Multidisciplinary and multi-institution research is often the key to scientific advancement. NHMRC supports collaborative approaches to health and medical research. We provide assistance to Australian researchers in collaborative research projects, facilitate collaborative networks and international research partnerships, and researchers can explore opportunities to work with NHMRC or use our facilities.

Guided by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Corporate Plan, NHMRC will endeavour to support collaborative approaches to health and medical research internationally, including:

  • connecting, supporting and encouraging links with researchers in health and non-health related disciplines,
  • supporting a full breadth of health and medical research through international research partnerships, and
  • engage in collaborative and multidisciplinary approaches to solving health problems.

NHMRC International Engagement Strategy

Within the framework of the Corporate Plan, the NHMRC has established a strategy for prioritising new and existing activities with our international partners. 

The NHMRC International Engagement Strategy 2020-2023 outlines NHMRC’s approach to working with our international partners over the three year period.

The Strategy identifies four key principles for international engagement:

  • collaborate to address research gaps, build capacity and increase impact
  • marshal international research expertise and resources
  • engage with and contribute to international health research policy agendas, and
  • participate in Australia’s science diplomacy effort

NHMRC International Engagement Strategy 2020-23 

International Collaborative Health Research Funding

NHMRC provides assistance to Australian researchers to participate in collaborative research projects with international researchers through both bilateral and multilateral arrangements.  

To participate in these schemes, your personal information may need to be disclosed by NHMRC to overseas recipients, generally for the purposes of peer review of the application. You will be advised of this possibility at the time of making your application.

For further information on open calls for research with NHMRC’s international partners, please refer to the Find funding page of the website.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is Canada's federal funding agency for health research. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR’s mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system.

NHMRC is partnering with CIHR to support research aiming to improve the understanding of how to design, implement and promote systematic and equitable uptake of evidence-based interventions, to improve population health and well-being in multiple urban–environments in Canada and Australia.

Current Status

NHMRC is providing up to $5 million of funding to support Australian researchers successful through the joint NHMRC-CIHR Healthy Cities Implementation Science Team Grant Scheme 2021 Grant Opportunity.

For further information, please refer to the CIHR website.

e-ASIA Joint Research Program

The e-ASIA Joint Research Program (e-ASIA JRP) was established in 2012 to promote innovation and contribute to economic development in the East Asian region. e-ASIA aims to achieve this by supporting international joint research projects, through multilateral processes, as well as promoting researcher interaction through workshops.

NHMRC became a member organisation of the e-ASIA JRP on 2 November 2016. NHMRC’s CEO represents NHMRC on the e-ASIA JRP Board.

Current status

Find out more about NHMRC’s participation in the e-ASIA JRP health research 10th joint call .
For further information, please refer to the e-ASIA JRP website.

European Research Council (ERC)

The European Research Council is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. ERC’s mission is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support investigator-driven frontier research across all fields, on the basis of scientific excellence.
 
NHMRC and ERC signed an Implementing Arrangement in October 2018. The arrangement aims to help NHMRC-funded researchers join ERC supported research teams in Europe (for a period when possible) or work remotely during their grant and enables the exchange of ideas and experiences in cutting-edge science.

Current status

Project abstracts are now available for the ERC Implementing Arrangements call for Expression of Interest 2020. NHMRC-funded researchers can apply to work with European research teams. For more information about the latest ERC opportunities available, see downloads section below and contact ERC for further details. 

For further information on the implementation Arrangement, see the FAQs.

If you take up this opportunity please let us know by emailing the following details to international@nhmrc.gov.au

  • ERC team you are collaborating with
  • Project name
  • Length of collaboration.

European Union Framework Programme – Horizon Europe

  • In 2021, the EU implemented its new funding instrument for funding research and development, Horizon Europe, succeeding Horizon 2020 as the EU Framework Programme.
  • Horizon Europe facilitates collaboration and strengthens the impact of research and innovation while tackling global challenges.
  • The NHMRC‒European Union Collaborative Research Grants scheme supports Australian participation in leading international collaborative research under the EU Framework Programme.

Current status

  • NHMRC is supporting a number of Horizon Europe 2021 topics to enable Australian researchers to form collaborations with EU partners. Find out more on GrantConnect.

European Union Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research

The European Union Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) is a large global research initiative aimed at tackling the challenge of neurodegenerative diseases. JPND aims to increase coordinated investment between participating countries in research aimed at finding causes, developing cures, and identifying appropriate ways to care for those with neurodegenerative diseases.

