NSW COVID-19 Research Grants

NSW COVID-19 Research Grants

StatusOpen (Round 1)

The NSW COVID-19 Research Grants program has been designed to ensure that research results are obtained as quickly as possible to directly support the NSW Health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 research program will facilitate public health research, rapid diagnostics, clinical trials and trialling new vaccines. It will also support social, behavioural and mental health research, and health systems responsiveness.


There will be two rounds of funding.

Round 1 funding will be allocated to an initial rapid funding round with shorter application and review timeframes. This initial round will focus on research topics that address key COVID-19 response needs. This funding round has been developed for projects that are ready to commence shortly and require rapid funding. Funding of up to $1 million per project, for a period of up to 24 months, is available. Funding requests over $1 million may be considered with clear justification. Round 1 projects must have capacity to commence research within 3-4 weeks of receiving funding, and provide a report on interim outcomes within 6 months from the research start date.

Round 2 funding will be reserved for a second round of proposals requiring a longer development period. This round will encompass a broader range of topic areas that have been identified as important to support patients, health care workers, the community and the health system in responding to COVID-19.

Funding will be available for existing and new research projects. Applications submitted for the first round but not funded may be reconsidered in the second round depending on alignment with research topics. Applicants in this category will be offered an opportunity to revise their proposal if required.

Applications will be peer reviewed against the eligibility and selection criteria in accordance with the process detailed in the COVID-19 Research Grants Round One Guidelines.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Round 1

Eligibility criteria

Applications must meet all eligibility criteria. Eligibility criteria for round one include:

  • Rapid start.
  • Address specific topic areas.
  • Based in NSW.
  • Submit a complete application.
  • Australian citizen, permanent residency status or appropriate visa.
  • Host organiation requirements.
  • Administering organisation requirements.

For full eligibility details please refer to the COVID-19 Research Grants Round One Guidelines.

Selection criteria

Applications that meet all eligibility criteria and are selected at first review will be assessed against the following selection criteria. Applications should be written in plain English and technical terms explained. Selection criteria includes:

  • Skills and experience of the research team and collaborators (30%).
  • Scientific quality of the research project (30%).
  • Evidence generated will be directly translatable into supporting the COVID-19 response in NSW (40%).

For full selection details please refer to the COVID-19 Research Grants Round One Guidelines.

Research Topics

Round 1

Diagnostics research

  • Enabling representative seroprevalence studies and improving ease and efficiency of serology testing.
  • Diagnostic approaches that reach vulnerable populations, including ease of access and supply chain issues.
  • Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) testing and increasing access/scale/testing efficiency/turnaround time (TAT).

Prevention of infection

  • COVID vaccine clinical trials (excluding vaccine research and development).
  • Preventing infection in health and aged care workers, including transmission mechanisms and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Infection control practices in the community.
  • Preventing transmission in vulnerable community settings and workplaces.
  • Preventing transmission in Aboriginal communities, including rural, remote and urban settings.

Treatment, including antivirals and immunosuppressive agents

  • Increasing uptake and ease of access to adaptive clinical trial platforms, to enable rapid assessment of existing drugs, including repurposed and experimental drugs.
  • Using adaptive clinical trials to prevent or minimise unmonitored off-label use of drugs.
  • Predicting and managing early disease and severe disease in acute care facilities and the community.
  • Post-acute management, rehabilitation, and longer term sequelae.

Public and population health

  • Impacts of COVID-19 prevention measures such as social distancing, including on preventive health habits.
  • Safe self-isolation – barriers and enablers and reducing onward transmission, including in Aboriginal communities.
  • Natural history, immunity and re-infection of COVID in different groups/sub-populations.
  • Assessing and maintaining the uptake and effectiveness of population level screening programs, e.g. breast cancer screening.
  • Assessing impacts of COVID-19 on uptake and effectiveness of existing population-level prevention programs and preventive health habits.
  • Assessing the effectiveness of newly emerging technologies and apps in the public health response.

Exclusions. The following topics are either not currently required or already funded. These topics will not be funded via COVID-19 grants:

  • Modelling the surge capacity of the health care system including ICU utilisation, and growth rates and case projections for SARS CoV-2 infections in NSW.
  • Visual display of existing epidemiological information including maps of cases.
  • Building new statewide information technologies and systems.
  • Further assessment of previously validated commercial serology and diagnostic tests.
  • Vaccine research and development.
  • Population-based COVID-19 serological surveys (note these are already underway).
  • Assessment of COVID-19 exposure in high risk groups including close contacts of cases and health care workers; and attack rate, hospitalisation, and death rates in health and aged care setting.
  • Descriptive epidemiological studies.
  • Investigation and analysis of COVID-19 in schools and early learning settings.
  • Case control studies comparing health and aged care worker PPE use and practices with controls have already been funded. If your application is in this area, please justify how your proposal adds evidence and value.
Faculty Processes

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 the 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

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

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

Key Dates

Round 1

Grant guidelines released: Wednesday 6 May 2020
Applications open: Wednesday 6 May 2020
Macquarie University Faculty expression of interest deadline: 9 am Tuesday 12 May 2020
Macquarie University strategic review and DVCR Co-Funding request deadline: 9 am Thursday 14 May 2020
Macquarie University compliance check deadline: 9 am Monday 18 May 2020
Applications close: 5 pm Wednesday 20 May 2020
Outcomes notified: by Tuesday 30 June 2020

Round 2

Grant guidelines released: June 2020
Applications open: TBA
Macquarie University strategic review deadline: TBA
Macquarie University compliance check deadline: TBA
Applications close: TBA
Outcomes notified: TBA

These are indicative dates from the funding agency and are subject to change

Applications must be submitted to the Research Services Pre Award team (research.preaward@mq.edu.au) by the Macquarie University compliance check deadline. Research Services will submit the application.

Applications that do not have a Pure record and/or do not have all the appropriate approvals in Pure (Head of Department and Associate Dean Research) will not be submitted to the external funding agency.


COVID-19 Research Grants Round One Guidelines

COVID-19 Research Grants: Round One Application Form for Existing Projects

COVID-19 Research Grants: Round One Application Form for New Projects

Pure Quick Reference Guide for creating and submitting application

MQ DVCR Co-Funding Request

MQ Partner-Funded Research Budget Calculator

MQ Salary Rates (Academic, Professional, PhD Scholarships)

MQ Guide to Appropriate Salary Levels and Steps

View expedited review process for ethics applications about COVID-19

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

Strategic Advice
Daniel Johnston
Research Partnerships Manager
Research Services
Ph: +61 2 9850 7577
Back to the top of this page