7. Eligibility requirements

Applications for NHMRC funding are subject to the general eligibility requirements set out in these Funding Rules.

Additional eligibility requirements are in scheme-specific funding rules.

7.1 General Requirements

Institutions must be an NHMRC approved Administering Institution to be eligible to receive and administer NHMRC funding - refer to the NHMRC website for a list of approved Administering Institutions.

Chief Investigators A (CIAs), Fellows, Scholars and Administering Institutions must ensure applications meet general and scheme-specific eligibility requirements  at the time of submission and for the duration of peer review unless otherwise stated. Applications that do not meet these eligibility requirements may be ruled ineligible and may be excluded from further consideration in accordance with Section 10.7 of the NHMRC Funding Rules.

An eligibility ruling may be made by NHMRC at any stage following the close of applications, including during peer review. Where an eligibility ruling is being considered, NHMRC may request further information in order to assess whether the eligibility requirement has been met. Administering Institutions will be notified in writing of ineligible applications and are responsible for advising applicants. Refer to section 11.7 of the NHMRC Funding Rules for the making of complaints in relation to funding outcomes.

7.2 Multiple Applications/Grants

Limits apply to the number of NHMRC grants that a Chief Investigator (CI) may concurrently hold and/or apply for under certain schemes. These include, but are not limited to, Project Grants, Program Grants and some Targeted, Urgent and International Joint calls for research. Refer to each scheme’s relevant scheme-specific funding rules to see if restrictions apply. Those holding grants and/or awards from other funding agencies should refer to the relevant funding rules and conditions of the grant or award to determine their eligibility to hold a concurrent NHMRC grant.

Where it appears that an applicant has submitted similar research support proposals and has been successful with more than one application, the applicant is required to provide NHMRC with a written report clearly identifying the difference between the research aims of the two research activities. If NHMRC subsequently does not consider the two research activities to be sufficiently different, the applicant will be required to decline or relinquish one of the grants.

7.3 Excess Salary

Salary support for Specified Personnel must not exceed 100% across all grants held. Grants awarded in the current and previous rounds for all schemes will be considered when determining whether excess salary has been awarded. 

Applicants should agree on the management of excess salary with the CIAs/Fellows on all grants if the potential for a Specified Person to be in receipt of excess salary may arise. Applicants, having determined the management strategy in the event of excess salary, should then indicate in their application how excess salary will be managed.

If more than one grant is funded that results in a Specified Personnel being awarded/holding more than 100% salary support, NHMRC will impose a funding condition. The condition may require the CIA/Fellow on the affected grants to agree on, and advise NHMRC, via their RAOs, those grant(s) that will have the salary component of their budgets reduced. Once NHMRC has adjusted the budgets and all conditions have been met, NHMRC will commence payments of the grant.

Refer to scheme-specific advice and instructions to applicants for further information.

7.4 People Support Schemes - Scholar or Fellow specific eligibility requirements

Citizenship/Permanent Residency and Fellowship Location Requirements

At the time of acceptance and for the duration of a grant, the Scholarship or Fellowship holder must be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident of Australia, or a New Zealand citizen with Special Category Visa status. The Scholar or Fellow must also be based in Australia for at least 80% of the funding period. Periods of greater than three months overseas require prior approval from NHMRC unless longer periods are allowed in the relevant scheme-specific funding rules.

Administering Institutions are responsible for certifying and ensuring that these requirements are met. NHMRC may request further information in relation to these requirements, including evidence of residency and/or citizenship.

7.5 Research Support Schemes

Chief Investigators and other Specified Personnel

CIs may undertake research on a part-time basis for all or part of the duration of the grant unless otherwise specified in the scheme-specific funding rules.

The maximum number of CIs allowed on an application varies between schemes - refer to the relevant scheme-specific funding rules for details.

The role and contribution of each CI must be described in the grant application. PhD students may be named as CIs in exceptional circumstances where the PhD student is critical for the successful completion of the proposed research. In these cases, applicants may claim a Personal Support Package (PSP) 1 at 50% for PhD students named as CIs.

CIs are expected to remain active on the Research Activity as outlined in the application for the duration of the grant.

Chief Investigator ‘A’

At the time of acceptance and for the duration of a grant, unless otherwise specified in scheme-specific funding rules, the CIA must be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, a permanent resident of Australia or have an appropriate work visa in place. The CIA must also be based in Australia for at least 80% of the funding period.

Salary Support for Chief Investigators

NHMRC Research Support awards are not normally intended to provide salary support for CIs and in some schemes (e.g. Program Grants) salary support for CIs is not offered. However, if applicants are seeking CI salaries, justification on how the proposed budget is directly associated with achieving the outcomes of the research must be provided and will be considered during peer review.

With the exception of Program Grants, Partnership Projects and some Targeted Calls for Research (TCR):

  • CIs, including the CIA, may seek a salary if they are based in Australia for at least 80% of the funding period, as stated above.
  • CIs based overseas are not normally able to draw a salary from a grant unless stated otherwise in the relevant scheme-specific funding rules.

Requested salaries must be based on Personnel Support Packages (PSPs).  Refer to section 8.3 for further information.

NHMRC does not support senior researcher salaries through Research Support schemes. Researchers seeking salaries outside the range of PSP one to five must do so via NHMRC’s People Support schemes (e.g. NHMRC Scholarships and Fellowships). Further information about these schemes is available on the NHMRC website.

Consent to be a Chief Investigator

The CIA must confirm in writing with all other CIs that they agree to be named as such on the application and endorse the application. The CIA must provide written evidence of this to the RAO.

The RAO must not certify and submit the application to NHMRC until the CIA has completed this step and all relevant CI consents and endorsements have been obtained.

Associate Investigators

An Associate Investigator (AI) is defined as an investigator who provides some intellectual and/or practical input into the research and whose participation may warrant inclusion of their name on publications.

Individuals are not able to draw a salary from any NHMRC grants on which they are a named AI.

There is no restriction on who may be named as an AI on an application. However, a maximum number of 10 applies unless otherwise stated in the relevant scheme-specific funding rules.

The CIA must confirm in writing with all AIs that they agree to be named on the application. Written evidence must be obtained from all AIs and provided to the RAO, stating their agreement to be on the application. AIs are not required to endorse an application prior to submission to NHMRC.