The ultimate goal of JPND is to find cures for neurodegenerative diseases and to enable early diagnosis for early targeted treatments. 

Current status

NHMRC will provide merit-based funding for the Australian-based components of research, where the transnational consortium has been recommended for funding by the JPND under the JPND Call for proposals: Linking pre-diagnosis disturbances of physiological systems to Neurodegenerative Diseases 2021.

For further information, please refer to the JPND website

Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases

NHMRC is part of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD), a collaboration of major international research funding agencies that support joint funding calls and research capacity building activities to address chronic, non-communicable diseases. NHMRC’s CEO is a member of the Board and served as Chair in 2019 and 2020.

The GACD funds, develops and facilitates innovative research collaborations between low, middle and high income countries in the fight against chronic diseases. The alliance focuses on implementation research in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) and in vulnerable and indigenous populations in high-income countries (HICs).

Current status

Find out about the outcomes of NHMRC's participation in the 2019 GACD Cancer Prevention Funding Call.  

The GACD has launched the Implementation Science e-Hub. The e-Hub is a free, virtual platform for knowledge and skill development in implementation research.

For further information, please refer to the GACD website

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) website

Current status

NHMRC and ICMR signed a Memorandum of Understanding on research collaboration in February 2016. 

Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)

The Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) is Japan’s national body to promote integrated research and development in the field of medicine, from basic research to clinical trials.

Current status

NHMRC and AMED signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in October 2018.  NHMRC is working with AMED to advance the development of research cooperation in health and medical research between Japan and Australia.

NHMRC and AMED are currently planning a joint workshop in mid-late 2021 to explore further opportunities for bilateral cooperation.

National Foundation for Science and Technology Development of Vietnam

The National Foundation for Science and Technology Development of Vietnam (NAFOSTED) was established in 2008 and functions as a not-for-profit funder in scientific and technological research projects. NAFOSTED is affiliated with Vietnam’s Ministry for Science and Technology.

NHMRC and NAFOSTED signed a Memorandum of Understanding in December 2015 to promote and encourage international health and medical research collaboration between Australia and Vietnam. A joint symposium was held in Hanoi, Vietnam in November 2016. Following this symposium a joint call was developed to support international collaboration between Vietnam and Australia and to generate new knowledge in the three research areas of Infectious Diseases, Maternal/Child Health, and Public Health.

Current status

For outcomes of the NHMRC/NAFOSTED Joint Call for Collaborative Research please refer to: Outcomes of funding rounds

National Institute for Health Research

The mission of the United Kingdom’s (UK) National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is to maintain a health research system in which the UK National Health Service supports outstanding individuals, working in world class facilities, conducting leading edge research focused on the needs of patients and the public.

In August 2013, NHMRC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the NIHR to co-fund collaborative clinical trials with both an Australian and UK component.

Current status

Find out more about 2020 priorities for funding in 2021 Round 3 and 2021 priorities for funding in 2022 Round 1.

UK Research and Innovation

The UK’s Fund for International Collaboration aims to enhance excellence in research and innovation through global engagement. It focuses on bilateral and multilateral partnerships with global research and development leaders and is administered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which includes the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

NHMRC and the MRC signed a Memorandum of Understanding in May 2019 to promote and encourage collaboration between Australia and the UK in world-leading prevention research seeking to address the shared burden of non-communicable diseases influenced by the built environment. This led to a joint funding call in 2019: UKRI-NHMRC Built Environment and Prevention Research 2019.

Current Status

For outcomes of the joint UKRI-NHMRC Built Environment and Prevention Research 2019 Call, please refer to: Outcomes of funding rounds.

International Affiliations 

Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH)

The overarching goal of the global alliance is to accelerate progress in medicine by encouraging widespread access to genomic and clinical data by developing a common framework of international technical, operational and ethical standards needed to ensure the interoperability of genomic research platforms in a secure and responsible manner.

The global alliance will work to:

  • bring together the research, clinical, and disease advocacy communities and the private sector to support and promote the responsible sharing of genomic data and
  • collaborate with interested parties to create an information platform that is open and accessible, and provides common standards, formats and tools to stakeholders in the genomic research community.

Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) website

Current status

NHMRC’s membership on the GA4GH provides Australia with an opportunity for international collaboration and information sharing of genomic and clinical data to help unlock potential advancements in medicine and science.

