Partnership Projects

NHMRC Partnerships for Better Health – Partnership Projects (Partnership Projects) will help create partnerships among decision makers, policy makers, managers, clinicians and researchers. This funding scheme provides funding and support to create new opportunities for researchers and policy makers to work together to define research questions, undertake research, interpret the findings and implement the findings into policy and practice.

Partnership Projects will answer a specific research question to influence health and well-being through changes in the delivery, organisation, funding and access to health services.

In 2016 NHMRC was invited to present an overview of the scheme at an information session on Partnership Projects at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). The presentations are below and provide a useful overview of the scheme.

Continuous Application Process

This scheme allows applicants to apply at any time during the year rather than through just one annual round. This is to allow researchers and partner organisations to develop timely collaborations. The grant commencement date is not fixed for 1 January – it will be aligned with the timing of each peer review cycle. This allows funding to be administered more quickly after grants are awarded provided all necessary documentation is in place.

Apply for funding

The NHMRC’s Research Grants Management System (RGMS) must be used to access/update your CV and profile and to submit your Partnership Project application.

Applicants, who are not yet registered on RGMS, should contact the Research Help Centre on help@nhmrc.gov.au for more information.

A complete Partnership Projects application must consist of the following:

  1. Completion of Parts A and B (including the Grant Proposal PDF) of the application form; and
  2. The relevant information in your RGMS profile and CV.

Prior to submission of an application for Partnership Project funding, applicants are to ensure they:

  • read all relevant reference material; and
  • liaise with their Administering Institution to identify any specific requirements that the Institution may have.

Key Dates

The Partnership Projects 2018 round will open on 17 January 2018. Applications can be submitted at any time during the year, up until 5 December 2018.

Peer review of applications received in 2018 will occur in three distinct cycles. The key dates for each of the Peer Review Cycles (PRC) are listed below:

Process PRC #1 PRC #2 PRC#3
NHMRC Approved Administering Institutions waiver due date 14 March 2018 20 July 2018 7 November 2018
Minimum data due 28 March 2018 1 August 2018 21 November 2018
Application due date 11 April 2018 15 August 2018 5 December 2018
Peer Review Meetings 24-25 July 2018 19-23 November 2018 26 March 2019

Changes to Partnership Projects for 2018

Applicants should note the following changes to the Partnership Projects scheme-specific Funding Rules for 2018:

  • Additional funding is available to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research through a Partnership Projects Special Initiative (see section 9 of the Partnership Projects scheme-specific Funding Rules). This Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Obesity Prevention Research Special Initiative (Special Initiative) will be available to researchers applying to peer review cycles from 2018 until 2019, unless the allocated funding is exhausted in earlier cycles.

Peer Review Cycles

Applications will proceed to peer review depending on when they are submitted to NHMRC. For example, for an application to be peer reviewed in the first cycle (PRC No.1); applicants must ensure minimum data requirements are met by 28 March 2018, and the application must be submitted by 11 April 2018. Applications that have met minimum data requirements but are not submitted by the application due date will remain active. The applicant may continue to work on the application and submit to the next available peer review cycle.

Any application which was started but was not submitted by the third peer review cycle deadline of 5 December 2018 will need to reapply in 2019.

NHMRC Administering Institutions Partner Waiver

NHMRC Approved Administering Institutions (Administering Institutions) cannot be named as a partner on a Partnership Project application, unless they:

  • are an organisation which primarily delivers health policy and/or health services, and
  • obtain a waiver from NHMRC.

This is consistent with the description and objectives of the scheme, which includes the aim to create partnerships among decision makers, policy makers, managers, clinicians and researchers to improve the translation of research evidence into health policy and health practice.

This policy includes organisations that falls under the “umbrella” of an Administering Institution (such as having the same ABN/CAN, falls under the same governance, or is not a legal entity of its own and falls under the auspices of an Administering Institution).

An Administering Institution that is primarily involved in delivering health policy and/or health services can apply for a waiver. Requests for waivers need to be made through the Research Administration Office of the Administering Institution that is applying for the waiver.

Completed request for wavier forms must be emailed to help@nhmrc.gov.au by the relevant date (see Partnership Projects Funding Rules). The waiver request must clearly outline why the Administering Institution should be considered as a partner organisation.

Waiver requests that fail to address each of the points within the form will be denied.

Following assessment, NHMRC will provide written advice concerning the decision. Approved waivers will be valid for any Partnership Project applications submitted for the remainder of the calendar year, commencing from the date of the written advice.

Administering Institutions that do not obtain a waiver may be listed as a participating institute, if appropriate, however any contributions will not be considered ‘partner funding’ and therefore matched funding will not be provided.

Applications that name Administering Institutions as partners (without obtaining a waiver) may be deemed ineligible.

Due dates for the submission of waivers can be found in the Partnership Projects Funding Rules.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Special Initiative

Special Initiatives are health areas in which NHMRC has received additional research funding from other parties to support research.

