NHMRC funds research through institutions that it has approved to administer NHMRC grants.

NHMRC funding is awarded through Administering Institutions (AIs), which include universities, hospitals and medical research institutes that meet defined research governance requirements. 

Roles and responsibilites of AIs

NHMRC’s purposes are to fund high-quality health and medical research and build research capability, support the translation of health and medical research into better health outcomes and promote the highest standards of ethics and integrity in health and medical research. The role of AIs is to support NHMRC by ensuring that each research activity is conducted in accordance with these purposes. Therefore, AIs are expected to demonstrate significant ability in research for improving health and medical outcomes for Australia.

AIs must ensure that each research activity is carried out in an ethical, responsible, diligent and competent manner and in accordance with the approved grant application. The responsibilities of AIs include all necessary arrangements to ensure compliance with:

If your institution does not meet the requirements for AI status, for example due to small size or lack of research infrastructure, you may wish to partner with an existing AI as a Participating Institution (PI) in order to apply for and if successful, receive funding.

Requirements for AI status

The criteria for your institution to be eligible to apply for AI status are to:

  1. Conduct health and medical research in Australia
  2. Have a minimum of two years proven track record of: 
    1. operating under your legal name that is registered with your ABN
    2. having the objective to improve health and medical outcomes for Australia by conducting health and medical research in location/s in Australia
    3. operating as one of the entity types listed in question 5 of this form
    4. operating a publically searchable website under the applicant’s name
    5.  having  an independent governing board or council with scientific and administrative experience, skills and qualifications
    6. successfully applying for and administering research grants from any government or non-government entity, for example by operating as a Participating Institution (see below) under the leadership of an NHMRC Administering Institution
    7. being financially viable and of sufficient size to provide assistance, resources, facilities and services to support research activity and cover all other expenses like administration, insurance, rent, taxes, repairs, salaries, communications and utility charges, as demonstrated by annual reports and where relevant financial audit reports. 
    8. have the necessary research infrastructure in place, as demonstrated by annual reports and where relevant financial audit reports
  3. Have successfully completed a review of your internal procedures and policies to assure compliance with NHMRC’s policies and requirements, including NHMRC’s Open Access Policy, the NHMRC Research Integrity and Misconduct Policy and policies to support gender equity, ensuring that if Administering Institution status is granted, the institution is able to enter into and meet all of the requirements of the NHMRC Funding Agreement.

Once approved, AIs are required to have a signed Funding Agreement in place. 

AI application process

Institutions that are not already an NHMRC AI can apply for AI status by completing the Administering Institutions application form (see downloads).

The AI application form collects data about the institution and asks for declarations to be made by the institution’s CEO/Vice-Chancellor that it meets specified requirements.

The AI application process distinguishes between universities that are specified as listed providers in Section 16-10 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HES Act) and other institutions. Table A and Table B providers under the HES Act are eligible to become AIs and apply for NHMRC funding once they have provided the required business information and signed the required declarations in the Administering Institutions application form. 

Relevant documents also include:

Completed forms are to be submitted to: administering.institutions@nhmrc.gov.au.

Incomplete application forms will not be assessed. 

Please note that: 

  • NHMRC reserves the right to ask the applicant institution to provide additional information to support its claims of suitability to administer Australian Government funding 
  • NHMRC endeavours to complete the application review within 30 business days, however reviews could take longer in peak periods or where more information is required from applicants. 
  • The applicant institution will be notified of the assessment outcome in writing. 
  • AIs cannot be named as a partner on a Partnership Project application, unless they: (1) are an organisation which primarily delivers health policy and/or health services, and (2) obtain a waiver from NHMRC. Refer to Partnership-Projects for further information.

Participating institutions

If your institution does not meet the requirements for AI status, you may wish to partner with an existing AI as a Participating Institution (PI) in order to receive funding. A PI is an organisation that operates under the leadership of an AI to contribute to Research Activities conducted by the AI in accordance with its Formal Agreement with the AI. Further information about PIs is available in clause 5 and several other clauses of the Funding Agreement.

Retaining AI Status

All AIs must:

  • update contact information when changes occur and must review their provided details annually
  • report yearly on compliance in the Institutional Annual Compliance Report, including those that did not administer NHMRC funds during the reporting calendar year. 

If your institution no longer requires AI status (as you do not have staff who will be applying for NHMRC or Medical Research Future Fund grants, and this status is not required for any other reason), please advise NHMRC via a letter from your chief executive to: administering.institutions@nhmrc.gov.au.

Further information

A list of current NHMRC AIs is available to download (see Approved Administering Institutions below in downloads).

Please direct any enquiries about Administering Institution status to: administering@institutions@nhmrc.gov.au

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