David Cooper Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Award, on NHMRC’s website.

Pictured: Professor Greg Fox at NHMRC’s awards in Canberra on 29 March 2023.

Use of generative artificial intelligence         

NHMRC recognises that the release and increasing use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) that use algorithms to create new content (such as ChatGPT) present both opportunities and challenges for research and for grant program administration.

NHMRC is currently developing a generative AI policy for its grant program, which will consider the use of generative AI by applicants, peer reviewers and others in interacting with NHMRC’s grant scheme processes. NHMRC is working with its expert committees and other research organisations to inform the development of its policy. 
While NHMRC's policy is being developed, the following guidance is provided:

For grant applicants: We recommend applicants take caution when using generative AI tools in the preparation of grant applications, given it may not be possible to monitor or manage subsequent use of information entered into generative AI databases. 

For peer reviewers: We remind peer reviewers that they must not use generative AI tools to assist them in the assessment of grant applications as this would be a breach of their confidentiality undertaking. 

NHMRC will continue to monitor developments in generative AI and update our policies as technologies develop and our understanding of risks and benefits is deepened.

Survey on Australian research assessment practices         

The Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia are seeking the views of researchers in Australia on how assessment practices in universities, governments and the private sector shape research careers and how they influence researchers’ choices and priorities.

The consultation is being undertaken for Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM, and will inform her advice to the Australian Government on the future of assessment practices in Australia’s research system.

Completing the ACOLA Research Assessment Survey should take between 15 and 20 minutes.

Responses are confidential and the survey closes on Monday 12 June 2023.

Find out more about Modernising Research Assessment.

2023 Postgraduate Scholarships scheme closing soon

Applications for the 2023 Postgraduate Scholarship scheme are due Wednesday 7 June 2023 17:00 (AEST).
We encourage applicants to work closely with their Research Administration Officers (RAOs) well in advance of the due date to ensure they can submit applications on time.

Please note the application title must accurately describe the nature of the research proposal and not include placeholder text such as “text”, “synopsis”, “XX” or “Postgraduate Scholarship” etc.

Further details are available on GrantConnect.

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

Ideas Grants peer review process gets underway         

The Ideas Grants 2023 round closed for applications on 3 May 2023 with 2184 applications submitted (down from 2194 in 2022).

The conflict of interest and suitability survey process for peer reviewers is scheduled to begin today (Monday 22 May 2023) and to be completed by Friday 2 June 2023, with the assessment process to begin in early July.
For further details, please refer to the Ideas Grants 2023 Peer Review Guidelines on GrantConnect

Peer review key dates* 

  • 22 May - 2 June 2023: Peer reviewers provide conflict of interest and suitability declarations. 
  • June: Peer reviewers are assigned to applications (based on results of the conflict of interest and suitability survey) and invited to attend a peer review question and answer session. 
  • July - August 2023 (4 weeks): Peer reviewers review applications, submit scores and provide qualitative feedback against Ideas Grants assessment criteria for each allocated application.
  • August (2 weeks): Peer reviewers will be provided with the opportunity to review the assessment comments provided by other peer reviewers on the same applications they assessed to gauge how their own assessments compared to those of their peers.

* NHMRC will notify peer reviewers of any timing changes.

If you have any questions, please contact your secretariat. Sapphire enquiries should be directed to help@nhmrc.gov.au.

Investigator Grants 2023 peer review update        

Thank you to over 600 Investigator Grant peer reviewers, including those who completed conflict of interest and suitability declarations and were not asked to undertake assessments, for their time in contributing to the 2023 Investigator Grants peer review process.

Assessment of Investigator Grant applications began on Monday 15 May 2023 and will end on Friday 9 June 2023 17:00 AEST.

Peer review mentors are available during the assessment process to provide guidance to peer reviewers, either by contacting their secretariat, or by attending twice-weekly Zoom drop-in sessions.

Peer reviewers are encouraged to read the NHMRC-provided support pack and visit NHMRC’s Investigator Grants webpage to access the following resources:

Peer reviewers should contact their secretariat for all peer review enquiries. Sapphire enquiries should be directed to help@nhmrc.gov.au.

Synergy Grants 2023 – peer review underway 

Synergy Grants suitability and conflict of interest declarations are now complete.

Thank you to all peer reviewers who completed these declarations and attended the Synergy Grants 2023 peer reviewer briefing.

Stage One assessments (Knowledge Gain and Synergy criteria) are underway and peer reviewers are required to enter applicant feedback and scores into Sapphire by Thursday 8 June 2023 17:00 AEST.

For further details on the 2023 Synergy Grants peer review process, please refer to the Synergy Grants 2023 Peer Review Guidelines (PDF download) or visit the Synergy Grants website.

Sapphire enquiries should be directed to help@nhmrc.gov.au.

Applications due soon for NHMRC–GACD: Non-communicable disease prevention in cities funding call      

Researchers in Australia applying for the NHMRC–Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD): Non-communicable disease prevention in cities funding call 2023 are reminded full applications must be submitted through both:

  • The GACD portal by Wednesday 7 June 2023 18:00 CEST (Brussels time) and
  • Sapphire by Wednesday 7 June 2023 17:00 AEST.

Only applicants who have submitted a Letter of Intent / minimum data for the funding call are eligible to submit full applications.

Further details are available on GrantConnect.

Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) – new grant opportunities

The following Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant opportunity has minimum data deadline approaching:

2023 Early to Mid-Career Researchers (GO6085)

  • Minimum Data is due 24 May 2023 at 17:00 AEST
  • Applications close 21 June 2023 at 17:00 AEST

Details on how to apply for MRFF grant opportunities and all MRFF close dates are available on GrantConnect. Applicants are reminded that only applicants who completed minimum data by the due date can submit an application. It is also the applicant’s responsibility to ensure they meet all eligibility requirements, including limits on the number of times a person can be named as a Chief Investigator on applications submitted to a grant opportunity.

Applicants should ensure:

MRFF Grant Assessment Committee self nomination

Register your interest to become a member of a MRFF grant assessment committee.

Key NHMRC grant program dates

Please see Funding schemes and calendar.


See previous editions of Tracker.

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