In 2018 a Special Initiative in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is being offered through support from the Department of Health. This Special Initiative will support collaboration between policy makers, program managers, service providers and researchers with experience or interest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.

The Special Initiative provides the opportunity for community organisations that are contributing to health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People to develop a relationship with a researcher, to strengthen the evidence in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and obesity research. 

Successful applications will design and conduct research to augment evidence for prevention and appropriate responses to FASD and Obesity Prevention in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and families. Grants awarded under the Special Initiative will focus on integrating research evidence into health policy and health practice to improve health services and processes in one or more of the following key gaps identified in FASD or obesity research within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities:

  1. Screening for FASD symptoms in health, education or justice settings to offer earliest and comprehensive support.
  2. Implementation of programs in a range of settings for culturally appropriate health promotion to prevent/reduce the incidence of FASD or obesity.
  3. Understanding the correlation between the social and cultural determinants of health and prevalence of FASD or obesity amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and families.
  4. Delivery of holistic FASD or obesity-reduction support services within health systems and communities.
  5. Establishment of a nutrition framework gap analysis for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  6. Development of a National Nutrition Risk Scheme for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

As part of building and sharing evidence, and where appropriate, researchers should use the research process itself to be an active agent of change, for example, by utilising the principles of implementation research and through use of participatory action research, developmental, formative or realist evaluation approaches to support learning and adaptation at the organisational, community or broader system level.

Research proposals that have been developed through the Lowitja Institute partnership model, but not funded by the Lowitja Institute, may be eligible to apply.

Applicants will have the opportunity to indicate whether their application addresses this Special Initiative. Such applications will undergo an additional assessment to determine whether they address the requirements as stipulated in Attachment C of the Partnership Projects scheme-specific Funding Rules. This assessment will be taken into consideration when NHMRC determines funding recommendations.

All applications for Partnership Projects support, regardless of whether an application is confirmed by NHMRC as addressing a Special Initiative, are peer reviewed in the same manner.

The number of grants awarded through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Special Initiative is limited by the total funding available and is subject to receipt of a competitive application. The maximum amount of NHMRC funding that may be requested for a single application under this Special Initiative is $1.5 million. For further information see Attachment C of the Partnership Projects scheme-specific Funding Rules.

Applications addressing the Special Initiative in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health are required to upload the completed Supplementary Questions form which can be downloaded from the GrantConnect website.

    Minimum Data requirements

    Minimum data for the Partnership Projects Grant scheme consists of the following:

    •             A-PA General: Specifically, Administering Institution, Application Title, Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Research and Synopsis;

    •             A-RC Research Classification; and

    •             A-RT Research Team 

    Once the minimum data date passes, applicants will not be able to create a new application in that peer review cycle. New applications will need to be created in the next peer review cycle.

    Applications must meet the corresponding minimum data and submission deadlines to be reviewed in a particular cycle. Applications that do not meet minimum data deadlines will be removed from RGMS. Applications that meet minimum data requirements but are not submitted for review will be retained in RGMS as an incomplete application and may be submitted for assessment in the next cycle provided corresponding deadlines are met. After 5 December 2018, any applications not submitted will be removed from RGMS.

    Applicants are also reminded to complete the recommended fields with correct information. Using placeholder text such as “text”, “synopsis” or “xx” etc. are not acceptable as minimum data.

    Note that RAOs should not certify applications for the purpose of minimum data; applications should only be certified once complete and ready for submission.

    Documentation to Apply for a Partnership Projects 2018 round

    Documentation to apply can be found at GrantConnect, the Australian Government grants information system. GrantConnect is a centralised web-based facility for publication of agencies’ Grant Opportunities and Forecast Opportunities.

    You need to be a GrantConnect registered user to download Grant Opportunity documents prior to starting your application in RGMS. To register, you must complete the New User Registration on the GrantConnect website.

    The following resources provide further information on how to apply for NHMRC grant funding and peer review process:

    Criteria for Health and Medical Research of Indigenous Australians (applicable for applicants applying for NHMRC Partnerships for Better Health – Partnership Projects in the area of Indigenous Health)

    • Indigenous Research Excellence Criteria - see section 6.3 of the NHMRC Funding Rules 2018

    Research Classifications Guides including Broad Research Area, Fields of Research and NHMRC Keyword ⁄ Phrases

    Recent Outcomes

    Further information

    If you require more information, direct your inquiry to your Research Administration Office in the first instance.

    If you require assistance and are unable to satisfy your concern by seeking assistance through your administering institution:

    Contact the Research Help Centre on 1800 500 983, or email help@nhmrc.gov.au.


    Documentation to Apply for a Partnership Projects 2017 round 

    Criteria for Health and Medical Research of Indigenous Australians (applicable for applicants applying for NHMRC Partnerships for Better Health – Partnership Projects in the area of Indigenous Health)

    Research Classifications Guides including Broad Research Area, Fields of Research and NHMRC Keyword ⁄ Phrases