NHMRC Synergy Grants

NHMRC Synergy Grants



The Macquarie University Process from Grant Development to Submission

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 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 the DVCR Office and was not directly visible to academics as internal co-funding for their successful grants.

The DVCR Co-funding is to support MQ researchers to successfully complete their proposed NHMRC 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 align the principles of DVCR Co-funding with other external funding schemes and assist the University in rationalising the allocation of internal funding used to leverage competitive, external funding opportunities.  As Macquarie researchers continue to excel in the NHMRC funding scheme, we need to find a mechanism to ensure all successful NHMRC grants can be supported.  As context, since 2015, our application volume for NHMRC funding has nearly doubled year on year. We know that health and medical researchers at Macquarie will be more active than ever in the coming years in applying for NHMRC funding to support their research, hence the need to make changes to meet the growing volume of awards.

Eligibility for DVCR Co-Funding

Eligibility for the DVCR Co-Funding Scheme is now contingent upon on-time submission of grant applications by your mandatory compliance and eligibility check. Many applications for external funding require cash and in-kind contributions from the host institution in order to be considered for funding. This funding includes project support funds, funding for research associates, scholarships, and major equipment and in most cases is processed via the DVCR Co-Funding scheme. View further information on deadlines, processes and FAQs

  • Applications led by Macquarie University researchers must be submitted to the Research Services Grant Development Team 4 weeks prior to the external deadline, if requesting an optional strategic review and 2 weeks prior for a mandatory compliance and eligibility check. Please refer to the fellowships and grant opportunities webpage for information on deadlines and processes.
  • Applications that do not have a Pure record and/or do not have all the appropriate approvals in Pure (Head of Department/School [HoD/HoS] and Deputy Dean of Research and Innovation [DDRI]) will not be submitted to the external funding body.  It is the lead applicant’s responsibility to ensure the approvals in Pure are complete prior to submission.

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 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 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 4496 (x4496), Faculty Research Manager, Dr Jan Zwar

Faculty of Arts
Ph 9850 9663 (x9663), Faculty Research Manager, Dr Christine Boman

Key Dates

For applications submitted in 2023:

Please note that our grant review processes have changed. Strategic reviews are optional, while compliance and eligibility checks are mandatory.

If you wish to receive a strategic review of your NHMRC application, you must book via the online booking calendar.

Compliance and eligibility reviews for your NHMRC application is mandatory and you must book via the online booking calendar.

There are sufficient booking times available for all applicants, but we recommend booking early to ensure you have an ample choice of dates.

These are estimated dates from previous NHMRC rounds but are subject to change.

  • NHMRC opening date in Sapphire: Wednesday 8 February 2023
  • Strategic review (optional): 8 or 9 March 2023, select your date and time in the strategic booking calendar 
  • NHMRC minimum data deadline: Wednesday 8 March 2023
  • Compliance and eligibility check (mandatory): 22 or 23 March 2023, select your date and time in the compliance and eligibility calendar. By the time you select you must also have a penultimate draft of your entire application in Sapphire and DVCR Co-funding requests must be submitted via Pure.
  • Applicant submits final application in Sapphire: 11:59 pm Sunday 2 April 2023
  • Research Services submission to NHMRC: Wednesday 5 April 2023
  • Outcomes expected: October 2023

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 (GO6057)
Synergy Proposal Template
Synergy Track Record Template 
Check Your Eligibility

MQ Resources 
Pure Research Management System

MQ Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
Create a PURE record 
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


Grant Development Team
Research Services
Ph: +61 2 9850 4745

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