Research agencies adjust to crisis: NHMRC leads on extending applications

The NHMRC announced Friday night

On Friday night, the National Health and Medical Research Council acted on chair Ann Kelso’s undertaking to do “our best” to help people struggling to meet app due dates as COVID-19 responsibilities weighed (CMM March 26).

Deadlines are extended for five programmes with open and close dates ranging from March to October.

And the multi-disciplinary team Synergy Grants 2020 round is cancelled.  This is an “all hands-on deck” move to free up peer reviewers and Council staff to deal with Ideas Grants, which have just opened. “We won’t be able to do everything and have decided to prioritise completing the Ideas Grant round due to its size and broad impact across the sector,” Professor Kelso says. There is $240m in Ideas Grant funding starting this year

And lo, the ARC followed

On Saturday, the Australian Research Council followed, with chief executive Sue Thomas announcing new application closing dates for the three schemes where demand for a delay was strongest, Linkage (now April 29), Linkage Infrastructure (now April 22) and the new Australian studies special research initiative, (now May 6).

“The disruptions researchers, reviewers, partners and administrators are experiencing now will have long term impacts, and the ARC is committed to assisting all as best we can. … I acknowledge the challenges are significant, and assure you that we will continue to look at how we can best support you into the future.” Professor Thomas says.

This is a move from the ARC’s position last week, ““at this stage, we are not moving to longer or blanket extensions because of the cumulative impact this will have on the necessary peer review processes and being able to commence funding in the future,” (CMM March 24).