10. Submitting an application

10.1 Opening and Closing Dates

Application opening and closing dates vary between NHMRC funding schemes and may include interim deadlines (e.g. minimum data submission deadlines). Indicative dates are generally advertised well in advance on the NHMRC website under NHMRC Funding Calendar. Confirmed dates and associated deadlines are published in scheme-specific funding rules once the application period opens.

It is the responsibility of applicants to ensure they are aware of all relevant dates (including any NHMRC interim deadlines and internal submission dates imposed by institutions), closing times, whether daylight saving applies and any time zone differences. Applications will not be accepted if:

  • they are submitted after the specified closing date and time
  • they fail to meet any interim deadlines.

Any changes to dates will be notified via the RAO of Administering Institutions and published in the relevant scheme-specific funding rules and on the NHMRC website.

Once submitted to NHMRC as outlined in section 10.4, the application is considered final and no changes may be made (see section 10.6 of the NHMRC Funding Rules).

10.2 Submission Method

Applications must be submitted electronically using NHMRC’s online Research Grants Management System (RGMS) unless otherwise advised by NHMRC.

Electronic submission requires Administering Institutions and all Specified Personnel on an application to register for an RGMS account. Applicants who are not registered in RGMS can submit a new user request via the RGMS login page.

Refer to the RGMS Training Program for detailed user instructions, or contact your RAO or the NHMRC Research Help Centre for further assistance.

10.3 Content and Format Requirements

Applicants must complete and submit the following information in RGMS:

  • all mandatory sections of the RGMS Profile
  • all sections of the RGMS Curriculum Vitae (CV) required by the relevant scheme
  • all parts of the application form
  • any other supporting documents required by the relevant scheme (e.g. grant proposal, referee reports, letters of support from policy/practice/funding partners, etc).

The application should contain all information necessary for assessment without the need for further written or oral explanation or reference to additional documentation. All details included must be current at the time of submission, as this information is relied on during assessment.

Applicants must not include in any part of their application:

  • links to external websites, apart from references to journal articles, guidelines, government reports, datasets and other outputs that are only available online.  Where links are included, provide the URL in full (e.g. the NHMRC website https://www.nhmrc.gov.au).
  • publication metrics such as Journal Impact Factors, and the previous Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) Ranked Journal List, consistent with the recommendations from the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment.

More information on this can be found in the Guide to NHMRC Peer Review.

Applications must comply with all content and formatting requirements. Incomplete or non-compliant applications may be excluded from consideration.

Additional requirements and guidance in relation to each component of the application are provided below and in the Advice and Instructions to Applicants.

10.3.1 Profile and CV

Profile and CV information must be provided for all Specified Personnel named on an application. It is the responsibility of all Specified Personnel to enter and maintain the information in their RGMS Profile and CV. This information is used to contact applicants, assess applications and identify peer reviewers. The CV is also used to capture grant outcomes in the form of publications.

All Specified Personnel must have entered their Profile and CV information in RGMS before CIA, Scholar or Fellow certification. An earlier deadline may apply to the entry of some Profile and CV data (e.g. if a minimum data date applies). This will be stated in the relevant scheme-specific funding rules where this is the case.

Mandatory Profile information is indicated by a red asterisk in RGMS.

CV requirements vary between schemes and are specified in the Advice and Instructions to Applicants.

10.3.2 Application Form

The CIA, Scholar or Fellow must complete all parts of the application form, in English, prior to submission. An earlier minimum data date may apply to the completion of some parts of the application form. Scheme-specific funding rules will identify if this applies.

Application requirements vary between schemes. Refer to the Advice and Instructions to Applicants for further details.

10.3.3 Grant Proposal

In addition to the application form, a written Grant Proposal must be submitted in English. Applications must be submitted in a PDF file, using the NHMRC’s Grant Proposal template available on each scheme’s respective webpage. Applicants must use this template to complete their Grant Proposal. The Grant Proposal must then be uploaded into RGMS.

Details to be addressed in the Grant Proposal and associated page limits are set out in the scheme-specific advice and instructions to applicants. Applicants must note that assessors will, as part of their assessment, consider the reproducibility and applicability of the proposed research and research design. Within the experimental design of the proposal, applicants should include sufficient information to demonstrate that robust and unbiased results will be produced. For further detail, refer to the Grant Proposal table in the scheme-specific advice and instructions to applicants.

Naming and formatting requirements for the Grant Proposal are listed in the table below.

Conformance with page limits and formatting requirements is strictly enforced. Applications that fail to comply with these requirements may be excluded from consideration.

Table 1: Formatting requirements[1]

Component Requirements
File format The Grant Proposal must be saved and uploaded as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file
File size The PDF file MUST NOT exceed 2Mb in size
File name

The PDF file must be named using the following:

  • APP ID_Applicant’s Surname_Document Type/Name.pdf
  • e.g. APP1234567_Smith_Grant Proposal.pdf
Page size

A4

Page limits Page limits vary between schemes and parts of the document. Refer to the relevant scheme-specific advice and instructions to applicants for applicable page limits
Header

Application ID and Applicant surname must be included in the header.

Document title (e.g. Grant Proposal – 2014 Second Call Partnership Projects) must be included header.
Footer Page number must be included in the footer.
Font NHMRC recommends a minimum of 12 point Times New Roman font. Applicants must ensure the font is readable.
Line spacing Single
Language English

[1] If the assessor cannot read the application due to inconsistency with any of the above formatting requirements, or a combination of any of them, the assessor is not compelled to consider the improperly completed section in their assessment or complete the assessment of the application, on the grounds that the application does not comply with the formatting requirements. Where an assessor cannot complete an assessment because the formatting renders the grant proposal unreadable and therefore does not submit an assessment, such applications will not be excused from the NFFC process because they do not meet the minimum assessments requirement as per the NFFC business rules.

