9 May 2022

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

Research Excellence: Advancing Precision Nutrition to Improve Health and Wellbeing

Professor Clare Collins wears a red dress and is speaking to two women in a clinical setting

Currently, seven million Australians live with at least one diet-related chronic disease risk factor, while 27,500 die each year from causes directly related to unhealthy dietary patterns. Yet access to diet-related healthcare can be limited.

To solve this issue, Laureate Professor Clare Collins from the University of Newcastle is researching how to improve the accessibility of personalised nutrition technologies for healthcare practitioners and vulnerable communities.

Professor Collins received the 2021 Elizabeth Blackburn Investigator Grant Award - Clinical Medicine and Science (Leadership) for her work developing methods to support personalised medical nutrition therapy, including dietary biomarkers and telehealth models of care.

Read more about her research and her advice to early career researchers here.

Investigator Grants Update 

Investigator Grants 2022

NHMRC’s CEO, Professor Anne Kelso AO, hosted a peer reviewer briefing webinar and Q&A session on Thursday 28 April 2022. Thank you to those peer reviewers who were able to attend.

This webinar was held as part of NHMRC’s ongoing support to peer reviewers and the video will be made available on the NHMRC website prior to assessments commencing in mid-May. To maintain peer reviewer confidentiality, the Q&A session will not be published but a de-identified transcript of the Q&A session will be made available.

Peer reviewers who were unable to attend the webinar are strongly encouraged to view the video once it is available.

A reminder that the Investigator Grants 2022 Peer Review Mentor video is also available on NHMRC’s website.

Investigator Grants 2023

As announced in Tracker on 11 April, the 2023 Investigator Grants funding round will open for applications in January 2023 (instead of August 2022 as previously planned). The funding commencement date will remain unchanged as 1 January 2024.

NHMRC is exploring options to address the gender disparity in funding outcomes in the Investigator Grant scheme. This is informed by analysis and recent sector-wide webinars and in consultation with NHMRC’s Women in Health Science Committee and Research Committee.

The revised opening date is to allow NHMRC to conduct careful analysis, detailed modelling, broad consultation, and potentially make significant changes to the grant guidelines. Information on the consultation processes will be released via Tracker as details are finalised.

Ideas Grants Applications Submitted at Close of Round 

A total of 2,194 applications were submitted to the 2022 round.

This is a decrease from 2,639 applications submitted to the 2021 round.

Ideas Grants Peer Review Processes

NHMRC is currently reviewing its peer review membership requirements following the close of round for Ideas Grants. NHMRC appreciates the involvement of the sector and the willingness of researchers who have made themselves available for peer review.

Not everyone who expressed an interest can be appointed to participate, as membership requirements depend on the number and spread of applications received, as well as the results of the conflict of interest and suitability survey results, which prospective members will be asked to complete in May. Final appointments will be made after this process.

Synergy Grants 2022 Update 

The Synergy Grants 2022 round closed for applications on Wednesday 13 April 2022, with 69 applications submitted.

The suitability survey, which includes the conflict of interest process, is being finalised. The stage one assessment of Knowledge Gain and Synergy is due to begin on 11 May 2022.

NHMRC appreciates and values the contribution that peer reviewers make to timely completion of this process and upholding NHMRC’s principles of peer review.

Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme Key Dates 

Minimum data is due on 11 May 2022.

Applications close on 8 June 2022.

Minimum data must be entered in Sapphire by 17:00 (AEST) Wednesday 11 May to allow NHMRC to start identifying suitable peer reviewers. Applicants must complete the required fields with correct information. Using placeholder text such as “text”, “synopsis”, “XX” or “Postgraduate Scholarship” etc. is not acceptable as minimum data.

Minimum data fields for the 2022 Postgraduate Scholarship scheme are outlined in the 2022 Postgraduate Scholarship Grant Guidelines at Appendix C: Postgraduate Scholarship Guide to Applicants. The 2022 Postgraduate Scholarship Grant Guidelines and other documents to support applicants are available on GrantConnect.

Failure to meet these minimum data requirements by the deadline will result in the application not proceeding.

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.

Research Help Centre (RHC) and Sapphire Requests

Applicants who intend to submit applications to the 2022 Postgraduate Scholarship Grant round should ensure that:

  • they have an active account or request access to Sapphire as soon as possible
  • their primary supervisors 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, include the URL and request that it be added to the system.

Please allow at least 72 hours for Sapphire account activation to occur.

Targeted Call for Research: Improving Indigenous Maternal and Child Health in the Early Years 2022 Grant Opportunity – Minimum Data

Minimum data for applications to the NHMRC Targeted Call for Research: Improving Indigenous maternal and child health in the early years 2022 Grant Opportunity is due by 17:00 (AEST) on 18 May 2022.

Further details on this grant opportunity are contained within the Grant Guidelines, available on GrantConnect.

Please contact the Research Help Centre for further information or assistance.

GACD A Life Course Approach to Common NCD Risk Factor Prevention and Reduction Funding Call 2022

Australian researchers applying for the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) A Life Course Approach to Common Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) Risk Factor Prevention and Reduction Funding Call are reminded that they must apply through both the GACD common submissions portal (closing date: 31 May 2022 11:59 pm Brussels time) and Sapphire (closing date: 2 June 2022, 17:00 (AEST)).

For details, refer to the Grant Opportunity on GrantConnect.

NHMRC Impact Case Study: The Cochlear Implant Restores Hearing

Impaired hearing can lead to adverse outcomes for those affected, including a loss of social contact, impaired speech understanding and risks to personal safety.

Hearing aids amplify sounds so that they may be detected by those who are ‘hard of hearing’, but only cochlear implants can help those who are profoundly deaf.

NHMRC-funded researchers at The University of Melbourne developed the type of cochlear implant that is in widespread use today. In partnership with leading Australian medical device firm Nucleus Ltd, their work led to the development of Cochlear Limited, a successful Australian company and the world’s leading cochlear implant provider.

Find out more about this work in NHMRC’s new Impact Case Study: the cochlear implant restores hearing.

If you would like to discuss partnering with NHMRC to document your organisation’s work within an NHMRC case study, please contact the Impact Case Studies team.

Key Application Dates

Refer to the funding calendar on NHMRC's website.

Tracker

Previous editions of Tracker are available on NHMRC’s website.

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