NHMRC/A*STAR Joint Call for Research in Novel Molecular Mechanisms of Obesity and Metabolic Diseases in Singapore and Australia

About the call

In September 2011, NHMRC signed an agreement with A*STAR to promote and encourage research and development activities amongst researchers from Singapore and Australia. This agreement was renewed in 2014 to continue the collaborative relationship.

Under this agreement, collaborations are facilitated through convening a joint symposium and joint international calls for research. In March 2015, the second joint NHMRC/A*STAR symposium focussing on novel molecular mechanisms of obesity and metabolic diseases was held to stimulate new ways of thinking to find solutions to this global health issue.

The symposium provided a platform for researchers from both countries to share their latest research and aid collaboration. Symposium attendees gained insights into new and emerging science behind the human biology of obesity under four key themes: genetics, epigenetics, neurology and microbiomes.

Following on from the workshop, this call has been developed jointly by NHMRC and A*STAR.


A*STAR and NHMRC have allocated a total of up to $4 million (AUD) to support up to five collaborative research projects. Grants will be awarded for a total duration of three years.

Proposals must involve a genuine collaboration involving at least one research team from Singapore and Australia to be eligible. A research team must involve more than the two lead CIs. The research project requires joint input of both the Singapore and Australian teams.

Applicants will be required to submit two budgets with their proposal, a Singapore and an Australian budget. Applicants may request in their budget a maximum of $350,000 (AUD) for research conducted in Australia, and a maximum of $350,000 (SGD) for research conducted in Singapore in total over the life of the grant.


This joint call is for research into novel molecular mechanisms of obesity and metabolic diseases.

The specific objectives of the joint call are to:

  • generate new knowledge that will lead to novel approaches to manage metabolic diseases and obesity to translate into policy and practice
  • foster co-investment with international partners in research programs of joint interest that will involve researchers based in Singapore and Australia
  • increase the level of scientific skills and technological capabilities between Singapore and Australia
  • build further collaborations between Singapore and Australian researchers.

This call for research grant applications should focus on molecular mechanisms of metabolic diseases characterised by high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high cholesterol or unhealthy weight gain/retention related to obesity including, but not limited to, genetics, epigenetics, genomics, neurobiology and microbiomes. This might include research to identify new biomarkers or new intervention targets.

This call will not fund research applications in the broad research area of public health, health services or health promotion and/or applications focussed primarily on:

  • dietary interventions or research focused on nutritional science 
  • cancer
  • cohort studies.


25 January 2017 Applications open in NHMRC’s Research Grants Management System (RGMS)
1 March 2017 Minimum data due in RGMS
22 March 2017 Applications close in RGMS

Further information on this joint call will be available once applications open.