24 April 2023

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

Woman holding award

Research Excellence: New antibody therapies against malaria and COVID-19

“Growing up in Malaysia, I still remember the smell of mosquito coils and emptying water retaining containers after the rains and could see the impact of infectious diseases, particularly malaria.” – Professor Wai-Hong Tham, Head of Infectious Diseases and Immune Defense Division at WEHI. 

Professor Tham is leading research that builds on a deep understanding of the molecular interactions between human and pathogen to develop novel antibody therapies against malaria and COVID-19. 

"In the future, we hope that this work ultimately informs new therapeutics against infectious diseases" Professor Tham said. 

For World Malaria Day on 25 April, read more about Professor Tham’s research on NHMRC's website

Pictured: Professor Wai-Hong Tham at NHMRC’s awards in Canberra on 29 March 2023.

Research boost to foster cooperation on chronic disease prevention in the Asia-Pacific 

Research led by Dr Bindu Patel from The George Institute for Global Health aiming to improve health promotion strategies for children in Fiji is one of four projects to share in over $5 million in NHMRC funding as part of an international and collaborative scheme. 

The Australian Government announced the outcomes of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD): A Life Course Approach to Common Non-communicable Disease Risk Factor Prevention and Reduction funding call 2022 on 12 April 2023.

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

Synergy Grants – peer review process underway 

Conflict of interest and suitability declarations for Synergy Grant peer reviewers should be completed by Friday 28 April 2023. Stage One assessment of the Knowledge Gain and Synergy criteria is due to begin Thursday 11 May 2023.

Peer reviewer briefing sessions will be held on 2 May and 3 May 2023 before assessments begin. This briefing will provide an overview of the peer review process, outline key changes and provide opportunity for peer reviewers to ask questions. 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 while upholding NHMRC’s principles of peer review.

Ideas Grants - deadline approaching 

Applications for this year’s Ideas Grants round close on Wednesday 3 May 2023 17:00 AEST

All listed applicants should ensure their Sapphire account is active or access to Sapphire has been requested. NHMRC cannot guarantee that requests submitted less than 72 hours before the round close will be actioned in time. Applicants should ensure any intended participating institutions are listed in Sapphire or request that a new participating institution be added by emailing help@nhmrc.gov.au, including the institution's website address (URL) and ABN (if applicable).

Thank you to the 2504 applicants who met the minimum data requirements for applications to Ideas Grants 2023. NHMRC has notified 115 potential applicants who did not meet minimum data requirements that their applications (including test applications or incomplete minimum data applications) will not progress further. 

Peer Review for Ideas Grants in 2023 

Peer review for Ideas Grants is expected to run from June to 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.

Investigator Grants – peer review process to begin soon

Peer review process

Conflict of interest and suitability declarations are now complete. Thank you to all peer reviewers who completed these declarations. NHMRC is currently working to assign the 1510 applications to the most suitable peer reviewers and will notify assessors as soon as possible to confirm the applications assigned to them.

2023 peer reviewer briefing webinar

NHMRC’s CEO, Professor Anne Kelso AO, hosted a peer reviewer briefing webinar and Q&A session on 20 April 2023. Thank you to those peer reviewers who were able to attend.
Preparations to publish the video and a de-identified transcript of the Q&A session online are underway. See the next edition of Tracker for an update.

Peer review mentor video

The Investigator Grants Peer Review Mentor video is available for peer reviewers to view before starting assessments in mid-May. 

Forecast opportunity – Targeted Calls for Research: Social, cultural and commercial determinants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

NHMRC is considering opening a grant opportunity in the second half of 2023 inviting research proposals that specifically focus on the social, cultural and commercial determinants of health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The proposed opportunity aims to stimulate research to identify the direct or indirect and positive or negative effects social, cultural and commercial activities have on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. 

The research would inform best practice approaches and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Full details of this Forecast Opportunity (FO) are available on GrantConnect. Click the star icon on the FO page to be alerted via email of any updates to the notice, including publication of grant guidelines.

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

Forecast opportunity – Targeted Calls for Research: Ensuring the quality and safety of telehealth

NHMRC is considering opening a grant opportunity in mid-2023 inviting research proposals on telehealth and its potential to achieve positive health outcomes in Australia.

The research would provide an evidence base to inform future telehealth policies and support health professionals to deliver safe, effective and high-quality healthcare.

Full details of this Forecast Opportunity (FO) are available on GrantConnect. Click the star icon on the FO page to be alerted via email of any updates to the notice, including publication of grant guidelines. 

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

Global Core Biodata Resource Selection Process 2023: now open

The Global Biodata Coalition’s (GBC) application portal is now open for submission of Expressions of Interest for the 2023 Global Core Biodata Resource until Monday 8 May 2023 23:59 UTC (Tuesday 9 May 2023 09:59 AEST). This two-stage selection process will identify core biodata resources of fundamental importance to researchers worldwide across the biological, life science and biomedical science domains. For more information, visit GBC’s website

Updated assisted reproductive technology guidelines

The updated Ethical guidelines on the use of assisted reproductive technology in clinical practice and research 2017 (updated 2023) (ART Guidelines) were issued by NHMRC’s CEO, Professor Anne Kelso AO, on Monday 17 April 2023.

The ART Guidelines incorporate a new Mitochondrial Donation Supplementary Section (Part D) to support the ethical implementation of mitochondrial donation in research and clinical practice. Minor administrative amendments were also made to the ART Guidelines to maintain currency. 

An overview of the guidelines is available at ART Guidelines, and a summary of the revisions and the updated ART Guidelines can be downloaded from Publications.

MRFF grant opportunity key dates 

The following Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Grant Opportunity has Minimum Data due date approaching: 

2022 Clinical Trials Activity (GO5887) 

  • Minimum Data due: 3 May 2023 at 17:00 AEST 
  • Applications close: 28 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 have 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 an MRFF grant assessment committee. 

Reminder on overdue MRFF scientific progress reporting

Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grantees are reminded to submit any overdue progress reports to NHMRC as soon as possible. Overdue progress reports will affect upcoming grant payments. Reporting requirements and due dates can be found in Sapphire.

Grantees must use the MRFF progress report template and submit these reports by email to mrff.postaward@nhmrc.gov.au. Do not submit MRFF progress reports in Sapphire as these do not get monitored. 

Please email mrff.postaward@nhmrc.gov.au for further assistance or guidance.