National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) administers Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grants. Organisations can apply to NHMRC to become an MRFF Eligible Organisation (MRFF EO). This will allow them to be separately identified in NHMRC's grant management system and to apply for MRFF grant funding.
What are MRFF Eligible Organisations?
The process for the approval of an organisation to become an MRFF EO is managed by the grant hub administering the relevant MRFF funding – that is, NHMRC or the Business Grants Hub (BGH). This page outlines the process for obtaining EO status to apply for MRFF funding administered by NHMRC.
The objective of the Medical Research Future Fund Act 2015 is to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians. The role of an MRFF EO is to support this objective by undertaking medical research and medical innovation activities in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in any MRFF Funding Agreement (PDF 820 KB) to which the MRFF EO will enter into, if approved MRFF EOs must ensure that each MRFF-funded research activity is carried out in an ethical, responsible, diligent, and competent manner and in accordance with the approved application and MRFF Funding Agreement (PDF 820 KB).
MRFF grants can only be made to organisations that meet criteria defined in legislation. Because of this, the following types of organisations can apply to become MRFF EOs:
- Medical research institutes – that is, bodies that conduct medical research as a primary purpose, and which are also registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission
- Universities – that is, Australian universities listed in either Table A or Table B of the Higher Education Support Act 2003
- corporate Commonwealth entities – that is, Commonwealth entities that are bodies corporate
- corporations – that is, Australian public companies, Australian private companies, and other incorporated entities.
If your organisation does not meet the requirements for MRFF EO status, you may wish to partner with an existing MRFF EO as a Participating Institution in order to apply for and if successful, receive MRFF funding via an approved MRFF EO.
For more information, download the MRFF EOs Fact Sheet.
Prior to applying for MRFF Eligible Organisation status
A list of approved MRFF Eligible Organisations, is available to download below. Ensure that you check that your organisation is not on this list prior to applying.
If your organisation meets the legislative requirements, applicants should satisfy themselves as to their organisation's ability to meet the terms and conditions set out in the MRFF Funding Agreement before proceeding with certification for MRFF EO status. Grant Opportunity Guidelines are published with each grant opportunity at GrantConnect. Grant Opportunity Guidelines are unique to every grant opportunity and may contain additional, grant opportunity specific terms and conditions that EOs should be aware of.
A template MRFF Funding Agreement (PDF 820 KB).
Applying for Eligible Organisation status
The certification form (DOCX 250 KB) that must be filled out by organisations wanting to apply for MRFF EO status along with Guidance on completing the form is available to download below. Organisations should ensure that they provide all required information and that all information is true and correct.
Organisations may apply for MRFF EO status at any time. It is recommended that an organisation applies for MRFF EO status as early as possible – ideally prior to the opening of a grant opportunity you wish to apply for, or if that is not feasible, as soon as the opportunity opens. An organisation must be an approved MRFF EO (achieve MRFF EO status) in order to submit an application to an open MRFF grant opportunity through NHMRC's grants management system as required.
The purpose of the MRFF EO certification form is to provide minimum information required to determine the eligibility of an organisation to receive funding in the form of grants from the MRFF. Other eligibility criteria may be applied to specific grant opportunities. If certified as an MRFF EO, it will be the responsibility of the MRFF EO to check any other eligibility criteria that apply before lodging an application for a grant opportunity.
MRFF Eligible Organisation roles
The EO is required to nominate position holders who are expected to ensure that the actions undertaken, including within NHMRCs grants management system (Sapphire), are in adherence with the MRFF Funding Agreement (PDF 820 KB).
EOs must ensure that the following people are nominated with separation of duties in mind:
- Research Administration Officer (RAO)
- Responsible Officer (RO)
- Finance Officer (FO)
- Chief Finance Officer (CFO).
Refer to clause 1 of the MRFF Funding Agreement for the definitions of these roles.
NHMRC recommends that different individuals are nominated for each role to support two-step processing of all necessary grant transactions in Sapphire. Further information is available at Sapphire Help.
If your institution does not meet the requirements for MRFF EO status, you may wish to partner with an existing MRFF EO as a Participating Institution (PI) in order to receive funding. A PI is an organisation that operates under the leadership of an MRFF EO to contribute to Research Activities conducted by the MRFF EO in accordance with its formal agreement with the MRFF EO. Further information about PIs is available in the MRFF Funding Agreement (PDF 820 KB).
How to lodge
Submit completed certification form via email to the NHMRC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Applications with incomplete information may not be assessed.
MRFF Eligible Organisation Assessment Process
Following receipt of your completed MRFF EO certification form, NHMRC will review your form. Once a decision has been made, NHMRC will notify you of the outcome and, if successful, let you know the next steps, including how to access NHMRC's grants management system.
NHMRC endeavours to complete assessments of MRFF EO status in 5 business days from receipt of a completed certification form (that is, a form with all information provided), but may be longer during periods of peak activity.
Transferring Eligible Organisation
A grantee awarded MRFF funding who may wish to transfer the grant to another organisation can only transfer to another EO (approved list of EOs is available in downloads).
For more information, refer to the NHMRC's Grantee Variation Policy.
Submit enquiries via email to email@example.com.
MRFF Funding Agreement (version effective November 2021)
The 2021 MRFF Funding Agreement (refer to 'Downloads') has replaced the February 2019 MRFF Funding Agreement (see clause 18.1). The 2021 MRFF Funding Agreement includes the following changes:
- References to MRFF "Eligible Organisation" replacing NHMRC "Administering Institutions" to reflect the new process outlined above.
- Amended wording to account for changes to NHMRC policies, including the discontinuation of the Administering Institutions Policy and Misconduct Policy and the addition of the Integrity Policy.
- Amended wording to account for the introduction of NHMRC's new grants management system, Sapphire, through removal of references to RGMS, and replacing them with 'NHMRC's Grants Management System'.
- Addition of clause 2.12, by which all active Schedules (for a Research Activity) issued under the February 2019 MRFF Funding Agreement are now taken to be Schedules under the 2021 MRFF Funding Agreement. The intention of this clause is to ease administrative burden on Eligible Organisations that already have an MRFF Funding Agreement executed with the Commonwealth, through alignment of all Schedules to the one funding agreement.
- Removal of clauses 10.22 and 10.23 due to the NHMRC managed 'Institution Annual Compliance Report' not being applicable to MRFF funded grants. Compliance reporting will be managed under 'Additional Reporting' which has replaced clause 10.22.
- Clauses 16 and 17 (relating to Events of default and Misconduct), currently limit the Eligible Organisations' responsibilities and the NHMRC's scope to take action under to misconduct and integrity matters involving Specified Personnel (as defined in the Agreement). The wording in these clauses has been broadened to include any other Personnel working on a Research Activity who are not explicitly defined as Specified Personnel.
- All active Schedules (for a Research Activity) issued under the February 2019 MRFF Funding Agreement are now following the issue of this notice, by virtue of the new clause 2.12, taken to be Schedules under the 2021 MRFF Funding Agreement.
- The 2021 MRFF Funding Agreement continues to include an execution page for signatures. Whilst this is not necessary for the variation process, an execution page is required for new MRFF Eligible Organisations
- New MRFF Eligible Organisations who do not yet have an MRFF Funding Agreement in place must sign and return the 2021 MRFF Funding Agreement to firstname.lastname@example.org for full execution. Once fully executed the final copy will be provided to the MRFF Eligible Organisation.