NHMRC Ideas Grants

NHMRC Ideas Grants


Please note this application will be submitted via the NHMRC's new Grant Management System Sapphire. If you had an active RGMS account your CV and Profile email was migrated into Sapphire on 12 February 2020.  To login to Sapphire:

1. If you have an existing RGMS account, a Sapphire account has been created for you. Click here to Activate your account.
2. If you did not have an RGMS account, you will need to register for a Sapphire account. Click here to Register for an account.

Tutorial and training modules for Sapphire can be found here.


The objective of the Ideas Grant scheme is to support innovative research projects addressing a specific question(s). The expected outcomes are:

  • innovative and creative research
  • funding of researchers at all career stages, and
  • funding any area of health and medical research from discovery to implementation.

The scheme will provide particular opportunities for early and mid-career researchers. It is expected that the CIA will have the scientific leadership and skills to achieve the proposed project aims.

An Ideas Grant can be requested for between one and five years depending on the proposal.

Assessment Criteria

Applications for Ideas Grants 2019 are assessed by peers on the extent to which the application meets the scheme objectives. Applications will be assessed against the Assessment Criteria listed below.

  • Research Quality (35%)
  • Innovation and Creativity (25%)
  • Significance (20%), and
  • Capability (20%).

Research Quality: NHMRC defines ‘Research Quality’ for the Ideas Grant scheme as the quality of the project aims and the proposed research plan.

Innovation and Creativity: NHMRC defines ‘Innovation and Creativity’ for the Ideas Grant scheme as health and medical research that seeks to challenge and shift current paradigms and/or have a major impact on a health research area through one or more studies that creatively:

  • develop or use novel research concepts, approaches, methodologies, technologies or interventions
  • propose a reinterpretation, refinement, improvement or new application of existing theoretical concepts, approaches, methodologies, technologies or interventions, or
  • integrate and adapt concepts, approaches, methodologies, technologies or interventions from other research fields or disciplines for a new purpose or in a new way.

Significance: NHMRC defines ‘Significance’ for the Ideas Grant scheme as the extent to which the outcomes and outputs will result in advancements to the research or health area.

Capability: NHMRC defines ‘Capability’ for the Ideas Grant scheme as the appropriateness of the applicant team and their expertise, the resources and access to additional personnel necessary to achieve the project aims. Capability is not an assessment of traditional track record elements, such as number of publications, grants held, or conference invitations. The CIA must demonstrate their ability to lead the project, including managing the project’s resources, personnel, budget and administrative requirements, in order to execute the project. Associate Investigators (AIs) can be included to strengthen the overall technical capability of the team (e.g. specialists such as statisticians), but they must not be essential for the leadership of the project. Consideration should also be given to the gender balance and development of new researchers within the applicant team.


The provisional funding allocation for the Ideas Grants 2020 up to $250 million. NHMRC’s Research Committee annually reviews and recommends indicative budget amounts to be awarded across individual funding schemes.

The amount of funding for an Ideas Grant will be based on assessment of the requested budget. Applications must clearly justify the requested duration and budget and how they will support the proposed outcomes of the research. Peer Reviewers will consider this information and may reduce the duration and/or budget to ensure the research aims and objectives can be achieved while ensuring value with money.

Faculty Processes

Guide for NHMRC Applicants on Macquarie Approvals Process Through PURE

The Faculties have their own approval and review processes for grants under this scheme. They may also have deadlines for submission of draft applications that are earlier than Research Services deadlines. Please ensure that you contact your Faculty, as early as possible, for information on process and deadlines. Faculty contacts:

Faculty of Arts
Ph 9850 4496 (x4496), Faculty Research Manager, Dr Jan Zwar

Macquarie Business School
Ph 9850 8485 (x8485), Faculty Research Manager, Ms Agnieszka Baginska

Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences
Ph 9850 2788 (x2788), Faculty Research Manager, Dr Kyle Ratinac

Faculty of Science and Engineering
Ph 9850 8912 (x8912), Faculty Research Manager, Ms Irina Zakoshanski

