Sapphire is regularly updated as part of NHMRC's effort to continuously improve the user experience of our grant management system. See below for the detailed explanation of improvements made to Sapphire.
On December 7 NHMRC introduced Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) in Sapphire to enhance account security and meet Australian government security standards.
MFA requires a user to enter at least two types of authentication to log in:
- Sapphire username and password,
- a code from an Authentication app such as Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator.
MFA is mandatory in Sapphire and provides an additional layer of security to Sapphire accounts.
For information on how to set up MFA a user guide is available on the Sapphire Help page >Account >‘Setting up Multi-Factor Authentication in Sapphire’.
The Sapphire module which supports application and grants management has been updated with useability improvements such as:
- Revamped interface
- Customisable tables
- In-system tour
- Real-time field validation
- Improved form load time
- Enabling enhanced security
Acquittal functionalities updated in Sapphire include:
- Updated validation and error reporting on upload of reports
- Greater visibility of submitted financial reports
- Visibility of future dated reports in dashboards
- User interface improvements
- Ability to submit all Financial Report types (Regular, Final Acquittal, Transfer Acquittal) in a single upload file rather than a separate file per type.
NHMRC has implemented changes to the financial statement process.
Finance Officers are encouraged to review the how-to videos and Standard Operating Procedures available in the Sapphire Knowledge Base (under Institution > Our Grants > Review and Submit a Financial Statement).
In line with the Australian Research Council’s collection of FoR information, NHMRC has introduced a change to the FoR requirements in the Research Classification section of the Sapphire Application Form.
Users can enter proportions (percentages) against each FoR adding up to a total of 100% (minimum of one FoR and up to three).
This change will reduce burden on peer review by improving the process of matching peer reviewers to applications.
NHMRC has implemented changes to the gender field in researcher profiles in Sapphire to give researchers the option to self-identify as ‘nonbinary’, or to specify a different term, consistent with the gender variable in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Standard for Sex, Gender, Variation of Sex Characteristics and Sexual Orientation Variables, 2020. This change was signalled in the working towards gender equity in Investigator Grants announcement.
In response to feedback from users, NHMRC has introduced a number of fixes and enhancements to 'My Profile' capabilities in Sapphire. These include functional and user-interface improvements for researchers as well as changes to better support NHMRC activities that rely on profile information.
Further detail regarding this release was circulated on 31 May 2022.
NHMRC has completed transitioning grant payment processes into Sapphire from RGMS and the first tranche of MRFF and MREA grant payments were made in February 2022. All future payments will be made through Sapphire.
From 5 January 2022 RGMS will cease to be available to research officers, researchers and other external users. This is to enable the migration of basic grant data for all grants from RGMS to Sapphire in preparation for grant payments commencing through Sapphire.
Further detail regarding this change was circulated on 17 December 2021.
Additional RGMS data will be migrated over the coming months as outlined on Sapphire Help, under 'Select and Post Award' > 'What RGMS data will be available in Sapphire once the transition is complete?'.
NHMRC deployed the second Post Award module in Sapphire on 5 November 2021. This module builds on existing application, assessment and post award functions by introducing grant payment and internal reporting capabilities.
NHMRC will initially pilot grant payments in Sapphire with a small number of Medical Research Endowment Account (MREA) grants in November 2021. Payments for all other grants will then transition from RGMS to Sapphire from early 2022, subject to pilot outcomes
NHMRC recently launched two new Sapphire modules — Select and Post Award (Release 1). These modules build on existing application and assessment functionality in Sapphire by introducing support for outcome notifications, awarding grants and a number of post award processes.
For most schemes announcing outcomes from September 2021, CIAs and RAOs will now be able to access outcome documentation and be able to accept/decline grant offers, complete award milestones and request variations in Sapphire. Additional grant administration functions (for example, financial acquittals and payment processing) will be introduced later this year as part of the final Post Award modules (Releases 2 and 3).
A small number of schemes (for example, Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) schemes with payment start dates before 1 January 2022) will continue to manage outcome notifications, offers and associated grants in RGMS until full post award functionality is deployed in Sapphire to allow grants to commence paying before this, where needed. NHMRC will notify applicants and RAOs where this is the case.
All existing grants as at 1 September 2021 will continue to be managed in RGMS until all schemes and grants have migrated to Sapphire. NHMRC expects this transition to be complete by early 2022 and will provide Administering Institutions with as much notice as possible before grants created in RGMS are migrated.
A variety of resources are available to assist Chief Investigators and RAOs with understanding the changes and using the new modules, including a list of Frequently Asked Questions on Sapphire Help and videos tutorials in the Sapphire Knowledge Base. In addition, the Research Help Centre will be available by email and telephone to assist with any questions and issues.
NHMRC held a webinar with Research Administration Officers on Tuesday 7 September 2021 to provide an update on the Sapphire Project.
The webinar provided an overview of recent enhancements to Sapphire as well as upcoming deployments, with a focus on the Select and Post Award modules. Associated changes to the management of award and post award processes were also highlighted, and new Sapphire functionality was demonstrated.
A copy of the webinar slides is available in the Downloads section below.
Further information on topics covered in the webinar, including instructions for completing award and post award tasks in Sapphire, is available on the Sapphire Help page and in the Sapphire Knowledge Base.