Global Genomic Medicine Collaboration (G2MC)

G2MC is a collaboration among global leaders in the implementation of genomic medicine in clinical care. Arising from the 2014 Global Leaders in Genomic Medicine Summit, the purpose of G2MC is to identify opportunities and foster global collaborations for enabling the demonstration of value and the effective use of genomics in medicine. Engaging multiple stakeholders across the globe, the G2MC group, under the auspices of the Roundtable on Genomics and Precision Health, seeks to improve global health by catalysing the implementation of genomic tools and knowledge into health care delivery globally.

Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R)

GloPID-R is the only alliance of its kind to bring together research funding organizations on a global scale to facilitate an effective and rapid research of a significant outbreak of a new or re-emerging infectious disease with epidemic and pandemic potential.

NHMRC is a member of two GloPID-R working groups. The Data Sharing Working Group aims to develop strategies and principles to expedite sharing of data during a public health emergency and the Response Plan Working Group is developing a Response Plan which includes complementary practical tools and solutions.

Specific objectives:

  • facilitate the exchange of information
  • address scientific, legal, ethical and financial challenges
  • implement a ‘One Health’ approach with close cooperation between human and animal health researchers
  • establish a strategic agenda for research response
  • connect infectious disease research networks
  • actively involve developing countries.

The Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness

Current status

NHMRC’s membership on GloPID-R provides Australia with an opportunity for international collaboration and information sharing in preparation for an outbreak of a new or emerging infectious disease health threat.

Human Frontier Science Program

The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) is an international organisation funding frontier research on the complex mechanisms of living organisms. Research is funded at all levels of biological complexity from biomolecules to the interactions between organisms.

Australia is a member of the HFSP through a formal Government agreement.

The HFSP is funded by contributions from the European Union and 11 other countries, including Australia.

Current status

HSFP funding opportunities are not administered by the NHMRC.  Interested parties should refer to the HFSP website for definitive information on the HSFP Research Grant Program. 

International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders (IAMHRF)

The International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders (IAMHRF) is a collaborative group of mental health research funding organisations from around the world. The mission of the IAMHRF is to accelerate progress in the mental health landscape by increasing the impact of mental health research investments.

Members are diverse in their scope and mandate and fund across the mental health research spectrum ranging from the basic biomedical sciences, translational and health services research as well as health promotion and illness prevention research.

Member organisations comprise government organizations, private enterprises, foundations and charities.

Current status

NHMRC accepted an invitation to join the IAMHRF in August 2014. For further information refer to the IAMHRF’s website.

International Cancer Genome Consortium

The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) has been organised to launch and coordinate research projects that have the common aim of elucidating the genomic changes present in many forms of cancers that contribute to the burden of disease throughout the world.

The aim is to obtain a comprehensive description of the full range of genetic events associated with these tumour types and make the data available to the entire research community as rapidly as possible, and with minimal restrictions, to accelerate research into the causes, diagnosis and control of cancer.

Countries participating in the ICGC include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea the United Kingdom, the United States and many European nations.

Current status

There are now 18 countries involved with ICGC, the database has over 24,289 donor samples and over 57,900 mutated genes analysed.

The next phase of the ICGC focuses on the Pan Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG), which defines similarities and differences between cancer types. Previously, the consortium explored Accelerating Research in Genomic Oncology (ICGC-ARGO) where key clinical questions and patient clinical data drive the interrogation of cancer genomes. NHMRC recognises the value of ICGC and remains on the ICGC Executive and Scientific Steering Committees.

Tripartite Agreement on International Indigenous Health Research

The NHMRC, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) are committed to working both within and between their agencies to improve the health of Indigenous Peoples – the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada, the Māori people in New Zealand and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. In December 2017, the agencies renewed their commitment to work together for another five years on mutual Indigenous health research priorities. This is the third five-year agreement which builds on a relationship from 2002.

View the Media release - May 2018.

2019 Tripartite Agreement International Indigenous Workshop

A building and strengthening capacity workshop with First Nations peoples was held in New Zealand in December 2019. One of the objectives of the partnership is to strengthen the capacity and capability of Indigenous health and medical researchers. 

Current status

Building and strengthening the capacity of Indigenous researchers is a key focus of the agreement.

The International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS)

ICLAS is an international scientific organisation dedicated to advancing human and animal health by promoting the ethical care and use of laboratory animals in research worldwide.

The International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS) website

Current status

Membership of ICLAS allows NHMRC to work with international organisations such as the World Health Organisation and the World Veterinary Association, to ensure world-wide improvements in the ethical and humane use of animals in research.