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 us or use our facilities.

Guided by our Corporate Plan, we will endeavour to support collaborative approaches to health and medical research internationally.

International Engagement Strategy

Our International Engagement Strategy 2023–2026 outlines our approach to working with international partners over the 3-year period.

The Strategy identifies 4 key priorities for international engagement:

  • Priority 1 – Collaboration in the Indo-Pacific region: NHMRC fosters health research collaboration in the Indo-Pacific region and contributes to regional research capacity building
  • Priority 2 – Shared global health priorities: NHMRC grants support research on shared global health priorities to build a healthy Australia and world
  • Priority 3 – Researcher capability and research impact: NHMRC facilitates international collaboration and researcher exchange to build Australian research capability and impact
  • Priority 4 – International networks and resources: Australian researchers have access to and benefit from international expertise, resources and best practice in the conduct of research

Developed through consultation with other Australian Government agencies, our Strategic Opportunities report outlines more specific and targeted initiatives that NHMRC could undertake to achieve the actions and goals set out in the Strategy.

Grants with international collaborators 2012 to 2021

From 2012 to 2021, 1,408 grants with at least one international collaborator were awarded across all of NHMRC's schemes. This represents 13% of all NHMRC grants awarded (10,878 grants) during the same time period. Specifically, through the International Collaborative Schemes, 128 grants have been awarded in the past 10 years. For the full report refer to NHMRC grants with international collaborators 2012 to 2021.

International affiliations

European Research Council

The European Research Council (ERC) 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

The ERC Implementing Arrangements call for Expression of Interest 2023 has closed and project abstracts are now available at the Downloads section below. NHMRC-funded researchers can apply to work with European research teams. Contact international@nhmrc.gov.au or ERC-implementing-arrangements@ec.europa.eu for further details.

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

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

  • ERC team you are collaborating with
  • project name
  • length of collaboration.

Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness

Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R) is the only alliance of its kind to bring together research funding organisations on a global scale to facilitate the 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 2 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.

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

The International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders (IAMHRF) was created to address the pressing need to unite the mental health research sector on a shared and globally relevant agenda. The mission of the IAMHRF is to unite funders across borders to save lives and improve treatments and care for people with mental health problems and their families worldwide.

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.

Membership of IAMHRF includes over 30 member and partner organisations from around the world, including organisations based in non-English speaking and low- and middle-income countries.

Current status

NHMRC is a partner organisation of IAMHRF. For further information refer to the IAMHRF's website.

Tripartite Agreement on International Indigenous Health Research

NHMRC, the 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.

Current status

The last agreement expired in December 2022 and the agencies are working on renewing their commitment. Previous agreements were for a term of 5 years.