The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Funding Agreement and the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Funding Agreements require Administering Institutions (AIs) and MRFF Eligible Organisations (MRF EOs) to submit Annual Financial Statements and a Financial Acquittal Statement for each grant.

NHMRC has migrated basic grant data from RGMS to Sapphire as part of the transition for grant management from RGMS to Sapphire. Additional data will be migrated to Sapphire as outlined on Sapphire Help, under 'Select and Post Award'.

Deployment of Sapphire financial reporting capability is planned for 10 December 2022.

Financial reports migrated to Sapphire

All reports that were accepted by NHMRC or at the status of 'submitted to NHMRC' in RGMS and all reports submitted to NHMRC using the offline template as part of interim arrangements will be migrated to Sapphire.

A dashboard will be available in mid to late January 2023 showing submitted reports and their status.

Details of financial reports yet to be submitted will be available to download from Sapphire. If there are multiple reports due for a grant across multiple years, only the earliest year due will be included in the template download and count.

Reports submitted to NHMRC have been handled as follows:

  • Prior to data migration we have reviewed all financial statements including those previously accepted and there are a very small number of grants that will require revision and resubmission of financial reports for example some reports may be missing from previous year/s or accepted reports contained previously unidentified input errors.
  • We have processed all reports submitted to us and the status of those reports will be updated in Sapphire as part of the data migration.
    • Processed reports will have a status of ‘Approved’ (report accepted) or ‘Rejected’ (reports have identified errors in the submitted report and/or previous financial report/s creating calculation discrepancies). A small number remain as ‘Submitted’ (reports we need to further review).
  • We will contact Administering Institutions (AIs) and MRFF Eligible Organisations (MRFF EOs) where financial reports have been rejected.

When Administering Institutions (AIs) and MRFF Eligible Organisations (MRFF EOs) are advised that Sapphire is available for uploading financial reports overdue reports should be prioritised for submission as Sapphire will only accept reports in sequence.

Sapphire financial reporting – key changes

Key changes to the financial reporting process are outlined in the following to assist AIs and MRFF EOs awareness of financial reporting functionality in Sapphire:

  1. All financial expenditure data reported to NHMRC has been mapped to the expenditure categories aligned with the revised financial reporting templates. This is consistent with the relevant grant guidelines and the Direct Research Cost Guidelines. Previous Financial statement information will be retained on file for record keeping.
  2. Financial reports will be managed in Sapphire through a separate Financial Reports tab and no longer show as ‘milestones’ on the Grant Milestones tab.
    • All Annual Financial Statement, Acquittal Statement and Transfer Acquittal milestones will be removed from Sapphire as part of the release of Sapphire Post Award Financial Reporting.
    • Information on previous grant financial reporting submitted is expected to be available (and can be exported) via a dashboard expected to be released in January 2023. 
  3. Financial reporting templates will now be downloaded from Sapphire, not from the NHMRC website. The template will continue to allow bulk upload. 
  4. The template is in .xlxs format and will download data for all financial reports due and available to submit at the time of the template download.
    • Note sequential year reporting explained at point 8.
  5. The template is to be downloaded by report type: Annual Financial Statement, Transfer Acquittal, and Financial Acquittal.
  6. The template download will include a combination of pre-populated fields and fields for AIs and MRFF EOs to enter their expenditure data.
    • Sapphire will calculate fields that are based on information in system (Grant identifier; income = grant funds paid; balance brought forward = previous year final result etc.).
  7. If you do not intend to submit all due reports at the same time, as the template download includes all grant financial reports due, you will need to remove rows for grants that will not be uploaded in the submission. prior to upload to avoid reporting of zero expenditure.
    • Zero expenditure in a reporting year will not create an error as there may be instances where this is a valid report.
  8. Financial reports will only be able to be uploaded in sequential order. That is, the previous year's financial report must be submitted before the following year's report becomes available as:
    • Information will only download into the template for grants that have had the previous financial statement submitted
    • If there are outstanding annual financial reports, these need to be successfully submitted before a Financial Acquittal Statement will be available to download.

Submission of reports

Report submission will return to standard submission timeframes for 2023 Annual Financial Statements.

The Annual Financial Statement must be submitted to NHMRC by 30 April following each calendar year of funding. A Financial Acquittal Statement must be submitted to NHMRC no later than six months after the funding period has been completed, or six months after termination of a grant, or one month after the transfer of a grant. Failure to provide the report(s) within agreed timeframes will result in consideration being given in accordance with the Funding Agreement to suspending payments to all active grants held by the AI or MRFF EO until the report(s) have been submitted.

