We recognise that the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic may continue to affect Australia's health and medical research community, including our grant recipients.

If you have received a grant and circumstances have changed – for example, there has been a delay in your research activity – you can apply to vary your grant.

If you have previously varied your grant due to COVID-19 and can demonstrate that COVID-19 continues to impact your grant, we will consider further variations on a case-by-case basis.

Grant variations

The Grantee Variation Policy (see Downloads section below) describes our policy position on varying grants.

Transition to Sapphire

We migrated basic grant data from Research Grants Management System (RGMS) to Sapphire as part of the transition for grant management from RGMS to Sapphire in January 2022. An updated migration schedule of when additional data will be migrated to Sapphire is outlined on Sapphire Help under 'Select and Postaward'.

Deployment of the Sapphire Post Award Release 3 capability, to enable the submission of acquittals and financial statements in Sapphire is planned to be deployed in December 2022. We will advise exact dates for the deployment of Post Award Release 3 and associated outages as soon as they are confirmed. The interim process is included on financial reporting.

Updates to data in Sapphire Information has also been updated for reporting, including progress, final and additional reporting and financial reporting.

Variation requests for all grants are to be submitted in Sapphire. Guidance on how to submit a Variation request is available on Sapphire Help (written instructions) and in the Sapphire Knowledge Base (video tutorial).

We are processing all grant variations requested as soon as possible and are aware that some data discrepancies are yet to be corrected and are being done incrementally.

Grantee variation requests

Under the Grantee Variations Policy the expected order of variation requests for delays and deferments is Defer on Commencement, Defer in Progress, Investigator Grant – Suspend in Full and Extend End Date. In general, a maximum of 12 months is permitted for each variation type. However, to provide immediate support to support the sector during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, we approved extensions to the end date (bulk requests) and individual Extend End Date variations for Exceptional Circumstances (EC) regardless of what variation types had been previously approved or the grant stage.

Noting that all variations are assessed in accordance with the Grantee Variations Policy, to support researchers and administrators the following additional guidance is provided to assist in submitting Grantee Variation requests for grants that have previously been granted extensions to the grant term:

  • Grants that have previously been approved for a Defer in Progress and Extend End Date due to COVID-19 and are in the final year may apply for an Extend End Date variation as per the Grantee Variations Policy.
  • Grants that have previously been approved for an Extend End Date due to COVID-19 but are not yet in the final year should apply for a Defer in Progress variation.
  • Grants that have previously been approved for 12-months Defer in Progress, approved for 12-months Extend End Date and been further extended due to COVID-19 may apply for a further Extend End Date variation that will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Grants that have previously been approved for 12-months Defer in Progress and an Extend End Date due to COVID-19 and are not yet in the final year may apply for a further Defer in Progress variation due to COVID-19 and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Requests for additional time due to COVID-19 must include:

  • a detailed explanation of the impact of COVID-19 on the research activity
  • any mitigations that has been put in place during the intervening period
  • what will be done in the extension period to ensure the grant can be completed by the revised End Date.

In all cases, researchers should work with their Administering Institution’s Research Administration Officers (RAOs) as the first point of contact.

Medical Research Future Fund grant variations

Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grants that we administer are managed under the MRFF Grant Variation Policy and in accordance with Appendix A: Submitting Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Grant Variations for MRFF grants administered by NHMRC (see Downloads section below).

The MRFF Grant Variation Policy outlines when and how Eligible Organisations are required to submit a variation request. Appendix A: Submitting Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Grant Variations for MRFF grants administered by NHMRC (see Downloads section below) outlines the procedures for submitting a request, including the evidence required for each variation type.