26 September 2022

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

Hon Mark Butler, Minister for Health and Aged Care announcing NHMRC Partnership Projects at Burnet Institute.
Pictured: Hon Mark Butler, Minister for Health and Aged Care announcing NHMRC Partnership Projects at Burnet Institute. Picture supplied by Burnet Institute.

$39 million for research partnerships to improve delivery of healthcare

NHMRC welcomes the announcement on 16 September 2022 by the Australian Government of 12 Partnership Projects.

The Partnership Project Scheme provided $14 million from NHMRC and attracted more than $25 million in additional funding from more than 60 partners. A total of $39 million will be invested in collaborations between researchers, policy makers and health service providers.

"The Partnership Projects announced today have the potential to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians across a range of areas.

The projects will help us eliminate hepatitis C, better connect youth mental health services, help kids with cerebral palsy and improve road safety." said Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler.

Find out more about the projects funded in NHMRC's media release.

Update to the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011

Updates to guidance on the microbial quality of drinking water, including the introduction of microbial health-based targets, have been published in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011 (the Guidelines). The updates include substantial revisions to Chapter 5 of the Guidelines and the addition of a technical appendix to provide information on the assumptions that underpin the updated guidance

The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines webpage has links to the latest version of Guidelines, a Question and Answer resource with information on the new concepts introduced in the revised guidance and the accompanying Administrative Report with details on the development of the guidance.

Broad Research Area Definitions

NHMRC has developed definitions for the Broad Research Areas (BRAs) on which we collect data. These definitions will assist applicants in selecting the BRA that best aligns with their expertise (in their Profile in Sapphire) or best describes their research proposal (in their grant applications).

These definitions were developed in consultation with NHMRC's Health Research Impact Committee and Research Committee. The definitions can be found on NHMRC’s Australian standard research classifications and research keywords webpage.

New and updated NHMRC-approved third party guidelines

NHMRC has approved the recommendations of two new and four updated guidelines under section 14A of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992.

New guidelines

Updated guidelines

  • Australian Immunisation Handbook developed by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation. Updated tuberculosis chapter approved on Friday 5 August 2022.
  • Version 57 of the Australian Guidelines for the Clinical Care of People with COVID-19 developed by the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce. Contains 31 new, 3 updated and 37 reworded recommendations approved on Friday 5 August 2022.
  • An Australian Living Guideline for the Pharmacological Management of Inflammatory Arthritis developed by the Australia & New Zealand Musculoskeletal Clinical Trials Network. Contains 6 new recommendations on disease modifying antirheumatic drugs and COVID-19 vaccination approved on Friday 5 August 2022.
  • Clinical Guidelines for Stroke Management developed by the Stroke Foundation. Contains 1 withdrawn, 6 new and 10 updated recommendations on speech and language, mental health, personality, pre-hospital care, pressure injury and rehabilitation as they relate to stroke care, approved on Friday 5 August 2022. NHMRC also approved a change to a recommendation on rehabilitation considered to be of minor significance, and on the advice of NHMRC Council is dispensing with the requirement for public consultation under section 14B of the NHMRC Act.


The following guideline is seeking NHMRC approval and is open for public consultation:

Opening of call – TCR: Cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity in dementia research 2022

NHMRC Targeted Call for Research (TCR): Cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity in dementia research 2022 opened for applications in Sapphire on 21 September 2022. Applications close on 16 November 2022 17:00 (AEDT), with minimum data due on 2 November 2022 at 17:00 (AEDT).

This TCR aims to to stimulate research that:

  • includes culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse individuals
  • is conducted in a culturally safe and appropriate manner, and
  • contributes to best practice approaches to dementia research conducted in Australia.

Further details, including the grant guidelines, are available on GrantConnect and the NHMRC website.

Opening of call – Targeted Call for Research (TCR): Loneliness, social isolation and chronic disease management 2022

NHMRC TCR: Loneliness, social isolation and chronic disease management 2022 will open for applications in Sapphire on 5 October 2022. Applications close on 30 November 2022 17:00 (AEDT), with minimum data due on 16 November at 17:00 (AEDT).

The intended outcome of the TCR into loneliness, social isolation and chronic disease management is to assist the development of evidence-based policies and programs for people experiencing loneliness and/or social isolation to manage their chronic disease.

Further details, including the Grant Guidelines, will be available on GrantConnect and Find funding once the call opens in Sapphire.

Forecast Opportunity – Targeted Call for Research: Improving physical health of people with a mental illness

NHMRC is considering opening a grant opportunity in late 2022 to invite research proposals that specifically focus on improving the physical health of people with severe mental illnesses.

This prospective opportunity will seek to stimulate research that will understand the barriers in accessing integrated multidisciplinary treatment for people with a mental illness, including detection, prevention and early intervention strategies in vulnerable populations.

Full details of this Forecast Opportunity (FO) are available on GrantConnect. Interested parties can watch the FO (by clicking the star icon) to be alerted via email of any updates to the notice, including publication of grant guidelines.

Contact the Research Help Centre for further information or assistance.

Development Grants 2022 Peer Review Update

Thank you to the Development Grants Peer Review Members for the time they committed to the 2022 peer review process. NHMRC sincerely appreciates the contribution peer reviewers make to timely completion of this process and upholding NHMRC’s principles of peer review.

NHMRC will now be progressing through to funding recommendations including:

reviewing budget change recommendations made by peer reviewers

  • determining the top ranked applications for funding based on peer reviewers' assessments
  • seeking the necessary approvals to award the proposed grants
  • generating the outcome documentation, including qualitative feedback, for applicants and research administration offices.

Mitochondrial donation licensing scheme

Mitochondrial donation is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) that might help some women with mitochondrial disease have biological children without the risk of the passing on mitochondrial disease to their child.

Amendments to the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 (the RIHE Act) and the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2002 (PHCR Act) to allow the introduction of this ART technique in Australia come into effect on 2 October 2022. The use of mitochondrial donation in Australia will be regulated by a licensing scheme. NHMRC's Embryo Research Licensing Committee (ERLC) will be the responsible authority for the new licensing scheme.

More information on mitochondrial donation, changes to the RIHE and PHCR Acts and the licensing scheme can be found at Mitochondrial Donation.

Investigator Grants

Self-nominations to participate in NHMRC peer review for 2023 have opened

On Monday 19 September 2022, nominations opened to participate in NHMRC peer review in 2023. Information on how to access and complete the self-nomination form is available in the Sapphire Assessor Self Nominations tutorial. Self-nominations will be open until Tuesday 4 October 2022. Researchers will need an active Sapphire account to complete the self-nomination form. Instructions are available under 'How do I activate my Sapphire account?' on the Sapphire Help – do this in advance, to guarantee account activation before the deadline.

If you are aware of any researchers interested in participating as peer reviewers, direct them to NHMRC’s peer review.

Researchers will need to ensure their Sapphire Profile is complete and up to date when self-nominating for peer review (particularly the 'Fields of Research' and 'Peer Review Area' sections). This will help NHMRC to effectively allocate applications suitable to your areas of expertise.

Key application dates

Refer to Funding schemes and calendar.


See previous editions of Tracker.

Do you know someone who would like to receive this newsletter? To register, they can visit Newsletter sign up.

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