National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) uses a number of research classification systems to categorise research applications and assessors' expertise including Fields of Research, Broad Research Area, Research Keywords and Burden of Disease.

Fields of Research

'Fields of Research' (FoR) is used to describe common knowledge domains and/or methodologies used in research and experimental development (R&D).

The FoR used by NHMRC are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), which was developed for use in the measurement and analysis of R&D undertaken in Australia and New Zealand. The ANZSRC was initially released on 31 March 2008. A review of the classifications was undertaken in 2019 and new classifications, which replace ANZSRC 2008, were released on 30 June 2020.

Further information about the ANZSRC FoR classification, including correspondences between ANZSRC 2020 and ANZSRC 2008 FoR codes, is available on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.

Broad Research Area

Broad Research Area (BRA) is NHMRC's longest established research classification, having been collected across all grant rounds and schemes since the 1980s. The primary purpose of this classification is to monitor and report funding distribution across the breadth of health and medical research areas.

The following BRA definitions were developed in 2022 to assist applicants in selecting the BRA that best aligns with their expertise or best describes their research proposal.

This BRA for a research proposal does not need to be the same as that selected in an applicant’s Sapphire profile. For example, a clinician researcher may select the Clinical Medicine and Science BRA to classify their expertise in My Profile but select Basic Science to describe their research proposal on signalling pathways in cancer cells.

Basic Science Research
seeks to understand the biological processes that underpin health and disease at the molecular, cellular, organ system and whole body levels. It may be conducted in vitro, in vivo and/or in silico. It may use, but is not limited to, cells, tissues or other materials of human origin or from relevant animal models.
Clinical Medicine and Science Research
seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human diseases and conditions. It may involve interaction with patients and/or the use of clinical diagnostic materials or patient data.
Health Services Research
seeks to understand and improve the effectiveness, quality, safety, social and environmental dimensions of health care including access, distribution, timeliness and efficiency.
Public Health Research
seeks to improve the health of a population through the prevention of disease, prolongation of life and promotion of health and wellbeing. It includes research to understand the social, behavioural, environmental and other determinants of health and disease.

Research Keywords

Research Keywords are used to describe the research more specifically.

A list of the latest keywords is available in the Sapphire Knowledge Base, located under Researcher > My Applications > Keyword Library.

Burden of Disease

'Burden of Disease' is used to describe the diseases or health conditions that the research relates to. The Burden of Disease classification is based on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) developed by the World Health Organization (WHO).


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