6 April 2021

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


“It got me out of the house and made me a lot more comfortable being out in public with my baby, doing things like feeding and changing her in public.”
Joanna Mak was a new mother in Carlingford, north-western Sydney, taking part in a pilot program for new parents. 

Pictured above with her now 18-month-old daughter, Arabella, Joanna said the program was an ideal way to meet weekly with other new parents and an early childhood expert close to home, learning tips on first aid, medicine, nutrition, and generally what to expect of a child’s development and changes in family life. 

The Parenting+ program, produced by the University of Sydney and the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD), will now be rolled out after receiving $495,760 funding through NHMRC’s Partnership Projects scheme.

Dr Danielle Muscat, a co-founder of the WSLHD Health Literacy Hub, says Parenting+ was designed to fit with existing community parenting classes.
“We’ve embedded health literacy skills into those classes, to empower new parents to access healthcare services, advocate for your child’s healthcare, and think critically about health information you hear or find online.”

Photo credit and quotes - The Pulse.

See the media release for details on the full list of Partnership Projects. 

Ideas Grants 2021

Ideas Grants Minimum Data Deadline

Applications opened in Sapphire on 10 March 2021. The Grant Guidelines (including category descriptors) for the Ideas Grant scheme are available on GrantConnect.

Minimum data must be entered in Sapphire by 5pm AEST Wednesday 7th April to allow NHMRC to start identifying suitable peer reviewers. Applications that fail to satisfy this requirement will not be accepted. Applicants must complete the required fields with correct information. Using placeholder text such as “text”, “synopsis”, “xx” or “Ideas Grant” etc. is not acceptable as minimum data.

Failure to meet this deadline will result in the application not proceeding.

Minimum data fields for Ideas Grants 2021 are outlined in the Ideas Grant Guidelines at Appendix E: Guide to Applicants.

RAOs are not required to certify applications for the purpose of minimum data. Applications should only be certified once they are complete and ready for submission.

Applications close on 5 May 2021

Ideas Grants Peer Review Membership

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.

Peer Review for Ideas Grants in 2021

NHMRC has released a CEO communique explaining the changes to Ideas Grants peer review for the 2021 round. 

The Ideas Grants 2021 Peer Review Guidelines are also available on the NHMRC website.

Research Help Centre (RHC) and Sapphire Requests

 Applicants who intend to submit grant applications 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 and include the URL and request it be added to the system.

The RHC’s service standard is that every email or phone call is actioned or referred within 2 business days.

Investigator Grants 2020 Update 

The Investigator Grants 2020 round closed for applications Wednesday 31 March 2021 with 1,722 applications submitted and progressing to peer review.

Potential peer reviewers will commence the process of completing their Conflict of Interest (CoI) and suitability declarations within Sapphire shortly, ahead of assessments commencing in late May.

MRFF grant opportunities 

Upcoming Key Dates for MRFF grant opportunity 

  • 2020 MRFF – EPCDRI – Neurofibromatosis Research Grant Opportunity

The application due date for this grant opportunity is 7 April 2021.

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 help@nhmrc.gov.au, 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 the NHMRC 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 the NHMRC online portal.

Partnership Projects 2021 

Applications for Partnership Projects 2021 PRC1 will close at 5pm AEST Wednesday 7 April 2021.

Applicants are reminded that:

  • only applicants who completed minimum data by the 5pm AEST deadline on Wednesday 24 March 2021 can submit a full application
  • applications submitted after close of round will not be accepted.

Partnership Projects 2021 PRC1 funding with other organisations

In addition to partner organisations identified in the Partnership Projects 2021 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 2021 Guidelines available via the Partnership Projects 2021 Grant Opportunity on GrantConnect.

NHMRC approval of third party guideline 

NHMRC has approved the update of the Best Practice Guidelines for the Safe Restraint of Children Travelling in Motor Vehicles. These guidelines were approved under section 14A of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992

Critical Technologies Consultation – Have your say 

The Critical Technologies Policy Coordination Office (CTPCO) in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), is undertaking consultation on the future of critical technologies in the Australian agriculture and health sectors. Critical technologies are current and emerging technologies with the capacity to significantly enhance or pose risk to Australia’s national interest, including our economic prosperity, social cohesion and national security. 

The purpose is to identify key critical technology developments, assess risks to and opportunities in Australia’s national interest, and examine the approach of academia, industry and government to critical technologies. Your insights will aid the Australian Government to better understand the impact of critical technologies on the agriculture and health sectors, and help shape future government policy and decision-making.

There are two discussion papers on the PM&C website for consultation. Stakeholders are invited to participate by responding to questions within the discussion papers via the Stakeholder Consultation Survey or written submission to CTPCO@pmc.gov.au.

Consultation is now open and will close on Friday 9 April 2021. To request an extension please email CTPCO@pmc.gov.au.

Update to the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011 

New guidance on short-term exposure values has been published in Chapter 9 of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011. Details on the development of the guidance can be found in the accompanying Administrative Report. Several minor edits to the Guidelines have also been actioned as part of this update. 

National Redress Scheme 

The National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse was established in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and holds institutions accountable for past abuse.

The Redress Scheme Grant Connected Policy (Redress GCP) is a whole of government policy that Australian Government entities must take into account before awarding a grant. The Redress GCP makes non-government institutions named in applications to the Scheme or in the Royal Commission that do not join the Scheme ineligible for future Australian Government grant funding.

In accordance with the requirements of the Redress GCP, NHMRC funding will not be awarded to a relevant institution which has not joined the Redress Scheme.

Sapphire Update 

Sapphire system – Minimum Data non-compliant warning emails

Minimum data non-compliant warning emails will now be sent only to applicants whose application does not meet minimum data requirements as outlined in the relevant grant guidelines.

Applicants should note that:

  • placeholder text such as “text”, “synopsis” or “xx” etc. will not be accepted as minimum data. As the system cannot differentiate between placeholder or legitimate text, applicants who utilise placeholder text in minimum data fields, may not receive the warning email.

Should Sapphire users require assistance, please contact the NHMRC Research Help Centre by email help@nhmrc.gov.au.

Key application dates


Funding scheme

Open date

Minimum data due

Applications close

Partnership Projects 2021 PRC1




MRFF - 2020 Neurofibromatosis Research Grant Opportunity




2021 Synergy Grants


24-Mar- 21


2021 Ideas Grants




MRFF – 2021 Innovative Therapies for Mental Illness




MRFF – 2021 International Clinical Trial Collaborations (ICTC) – Round 1




*NB schemes are in order of closing dates


Funding scheme

Open date

Minimum data due

Applications close

2021 Postgraduate Scholarships




Development Grants




2020 NIHR Collaborative Research Grants – 2021 Funding Round 3




Partnership Projects 2021 PRC2




2021 Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grants




Partnership Projects 2021 PRC3




 *NB schemes are in order of closing dates


Previous editions of Tracker are available on the NHMRC website.

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