10.4 Certification and Submission

Once complete, applications must be electronically certified and then submitted to NHMRC through the RAO of an NHMRC approved Administering Institution.

Certification is required firstly by the CIA, Fellow or Scholar and then by the Administering Institution.

10.4.1 CIA, Fellow or Scholar Certification

The CIA, Fellow or Scholar must also provide the RAO with evidence that the application is complete and that all CIs have agreed to it (i.e. through written evidence such as email). Such written evidence should be retained by the Administering Institution and must be provided to the NHMRC on request.

The following assurances, acknowledgements and undertakings are required of the CIA, Fellow or Scholar prior to submitting an application:

  • All required information has been provided and is complete, current and correct, and all eligibility and other application requirements have been met.
  • All personnel contributing to the Research Activity have familiarised themselves with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, the National Statement of the Ethical Conduct of Human Research, the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes and other relevant NHMRC policies concerning the conduct of research, and agree to conduct themselves in accordance with those policies.
  • All Specified Personnel have provided written agreement to be named on the application, to participate in the manner described in the application and to the use of their personal information as described in the NHMRC Privacy Policy.
  • All Chief Investigators have provided written agreement for the final application to be certified.
  • The application may be excluded from consideration if found to be in breach of any requirements in accordance with section 10.7 of the NHMRC Funding Rules.

And if funded,

  • the research will be carried out in strict accordance with the conditions governing NHMRC grants at the time of award
  • the research may be used for internal NHMRC quality evaluations/reviews.

10.4.2 Administering Institution Certification

The following assurances, acknowledgements and undertakings are required of the Administering Institution prior to submitting an application:

  • Reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the application is complete and correct and complies with all eligibility and other application requirements detailed in the relevant Funding Rules and Advice and Instructions to Applicants.
  • Where the CIA, Fellow or Scholar is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident, they will have the requisite work visa in place at the time of accepting the successful grant and will remain in Australia for at least 80% of the funding period.
  • The appropriate facilities and salary support will be available for the funding period
  • Approval of the Research Activity by relevant institutional committees and approval bodies, particularly in relation to ethics and biosafety, will be sought and obtained prior to the commencement of the research, or the parts of the research that require their approval
  • Arrangements for the management of the grant have been agreed between all institutions associated with the application
  • The application is being submitted with the full authority of, and on behalf of, the Administering Institution, noting that under section 136.1 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995, it is an offence to provide false or misleading information to a Commonwealth body in an application for a benefit. This includes submission of an application by those not authorised by the Institution to submit applications for funding to NHMRC.
  • Written evidence of consent has been obtained from all CIs and AIs and provided to the RAO.

Administering Institutions must ensure that the RAO role is authorised to certify and submit applications.

Once an application has been submitted and the scheme application period has closed, the application is considered final and no changes may be made.

10.5 Retracted Publications

If a publication relevant to an application is retracted after the application has been submitted, the applicant must promptly notify their RAO. The RAO must advise NHMRC at the earliest opportunity of the retraction by email (help@nhmrc.gov.au) with an appropriate explanation regarding the retraction.

In addition, where the publication forms part of the applicant's track record, the applicant must immediately record that information in their Profile & CV in RGMS.

If an application is largely dependent on the results of a retracted publication, the applicant should also consider withdrawing the application. If, under these circumstances, an applicant chooses not to withdraw the application, they should make their reasons clear by immediately advising the NHMRC in writing to the Research Help Centre at help@nhmrc.gov.au.

10.6 Withdrawal of Applications

Applications may be withdrawn at any time by written notice from the Administering Institution’s RAO to NHMRC.

An application may be ‘marked for deletion’ by the applicant in RGMS before the close of the round. This authorises the NHMRC to delete the application once the round has closed. The application will not be deleted while the funding round remains open for application submission.

10.7 Exclusion of Applications

An application may be excluded from further consideration if:

  • it contravenes an eligibility rule or other requirement as set out in the NHMRC Funding Rules, scheme-specific funding rules or Advice and Instructions to Applicants
  • it, or persons named on the application, contravene an applicable law or code
  • it is inconsistent with the objectives of the NHMRC Act and/or the purposes of the MREA (refer to sections 3 and 51 of the NHMRC Act)
  • persons named on the application are the subject of a decision by the Chief Executive Officer or Delegate that any application they make to NHMRC, for specified funding schemes, will be excluded from consideration for a period of time, whether or not they meet the eligibility requirements. Such decisions will generally reflect action taken by NHMRC in response to research misconduct allegations or findings, or a Probity Event. See the NHMRC Policy on Misconduct related to NHMRC Funding.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • The application is not certified and submitted via RGMS through the RAO of an NHMRC approved Administering Institution by the advertised closing date and time.
  • The proposed research duplicates research previously or currently being undertaken.
  • The application fails to accurately declare the source, duration and level of funding already held for research in the particular area of the application.
  • The application includes any incomplete, false or misleading information.
  • The CEO or delegate has made a decision under the relevant NHMRC policy to exclude the applicant from consideration in response to research misconduct allegations or findings or a Probity Event.

This is to ensure a level playing field for all applicants and to uphold the integrity of NHMRC funded research. Such exclusion may take place at any time following CIA, Fellow, Scholar and Administering Institution certification.

If a decision to exclude an application from further consideration is made, NHMRC will provide its decision and the reason(s) for the decision to the Administering Institution’s RAO in writing. The Administering Institution’s RAO is responsible for advising applicants of the decision in writing. Decisions to exclude an application may be reviewable by the Commissioner of Complaints (refer to the NHMRC website for further information on the Commissioner of Complaints).