Financial reporting in Sapphire

All expenditure reported to us has been mapped by NHMRC and will be migrated to the revised Sapphire expenditure categories consistent with the relevant funding rules/ grant guidelines and the DRC Guidelines where relevant. Previous Financial Summary statement information, as provided, has been retained on file.

Reporting in Sapphire is to follow the template categories as follows and guidance to assist finance officers on how to upload Financial Statements through Sapphire will be made available on Sapphire Help.

Funds Previously Returned to NHMRC

This field should be rarely used and is for use in instances where funds have been recovered due to overpayment or error. For example, where in early 2022 double indexation on payments in January and February could not be offset against future payments, invoices were raised and sent to Administering Institutions and Eligible Organisations.

Salary expenditure is reported based on the grant guidelines under which the grant was funded.

  • Salary & Allowances is used for People Support Schemes where the objective is to support a single investigator and provide a maintenance allowance.
  • Scholarships & Stipend is only for use where a post graduate scholar is supported by a NHMRC Post Graduate Scholarship (refer to the Direct Research Cost Guidelines).
  • Salary is used for salary payments to investigators and researchers supported by the grant funding. Where guidelines specify a limit on salary payments to a Chief Investigator, it is expected that as per the Funding Agreement the detailed expenditure is available to provide to NHMRC on request. We may ask for this information as part of evaluations or compliance activities. The example template indicates which schemes will report in which fields and in future the system will prevent incorrect entries by scheme as part of error handling

Travel & Allowances is for reporting of travel and travel related expenditure for NHMRC People Support Schemes, MRFF Fellowships and NHMRC Post Graduate Scholarships. All other schemes should include this expenditure into ‘Other Research Costs’.

Equipment is available to Independent Research Institute Infrastructure Support (IRIISS grants), Equipment grants, Research Support and Investigator Grants for valid expenditure under their grant guidelines and the DRC guidelines.  

Other Direct Research costs is for expenditure that is not salary or equipment for Research Support grants, Investigator Grants and IRIISS Grants. This field is not for use for People Support Schemes or MRFF Fellowships.

Participating Institution Expenditure is for entry of the total expenditure reported by all Participating Institutions to relevant grants for the reporting period. It is expected that Participating Institutions are reporting an expenditure breakdown to the Administering Institution or Eligible Organisation that will be available for review if a grant is audited or additional reporting is requested, such as for evaluation purposes.

Funds Transferred to New Admin Institution is to record the amount included in the Transfer Acquittal that has been, or will be, paid to the receiving Administering Institution or Eligible Organisation. It is expected that funds are transferred between institutions as soon as practicable once the transfer is approved by NHMRC to minimise the disruption to the grant. The transfer acquittal does not need to be approved by NHMRC prior to the transfer of funds as we expect the amount to have been agreed between the releasing and receiving institutions/organisations.

Financial Acquittal Statement

Acquittal refers to the process of assessing and reconciling the final Financial Statement at the conclusion of the funding or after the transfer of a grant to another AI and/or MRFF EO. This process enables NHMRC to ascertain whether the AI and/or MRFF EO has satisfied their obligations to manage the funds as required by the Funding Agreement. The total funding received for the duration of a grant must be reported on a year-by-year basis.

NHMRC's grants management system facilitates this reporting by building the financial reporting history of a grant as each year's financial information is submitted in system. NHMRC will raise an invoice to recover any unspent MREA funds at the end of the Funding Period. The Department of Health will raise an invoice to recover any unspent MRFF funds at the end of the funding period. AIs and MRFF EOs are to return unspent funds on receipt of the invoice.

Financial Acquittal Statements will not be accepted with a negative balance.


The Chief Financial Officer (or delegate) of the AI or MRFF EO must certify off system that the accounts and records underlying the Financial Statements have been maintained in accordance with Australian Accounting Standards and the Responsible Officer (or delegate) must certify that all funds provided for that research activity have been used for that research activity in accordance with the terms of the Funding Agreement. The CFO and Responsible Officer who have certified will need to be listed as part of the upload process.

Unspent funds and extensions to the funding period

If it is anticipated that the research activity will not be completed in the approved funding period, a variation to extend the grant must be submitted to NHMRC, before the end date of the grant. Late extension requests submitted after the existing end date of the grant are unlikely to be approved other than in exceptional circumstances where a grantee variation request was unable to be submitted for consideration within the funding period.

Scholarship Financial Acquittal reporting

The process for acquitting a Scholarship (PhD or Masters) at the end of the approved funding period is identical to other grants. However, the $500 thesis allowance should be shown as spent in the acquittal. No financial report is required from an AI when the thesis is subsequently paid to the scholar as the funds have already been acquitted. Where there are unspent funds, other than the thesis allowance, at the time of the acquittal, these must be disclosed in the final year Financial Acquittal Statement and will be recovered by NHMRC.