AAMRI Update: NHMRC Structural Review Summary

AAMRI Update: NHMRC Structural Review Summary

23rd August, 2017

Following an extensive consultation process the NHMRC announced its new Grant Program structure on 25 May 2017. Further details on the new Grant Program and transition arrangements can be found on the NHMRC website.

This update provides a brief high-level overview of the changes. AAMRI will continue to analyse the impact of the changes once further details are made available in the coming weeks and months. If you have any questions on the changes that you would like answered please get in touch: enquiries@aamri.org.au


The new program

From 2020 there will be four types of grants funded:

  • Investigator Grants – consolidates separate fellowship and research support into one grant for high-performing researchers at all career stages
  • Synergy Grants – $5 million grants for outstanding multi-disciplinary research teams
  • Ideas Grants – support for innovative and creative research projects, for researchers at all career stages
  • Strategic and Leveraging Grants – includes targeted calls for research, development grants (for commercialisation), Centres for Research Excellence, Partnership projects and centres, International Collaborative Grants and clinical trials and cohort studies

Further details of the new NHMRC grant schemes were announced by the NHMRC on 18th August, 2017 and have been included in the table below.

AAMRI has also analysed the details provided for the Investigator Grant funding packages, which have been summarised here.

Strategic and Leveraging Grants will include the following schemes: Centres of Research Excellence, Development Grants, International Collaborative Grants (e.g. GACD, EU, NIH, NIHR), Targeted Calls for Research, Partnership Projects, Partnership Centres and Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies (new scheme). Details of the Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies funding scheme will be developed following analysis of the responses to the public consultation and announced at a later date.

Table updated 21st August, 2017

Grant typeInvestigator GrantsSynergy GrantsIdeas GrantsStrategic and Leveraging Grants
PurposeSupport whole research program of outstanding investigatorsSupport multidisciplinary
Support innovative research projects Support research that addresses national needs*
Duration5 years5 yearsUp to 5 yearsVaries
No of CIs14 to 101 to 10Varies
Funding levelLeadership 3 levels (L1, L2, L3) (max of 5 terms)

Emerging Leadership 2 levels (EL1, EL2) (max of 2 terms)
$5M (fixed)
Only 10 awarded per year
Up to $1.5M based on requested budgetVaries
CI fundingApply for optional salary support (0-100%)Can fund CI up to PSP 5Can fund CI up to PSP 5
Research team fundingCan fund research staffCan fund research staff up to PSP5Can fund research staff up to PSP5
Funding for direct research costsYes.
Part of Research Support Package
Fixed budget for all synergy grants (total of $5M), direct research costs can be included.
Budget request can include direct research costs
Max no. apps per round1 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 held1 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 support package (RSP) for the Investigator Grant will be reduced by 50% per Ideas Grant, until the Ideas Grant has ended)

Chief Investigators may hold only 1 Synergy Grant (CIA-CIJ)

Chief Investigators may hold only 2 Ideas Grants (CIA-CIJ) concurrently
No caps relative to other Grant schemes
Transition Arrangements & EligibilityCan apply in penultimate year of fellowship but not hold concurrent with a fellowship

RSP reduced by 25% for each Project Grant held (max 50%)

Can apply if CI on Program Grant (awarded with 100% reduction in RSP until Program Grant expires).
Can apply only in final year of a Program Grant.Can apply only in final year of a Program Grant.

Unaffected if one Project Grant held

Capped at 1 Ideas Grant if >1 Project Grants held
AssessmentPrimarily on CI’s track record - for all career stages.How proposal meets the aim of the scheme. CI track record relative to opportunity, and the collective collaborative potential of the team. encourage diversity in teams (discipline, career stage, gender)Primarily on the project’s science, innovation and significance (opportunities for those with less-developed track records)Depends on grant scheme
Approximate MREA allocation40%5%25%30%