NHMRC is introducing a number of changes to Sapphire forms to ensure NHMRC application and peer review activities align with the updated 2020 Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC) Fields of Research (FoR) codes, as follows:
- The 2020 FoR codes are now available for researchers to select in their Sapphire profiles. These replace the 2008 FoR codes. Where a 2008 FoR code maps directly to a single 2020 FoR code, NHMRC has automatically updated any existing selections to save researchers having to update their FoRs. However, where a 2008 FoR code maps to multiple possible 2020 FoR codes, researchers will need to manually select at least one FoR from the 2020 FoR codes.
- There will be no change to FoR codes in application forms for any scheme rounds that are currently open or preparing to open later this year. The 2020 codes will be introduced into NHMRC and MRFF grant application forms for schemes opening from January 2022.
Given these changes, researchers intending to self-nominate for peer review will need to check and, where necessary, update their FoR codes in their Sapphire Profiles (located under My Profile > Peer Review Information) in order for their self-nominations to be considered for this year's cycle. We strongly recommend that all other Sapphire users also update their FoR selections as soon as possible.
A comparison document titled ANZSRC 2020 correspondence to ANZSRC 2008 that maps between the 2008 and 2020 FoR codes can be found on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website to assist researchers with updating their FoR selections. Links to complete lists of the 2020 FoR codes and NHMRC's research keywords will also be added to the Profile form in Sapphire in the coming weeks.
General instructions for updating Sapphire profiles are available in the Sapphire Knowledge Base, located under Researcher > My Profile.
NHMRC recently launched new functionality allowing researchers to link an Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) to their Sapphire Profile. In total, Sapphire currently supports three methods to add publications to a profile:
- manually adding each publication entry individually
- importing an EndNote Library
- linking your ORCID ID to your Sapphire profile and importing selected 'Works'.*
* Unless your ORCID Works already have Contributors added, Authors will need to be manually entered following the publication import into Sapphire from ORCID.
Based on feedback received from various system users, the following functional changes are being implemented to improve Sapphire.
- Important information
- Users are encouraged to close their internet browser and commence a new session before logging into Sapphire.
A. Changes to the menu navigation
Previously: Menu closed by default
Following new release: Menu is open by default.
- Improved navigation for system users that also participate in NHMRC Peer Review.
B. Assessor bulk download
Assessors can now refine the download documents package they generate from the Suitability Survey and My Assessments list. These lists can be refined to:
- download documents for applications with incomplete suitability declarations, or
- download application document packages for all assigned applications, or only for applications that have not yet been completed
- documents retrieved by the 'My Assessments' download all will now be unique to your role.
- Reduces the amount of documents downloaded.
- Important information
- If suitability surveys are displaying empty values when selecting 'show incomplete', users should refresh their browser and select 'show incomplete' again.
C. My Assessments list
New functions now available:
- sort and filter can be applied
- Indigenous Research Excellence Criteria (IREC) determination list
- shared assessments.
- Improved functionality and streamlined functions to support Peer Reviewers.
Sortable and filterable
Using the sort and filter tools informs the documents retrieved under bulk download.
Indigenous Research Excellence Criteria (IREC) determination list
If your assessment requires additional information from other assessors – for example, The IREC Assessor comments – you will now be able to see:
- if an application requires an IREC assessment
- the status of this IREC assessment
- Not Applicable – not an IREC application.
- Awaiting – IREC assessment not yet available.
- Not IREC – Application does not satisfy IREC. To be considered as a standard application.
- Is IREC – you will be able to download additional documentation from the application relating to the IREC criteria, as well as access the shared assessment.
If your assessment requires additional information from other assessors, by selecting the hamburger menu, you can view the assessor role and stage, and then access the detailed comments for the shared questions.
- Important information
- If users experience an error message (error 500) when submitting an assessment form, refresh the browser and select 'Submit' again.
Sapphire now provides Research Administration Officers (RAOs) with new dashboards and enhancements to existing dashboards to assist in the management of applications as follows:
- a new CI – Application Count dashboard. This displays Chief Investigators listed on more than one application within a Grant Opportunity
- Enhancements to the Application Status and Application Progress dashboards.
Details on how to use the dashboards can be found on Sapphire – Tutorials, under Institution – Our Applications.
Sapphire now allows you to connect your Sapphire profile to the Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID). ORCID is an internationally recognised, open, non-profit resource that links unique researcher identifiers to research activities, data and outputs.
Connecting your Sapphire profile with ORCID will provide you with greater flexibility in managing your publication history. You can continue to manage publications manually or manage them in a single repository (ORCID) and import them as required into Sapphire, reducing the need to double handle your publication information.
An ORCID account is required to link publications to Sapphire. To register for an ORCID account visit Create your ORCID iD.
For additional assistance, contact the NHMRC Research Help Centre via email email@example.com.
The 'Send Invite' button has been removed. Invites will be automatically generated by a workflow which will run every 3 minutes.
Previously: When a new CI is added to the application team, the Send Invite button needed to be pressed.
Following new release:
- the 'Sent Invite' button has been removed
- the email and Acceptance notification are automatically created by a workflow that runs every 3 minutes
- once a researcher accepts an invitation to become a member of a Research Team, this will be indicated in the application.
Re-acceptance is no longer required when a CI swaps their Chief Investigator (CI) role.
Previously: When swapping from one CI role to another CI role, a fresh invite, email and Acceptance notification were created.
Following new release: Moving from one CI role to another CI role will no longer create fresh invite, email or Acceptance notification.
On all application forms the GO is to be added on the Application Details page. This will be particularly useful for applicants and Research Administration Officers (RAOs) who look at applications across many opportunities.
Following new release: At the top of the Application details page a new field has been added, GO Name.