5. Eligibility

Project Grants have eligibility criteria additional to those identified in section 7 of the NHMRC Funding Rules. Applications will be excluded from consideration if eligibility requirements are not met (see section 10.7 of the NHMRC Funding Rules).

NHMRC will enforce strict conformance to the Project Grants eligibility criteria and any applications that do not meet the relevant eligibility criteria will automatically be ineligible and removed from the assessment process.

It is the responsibility of all CIs to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria to apply in the Project Grants round. RGMS has functionality available to assist applicants in determining their eligibility however, this remains indicative only and does not replace the CIs responsibility to confirm their eligibility.

For Example, CIs on current NHMRC Grants should confirm with the CIA that no variation requests have been submitted which may extend the duration of any current Grants which may impact the CIs eligibility to apply.

5.1 Multiple Research Grant Eligibility

5.1.1 Project Grants

The maximum number of project grant applications a CI (CIA-CIJ) may submit in any year will be six, less the number of NHMRC Project Grants that are scheduled to continue in the year following the year of the application. For example, if an investigator, at the time of submission of an application holds four NHMRC Project Grants, one of which will finish at the end of the year of the application, the investigator may submit up to three applications.

Where a CI (CIA-CIJ) has submitted applications in excess of the maximum number of grants and/or  applications for which he/she is eligible, all applications that include that investigator as a CI will be automatically ineligible and removed from the assessment process (refer to subsection 10.7 NHMRC Funding Rules). It is the responsibility of all CIs to ensure that they meet these requirements prior to submission of an application.

Targeted and Urgent Calls for Research funding types will not count towards the maximum of six NHMRC Project Grants held.

Note: A different requirement applies to CIs on Program Grants (please refer to subsection 5.1.2 below.)

5.1.2 Program Grant applicants and grant holders

Full Time Program Grant CIs are not permitted to hold, or apply for more than one Project Grant.

Applicants should note that there can only be one Program Grant holder named as a CI on any project grant application. Program Grant CIs cannot be the only (sole) CI named on any existing Project Grant or a Project Grant application: there must be at least one other CI who is not also a CI on a Program Grant receiving funding in any year in which the Project Grant is funded.

A researcher can be a part-time CI on one or two Program Grants. Part-Time Program Grant CIs who hold one Program Grant are permitted to hold up to two Project Grants but not as a sole CI.

Part-Time Program Grant CIs who hold two Program Grants are not permitted to hold or apply for any Project Grants.

A table summarising the multiple NHMRC Project/Program Grant eligibility rules can be found at Attachment D.

5.1.3 New Investigators

The New Investigator (NI) initiative aims to support researchers who are yet to receive significant research funding through a competitive grants process. NHMRC seeks to ensure that the success rate for NI applicants is approximately the same as that for standard Project Grant applications.

All CIs on an application for NI funding must at the time of application submission:

  • be less than 10 years from the date of the letter advising them that their doctoral thesis was passed, unless career disruptions exist (see below for further details);
  • not have been a named CI (or equivalent) on a funded NHMRC Project Grant and/or an ARC Discovery Grant; and
  • not have been a named CI (or equivalent) on a funded research grant from any other agency listed on the Australian Competitive Grants Register or an equivalent international funding agency totaling $AUD 250,000 or more. Note the $250 000 limit is not cumulative.

Applicants may still have held a salary-only award (Scholarship or Fellowship) from any funding source including NHMRC (e.g. NHMRC Career Development Award, Early Career Fellowship Award or Training Award). If applicants have received funding support that includes research and salary support, applicants must provide details of each funding component for the research and salary support. Applicants must also provide justification why the application should be considered a New Investigator applicant. Applicants who fail to provide justification and these details (if applicable) will be ruled ineligible.

5.1.4 New Investigator Confirmation

Applicants who wish to apply as a New Investigator must seek confirmation of their eligibility to apply in this category by 21 January 2015. The early application and notification process is intended to allow the applicant(s) time to adjust the CI team if they do not meet the eligibility criteria.

All applicants applying as New Investigators must complete the mandatory New Investigator form on the Project Grants webpage. Applicants should clearly address the New Investigator eligibility criteria as outlined in the form, as no additional explanatory information will be accepted once a submission has been made.

New Investigator Career Disruptions

Career disruptions can be claimed over the 10 year period only for New Investigator eligibility assessment purposes. However a career disruption claim for the assessment of Team Quality & Capability will only be considered if the career disruption occurred in the last five year period. Please refer to section 5.3 B-PR Grant Proposal (E – CI Track Record) of the Project Grant Scheme-Specific Advice & Instructions to Applicants for further information.