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Peer Review Consultation Paper

Closed on Monday, 4 December 2017, 11:59pm (AEDT). Submissions are no longer being accepted.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is the Australian Government’s primary health and medical research funding agency. With NHMRC support, Australia undertakes outstanding health and medical research which has contributed to significant improvements in individual and population health.

During 2016, NHMRC reviewed the structure of its research grant program with the guidance of an expert advisory group and the advice of NHMRC’s Council and Principal Committees. Following extensive public and targeted consultation, NHMRC’s new grant program was announced by the Minister for Health and the Minister for Sport, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, on 25 May 2017.

The new grant program aims to:

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

Purpose of paper

The structural review focused on NHMRC’s grant program and did not consider the peer review processes that support the program’s strategic aims, which were explicitly out of scope.

NHMRC now seeks feedback from the health and medical research community on peer review processes for the new grant program.

Overview of the New Grant Program

 NHMRC’s new grant program will comprise four funding streams, as summarised below:

Grant type

Investigator Grants

Synergy Grants

Ideas Grants

Strategic and Leveraging Grants


To support the research programs of outstanding investigators at all career stages

To support outstanding multidisciplinary teams of investigators to work together to answer major questions that cannot be answered by a single investigator.

To support focussed innovative research projects addressing a specific question

To support research that addresses identified national needs


5 years

5 years

Up to 5 years

Varies with scheme

Number of Chief Investigators




Varies with scheme


Research support package (RSP) plus optional salary support

Grant of a set budget ($5 million)

Based on the requested budget for research support

Varies with scheme

Assessment Criteria

Track Record
Knowledge Gain

Track Record
Knowledge Gain
Synergy (team diversity and collaboration)

Innovation & Creativity
Knowledge Gain

Varies with scheme

Indicative MREA allocation

About 40%

About 5%

About 25%

About 30%

Further information on the structural review and NHMRC’s new grant program is available at http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/restructure.

NHMRC’s Principles of Peer Review

The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Researchdescribes peer review as the impartial and independent assessment of research by others working in the same or a related field. NHMRC will continue to rely on peer review when assessing applications for funding to the new grant program, based on NHMRC’s Principles of Peer Review, including fairness, transparency and independence.

Consultation documents

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Consultation date

Please note the Timezone is AEDT.

Closing date: 
Monday, 4 December 2017 - 11:59pm
Please note that for some NHMRC consultations no extensions will be given. Where extensions are available you will need to contact the project officer using the contact details at the bottom of this page. However, in order for NHMRC to extend the date of a submission you will need to have created an account and started a submission.
Contact for further information
  • E: grant.implementation@nhmrc.gov.au
  • T: phone 13 000 NHMRC (13 000 64672) or +61 2 6217 9000
Public submissions

Page reviewed: 23 September, 2017