5 Eligibility

NHMRC staff will not make eligibility rulings prior to an application being submitted. It is up to the applicant, in consultation with their RAO, to judge whether they will be suitable or not and to apply appropriately. An exception applies for applicants who wish to apply as NI applicants. These applicants must seek confirmation of their eligibility to apply in the New Investigator category, which involves an early application and notification process (see section 5.1.4).

Project Grants have eligibility criteria additional to those identified in section 7 of the NHMRC Funding Rules 2017. Applications will be excluded from consideration if eligibility requirements are not met (see section 10.7 of the NHMRC Funding Rules 2017).
Except for eligibility criteria requirements specific to NHMRC New Investigator status, which must be met at the time of the New Investigator application submission date, it is the responsibility of all CIs to ensure that they meet all other eligibility criteria at time of submission and for the duration of the peer review period 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 CI’s 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 affect the CI’s 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 is 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 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 she/he is eligible, all applications that include that investigator as a CI will be automatically ineligible and removed from the assessment process (refer to section 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.

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

NHMRC 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 an awarded Program Grant or a Program Grant receiving funding in any year in which the Project Grant is funded.

This eligibility criterion applies regardless of a CI’s part-time or full-time status on the Program Grant. For further information on part-time Program Grants and Project Grant eligibility on existing grants please refer to the Program Grants scheme-specific funding rules for funding commencing in 2019.

A table summarising the NHMRC Project/Program Grant eligibility rules underpinning the eligibility criterion is 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 fund NI applications at approximately the same rate as standard Project Grant applications.

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

  • 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 research support grant and/or an ARC research support grant (e.g. Discovery Projects).
  • Not have been a named CI (or equivalent) on a funded research support grant from an agency listed on the Australian Competitive Grants Register or an equivalent national1 or international competitive funding grant totaling $AUD 250,000 or more. Note the $250,000 limit is not cumulative.

Note: An early application process applies to confirm NI eligibility, refer to subsection 5.1.4 below.

Applicants may still have held a salary-only award (Scholarship or Fellowship) from any funding source including NHMRC (e.g. NHMRC Career Development Fellowship, Early Career Fellowship 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 (the research support component must not total $AUD 250,000 or more). Applicants must also provide justification why the applicant should be considered a NI. Applicants who fail to provide all necessary details at the time of NI application submission will not be eligible for consideration of NI status and will progress as a standard applicant in the round.

5.1.4 New Investigator Eligibility Application Process

Applicants who wish to apply as a NI must seek confirmation of their eligibility to apply in this category by 25 January 2017. 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 a NI must complete the mandatory NI form in RGMS in the ‘Applications’ section. Applicants should clearly address the NI eligibility criteria as outlined in the form, as no additional explanatory information will be accepted once a submission has been made and the submission date has passed.

New Investigator Career Disruptions

Career disruptions can be claimed over the 10 year period only for NI eligibility assessment purposes. A career disruption claim for the assessment of Team Quality & Capability will only be considered as outlined in section 4.4 B-GP Grant Proposal of the Project Grants scheme-specific advice & instructions to applicants.

1 Includes State and Territory based awards.