NHMRC is committed to supporting its administering institutions, and the health and medical research sector more broadly, to address the multiple challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As uncertainty remains about the trajectory and ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, NHMRC remains committed to supporting the research community in managing research, grant applications and other professional activities to ensure the viability and success of health and medical research into the future. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and work restrictions, and in consultation with our Research Committee and peak stakeholder groups, NHMRC made changes to a number of policies and grant schemes.

Varying a grant

NHMRC also recognises that, even as the situation improves in Australia, there may be ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that will continue to impact the research of current grant holders. If you have received a grant and circumstances have changed and you have been or continue to be affected by COVID-19 pandemic circumstances - for example, there has been a delay in your Research Activity because of involvement in the clinical or public health response - you can apply to vary your grant. We understand the continued need to be flexible in these uncertain times. More information is available on our  research funding page

Please work with your administering institution’s Research Administration Officers (RAOs) as your first point of contact for all grant administration matters. More details are available on our Vary your grant page.

If Administering Institutions are unable to complete and submit grant reports or grant variation requests within the timeframe please contact Postaward.management@nhmrc.gov.au.

NHMRC will continue to monitor grant variation and application queries and will update the Frequently Asked Questions in response to questions received from the sector. 

Decision-making for pandemics: an ethics framework

Decision-making for pandemics: an ethics framework has been developed by the Australian Health Ethics Committee in response to a request from the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer and is designed to be used by those developing policy and making decisions during a pandemic. It is intended to facilitate good decision-making, rather than to be used as a prescriptive guideline.

This ethics framework was developed in partnership with consumer groups and others with expertise in pandemic management and clinical, public health and research ethics. It includes sections on values and procedural principles, decision-making considerations and examples with implementation analysis. It also includes two appendices addressing ethical issues arising during pandemics and additional resources.

The framework will add to the guidance already in place to support the management of the COVID-19 pandemic and any future pandemics.

This framework is published below in the download section

Clinical trials in the context of COVID-19

COVID-19: Guidance on clinical trials for institutions, HRECs, researchers and sponsors is a joint statement by all state and territory departments of health, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), NHMRC and the Clinical Trials Project Reference Group (CTPRG), of which all of these entities are members.

This guidance is published on the Department of Health’s website.

It provides general information and advice to institutions conducting or overseeing research, Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs), researchers and sponsors in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is directed towards those involved in clinical trial research and other relevant clinical research, but also may be of use to institutions, HRECs and researchers in other fields.

The advice represents current thinking and best practice at the government level and will be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect changes in government policy, public health advice and the needs of those conducting and participating in clinical research in Australia.

Research involving animals

NHMRC recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic may be affecting research involving animals, including delays to existing research projects, or new research relating to the pandemic that proposes to use animals. For advice about research involving animals, visit the animal ethics page.

More information

For more information including the latest medical advice and official reports, please refer to the Australian Government Department of Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert.


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