NHMRC announces overhaul of grant funding program

The Federal Health Minister, the Honourable Greg Hunt, has announced the National Health and Medical Council’s (NHMRC) grant funding program restructure.

Commencing in 2020, the Fellowship, Program and Project Grant Schemes will be replaced with:

  • Investigator Grants (consolidating salary and research support)
  • Synergy Grants (multi-disciplinary collaboration)
  • Ideas Grants (research support for innovative projects).

 

In addition, the new Strategic and Leveraging Grant Scheme will incorporate a dedicated funding stream for clinical trials and cohort studies. It will also encompass some existing schemes such as Targeted Calls for Research, Centres for Research Excellence and Development Grants.

The improvements aim to:

  • encourage greater creativity and innovation in research,
  • provide opportunities for talented researchers at all career stages to contribute to the improvement of human health, and
  • minimise the burden on researchers of application and peer review so that researchers can spend more time producing high quality research.

 

 

Grant type Investigator Grants Synergy Grants Ideas Grants Strategic and Leveraging Grants
Purpose Support whole research program Support multidisciplinary teams Support innovative research projects Support research that addresses a national need
Duration 5 years 5 years Up to 5 years Varies
No of CIs 1 4-10 1-10 Varies
Funding level Various packages $5M Up to $1.5M Varies
CI funding Apply for optional salary support (0-100%) Can fund CI up to PSP 5 Can fund CI up to PSP 5
Research team funding Can fund research staff Can fund research staff up to PSP 5 Can fund research staff up to PSP 5
Max no. apps per round 1 Investigator + 1 Ideas (but only one can be awarded) 1 Investigator + 1 Synergy 1 Ideas + 1 Synergy 2 Ideas No caps relative to other Grant schemes
Max no. of grant type held 1 Investigator + 1 Synergy 2 Ideas + 1 Synergy 2 Ideas + 1 Investigator (only possible when the Investigator Grant is awarded to an existing Ideas Grant holder. The research package for the Investigator Grant will be reduced by 50% per Ideas Grant, until the Ideas Grant has ended) No caps relative to other Grant schemes
Assessment Primarily on CI’s track record. How proposal meets the aim of the scheme. CI track record relative to opportunity, and the collective collaborative potential of the team. Primarily on the project’s science, innovation and significance.
Approximate MREA allocation 40% 5% 25% 30%

Source - AAMRI

For more information, visit the NHRMC website.

From AAMNRI -NHMRC Structural Review Summary

From The Conversation - The NHMRC program grant overhaul: will it change the medical research landscape in Australia?

From The Australian NHMRC overhauls research grants

What do you think?  (Leave a reply below.)

Will these changes meet the stated aims of:

  • encourage greater creativity and innovation in research,
  • provide opportunities for talented researchers at all career stages to contribute to the improvement of human health, and
  • minimise the burden on researchers of application and peer review so that researchers can spend more time producing high quality research.

 

And what  impact do you think these changes will have on opportunities for funding of health services research?  Much may depend on whether health services research get any ring-fenced schemes or will have to compete against clinical and basic science groups for each of the new schemes.