NHMRC Synergy Grants

NHMRC Synergy 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.
Changes to DVCR Co-Funding

For NHMRC grants (excluding Investigator Grants) applicants will now be required to submit a formal DVCR Co-funding request. The formal DVCR Co-funding request replaces the previous support of the Strategic Research Fund (SRF), which was managed directly between your Faculty Research Office and DVCR Office.

The award of the DVCR Co-funding is to support MQ researchers to successfully complete their proposed NHMRC and MRFF projects by providing up to 20% co-funding on funds to remain at Macquarie. The goal is for the DVCR Co-funding is to facilitate MQ applicants in providing a ‘top-up’ of NHMRC salary costs (PSP’s), which are lower than MQ equivalent salary rates.

These changes are a testament to the increase in NHMRC and MRFF applications and awards to Macquarie University researchers, in recent years. Since 2019 we have submitted double the number of applications per annum, than in 2018 and before. We know that health and medical researchers at Macquarie will be more active than ever in the coming years in applying for NHMRC and MRFF funding to support their research, hence the need to make changes to meet the growing volume of awards.

Eligibility for DVCR Co-Funding is still contingent on submission of a full application by the Macquarie submission date. Further to this, the Pre Award team has recommenced tracking the on-time submissions after pausing this due to the impacts on workload brought about by COVID-19.

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.

The objective of the Synergy Grants scheme is to support outstanding multidisciplinary teams of investigators to work together to answer major questions that cannot be answered by a single investigator.

The expected outcomes are:

  • multidisciplinary research that addresses major problems in all areas of human health and medical research, from discovery to translation, and
  • highly collaborative teams of diverse researchers including by gender, career stage and cultural background, working together to address major problems in human health.

A Synergy Grants 2020 grant opportunity is awarded for a fixed five-year term.

Assessment Criteria

Applications for Synergy Grants 2020 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.

  • Track Record, relative to opportunity (40%)
  • Knowledge Gain (30%), and
  • Synergy (30%).

Track Record: NHMRC defines ‘Track Record’ for the Synergy Grant scheme as the value of an individual’s past research achievement, relative to opportunity, not prospective achievements, using evidence. Assessment of Track Record comprises peer reviewers’ consideration of:

  • Publications (20%)
  • Research Impact (15%), and
  • Leadership (5%).

Knowledge Gain: NHMRC defines ‘Knowledge Gain’ for the Synergy Grant scheme as the quality of the proposed research and significance of the knowledge gained. It incorporates theoretical concepts, hypothesis, research design, robustness and the extent to which the research findings will contribute to the research area and health outcomes (by advancing knowledge, practice or policy).

Synergy: NHMRC defines ‘Synergy’ for the Synergy Grant scheme as the quality of a diverse team’s multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to solving a major health and medical research question, while building workforce capacity.

Applications are assessed relative to opportunity, taking into consideration any career disruptions where applicable.

It is recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants often make additional valuable contributions to policy development, clinical/public health leadership and/or service delivery, community activities and linkages, and are often representatives on key committees. If applicable, these contributions will be considered when assessing research output and track record.


The provisional funding allocation for the Synergy Grants 2020 grant opportunity is estimated to be up to $50 million. NHMRC’s Research Committee annually reviews and recommends indicative budget amounts to be awarded across individual funding schemes.

A Synergy Grant provides a total and fixed budget of $5 million.

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

Dates for the 2021 Funding Round

NHMRC opening date in Sapphire: Wednesday 24 February 2021
Macquarie University Minimum Data deadline: 9am Tuesday 24 March 2021. 
Macquarie University submission date: 9am Wednesday 24 March 2021. All complete applications must be submitted internally by this date (Grant Proposal submitted through Pure)
Research Services submission to NHMRC: Wednesday 21 April 2021
Anticipated notification of outcomes: November/December 2021


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
Synergy Grant Guidelines (GO4658)
Synergy Proposal Template
Synergy Track Record Template 
Check Your Eligibility

MQ Resources 
Pure Research Management System

MQ Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

NHMRC DVCR Co-Funding Request Form

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

Introduction to Synergy Grants

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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