Key Dates

Changes to Eligibility for DVCR Co-Funding

Eligibility for the DVCR Co-Funding Scheme is now contingent upon on-time submission of grant applications by the Macquarie University submission date.  Many applications for external funding require cash and in-kind contributions from the host institution in order to be considered for funding.  In most cases, researchers request cash contributions, such as project support funds, funding for research associates, scholarships and major equipment, from the DVCR via the DVCR Co-Funding Scheme  to support their external funding applications.  To be eligible to request this DVCR Co-Funding, grant applications must be submitted internally, via Pure, by the Macquarie University submission date.

  • Applications for major grant rounds (NHMRC) must be submitted to the Research Services Pre Award team 4 weeks prior to the external deadline.
  • Applications that do not have a Pure record and/or do not have all the appropriate approvals in Pure (Head of Department [HoD] and Associate Dean Research [ADR]) will not be submitted to the external funding body.
  • For further information see FAQs.

Dates for the 2021 Funding Round
* Note:  NSW will have public holiday on Monday 8 June

NHMRC opening date in Sapphire: Wednesday 11 March 2020
Macquarie University Minimum Data deadline: 9am Tuesday 12 May 2020. 
Macquarie University submission date: 9am Wednesday 13 May 2020. All complete applications must be submitted internally by this date 
Research Services submission to NHMRC: Wednesday 17 June 2020
Anticipated notification of outcomes: late 2020


Note: NHMRC locates all their Scheme documentation in GrantConnect. You will be required to set-up a username and password to access.

Notification Of Intent (NOI)
Complete a Notification of Intent to inform your Faculty and the University Research Services teams of your intention to submit an application. After completing this NOI, you will be provided with regular updates about your funding scheme and sent valuable resources that will assist you in developing a highly competitive research grant application.

NHMRC Information
Ideas Grants Guidelines - GO3777
Funding Partners
Ideas Grant Proposal Template 
Check Your Eligibility

MQ Resources  
Ideas Grant Toolkit (updated 2020)
2020 Ideas Grant Budget Calculator
Pure Research Management System
MQ Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

Cancer Funding Information
Cancer Australia PdCCRS (GO3751) - Revised submission date 
Cancer Council NSW  - Revised submission date

These are built into Sapphire. No need to have separate certifications from CI's and AI's.

Introduction to the NHMRC Ideas Grant Funding Scheme
This workshop will provide general background information on the NHMRC Ideas Grant funding scheme. Researchers who have not applied for NHMRC funding in the past, in particular the new schemes, will benefit and are strongly encouraged to attend. The workshop will cover  the application process and structure, assessment process, eligibility and research support services available to applicants.
Date: Thursday 28 November 2019
Time: 11:00 - 12:00
Location: Room 801, Level 8, 12 Wally’s Walk
Speaker: Courtney Bendall (Research Services)
RECORDING [Microsoft Stream] 

NHMRC Ideas Grant Funding Scheme
This workshop will walk through the Ideas Grant application. From the NHMRC Grants Management System, to the Research Proposal, including the Innovation and Creativity Statement, Significance Statement and Feasibility Statement.  
Date: Thursday 12 March 2020
Time: 12:30 – 13:30
Location: Room 801, Level 8, 12 Wally’s Walk
Speaker: Courtney Bendall (Research Services)
RECORDING [Microsoft Stream] 

Building your Budget for the NHMRC Clinical Trials and Cohorts Studies (CTCS) Grant and Ideas Grant Schemes
This workshop will describe NHMRC budgetary requirements. Advice will then be provided on how to build your budget and how to justify your funding requests.
Speaker: Courtney Bendall (Research Services)
RECORDING [Microsoft Stream] 

ContactsInformation and Compliance
Research Proposals Team
Research Services
Ph: +61 2 9850 4193

Strategic Advice
Ms Courtney Bendall
Research Development Manager
Research Services
Ph: +61 2 9850 4745
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