23 August 2021

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

New research on boosting killer immune response to cancer

Drugs already approved and available could be the answer to boost the production of killer T cells and improve the success rate of immunotherapies for cancer, with research funded through an NHMRC Ideas Grant.

Dr Ian Parish, who holds a joint position in cancer immunology at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the University of Melbourne, has received funding to investigate the repurposing of a drug to increase the number of patients who respond to cancer immunotherapy.

“The revelation from these therapies has been that the immune system is capable of recognising tumours. Tumours often shut down this immune response, and immunotherapies work by reawakening the immune system so that it attacks the tumour.”

Read more about Dr Parish’s research on NHMRC’s website.

Ideas Grants 2021

Ideas Grants Peer Review Processes

Peer review of applications commenced in Sapphire on Monday 12 July 2021 and assessments were completed by Friday 13 August 2021.
NHMRC would like to thank the 706 Ideas Grants Peer Review Members for the time and energy they committed to the 2021 Ideas Grants peer review process. NHMRC is now working through the funding recommendations process in order to advise outcomes to the sector before the end of the year. This includes reviewing budget change recommendations made by peer reviewers, conducting an outlier analysis to verify any outlier scores against the comments provided by assessors, determining the top ranked applications for funding based on peer reviewers’ assessments, seeking the necessary approvals to award the proposed grants, and generating the outcome documentation to notify applicants and RAOs.

Ideas Grants Peer Review Survey

The Ideas Grants team will be circulating a survey shortly to capture peer reviewers’ feedback on the scheme and processes this year. We greatly appreciate participation in the survey as it helps us to evaluate and consider process improvements. In the meantime, please contact your secretariat if you have any questions regarding the Ideas Grants processes. 

Investigator Grants 2021 

Investigator Grant outcomes are anticipated to be released under embargo in coming weeks.

Panel members are reminded of the importance of confidentiality of the peer review process.

NHMRC would like to thank all members for their assistance this year and for their recent participation in the Investigator Grant Panel Member survey.

Targeted Call for Research into Biotoxin-related illnesses 2021

The Targeted Call for Research (TCR) into Biotoxin related illnesses opened for applications in Sapphire on 21 July 2021. Minimum data is due by 5 pm (AEST) on Wednesday 1 September 2021. Applications will close at 5 pm (AEST) on Wednesday 15 September 2021

This TCR aims to support research that will improve our understanding of the origin and pathophysiology of biotoxin-related illnesses, like Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. This will assist in improving the diagnosis, treatment and management of biotoxin-related illness.

Further details, including the grant guidelines, are available on GrantConnect (GO4959) and NHMRC’s website.

Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grants 2021 

Applications for the 2021 Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grant opportunity will close at 5 pm (AEST) Wednesday 25 August.

Applicants are reminded that:

•    only applicants who completed minimum data by 5 pm (AEST) Wednesday 28 July 2021 can submit a full application
•    applications submitted after close of round will not be accepted. 

The Grant Guidelines (including category descriptors) for the Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grant scheme are available on GrantConnect.

Please contact NHMRC’s Research Help Centre via email for further information or assistance.

MRFF Grant Opportunities 

Upcoming Key Dates for MRFF grant opportunities:

MRFF – International Clinical Trial Collaborations Grant Opportunity Round 1 (21.1)

Key application dates are:
Status: Open for Applications
Minimum data is due by 25 August 2021
Applications close on 8 September 2021

MRFF – International Clinical Trial Collaborations Grant Opportunity Round 2 (21.2)

Key application dates are:
Applications open on 26 August 2021
Minimum data is due by 2 February 2022
Applications close on 16 February 2022

Applicants who intend to submit applications to MRFF grant opportunities should ensure that:

  • they have an active Sapphire account, or request access to Sapphire as soon as possible
  • the participating institutions they intend to list in their application are available in Sapphire
  • if a participating institution is not available, please email NHMRC's Research Help Centre, include the URL and request it be added to the system.

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

Further information on MRFF grant opportunities can be found on NHMRC’s website.

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.

Preprints as a new category of publications

On advice from NHMRC’s Research Committee (RC) in June 2021 and considering current international practice, NHMRC will accept preprints as publications for track record assessment purposes for schemes opening from October 2021. 

NHMRC defines a preprint as a complete and public draft of a scientific document, yet to be certified by peer review.

 To be considered in this category, a preprint:

  • must not have undergone peer review
  • must be available in a recognised scientific public archive or repository such as  arXiv, bioRxiv, Peer J Preprints, F1000 Research, etc.
  • should be searchable via a digital object identifier (DOI); for preprints that are incrementally updated as work progresses, each version should have a unique DOI and only the latest version of the work should be included in the grant application.

Details on how to include preprints in grant applications will be provided in the documentation for NHMRC schemes opening from October 2021. 

Horizon Europe Launch in Australia & New Zealand

EURAXESS will host the launch of Horizon Europe in Australia and New Zealand via a virtual event on 24 August 2021, 5:00 – 6:30 PM AEST. The event will provide an overview of Horizon Europe to stakeholders and researchers interested in getting involved in the program. Visit Eventbrite for details & registration

NHMRC is supporting a number of call topics for Horizon Europe. For more information, please refer to NHMRC’s website.

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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