The Grantee Variation Policy describes our policy position on requests for varying grants.

Publication Data

Current

Variation is a change (including a delay) to a grant. There are limited circumstances where it is appropriate to vary an NHMRC grant (including the Research Activity) relative to the peer reviewed application.

NHMRC grants are awarded following rigorous peer review of an application, which may include:

  • assessment of the Chief Investigator(s) research achievements
  • quality of the research proposal
  • overall feasibility of the application (including Chief Investigator and research environment suitability).

NHMRC’s Funding Agreement states that “Funds may only be used for the Research Activity for which they were provided . . . .”, and accordingly any proposed changes to a grant, including changes to the Funding Period, need to be considered relative to the original peer review.

A variation request must:

  • be submitted to NHMRC via RGMS at least a month before the proposed date of effect to allow adequate time for review. Requests for variations with retrospective effect will generally not be approved.
  • not be used as a means to meet NHMRC eligibility requirements, unless specifically allowed in the scheme-specific Funding Rules.
  • not have the effect of overcoming an action taken by NHMRC in relation to a grant unless NHMRC is satisfied that the proposed grant is unaffected.

Each variation request will be considered based on its individual circumstances relative to the principles outlined in this policy.

Grantee variations

1. The following grantee variations are unlikely to have impacted the peer review of the application.1

  • Defer Commencement Date
  • Extend End Date
  • Deferral/Leave (e.g. Parental or Carers leave)
  • Change in Full Time Equivalent (FTE)  
  • Relinquishment
  • Change in Administering Institution
  • Change in Supervisor

Further information is available on the NHMRC website under Advice when seeking NHMRC approval for a grantee variation.

2. The following grantee variations are likely to alter the Research Activity assessed during the peer review of the application.

  • Change in Chief Investigator 
  • Change in Research Plan (the objectives or outcomes specified in the application for the Research Activity)2

[For changes to the research plan resulting from an ethics committee approval process, see below].

  • Change in Associate Investigator

NHMRC will only consider these types of variations when the CIA can demonstrate:

exceptional circumstances3, or

  • a change in employment4 that prevents the Investigator from continuing in their peer reviewed role, or
  • a change in Chief Investigator allowed for in scheme-specific Funding Rules, and
  • that the proposed change will not impact the completion of the grant in accordance with its peer reviewed objectives and outcomes.

As part of making its decision, NHMRC will also take into consideration any other matters of which it is aware relevant to the grant, Administering Institution or the researchers.

Further information is available on the NHMRC website under Advice when seeking NHMRC approval for a grantee variation.

Scheme-specific requirements

Grantees should refer to the NHMRC Funding Rules, scheme-specific Funding Rules under which the grant was applied and the Advice when seeking NHMRC approval for a grantee variation web page for eligibility and variation requirements.

Variations resulting from an institutional ethics committee approval process

Changes to the Research Activity resulting from the institutional ethics committee approval process (Human Research Ethics Committee and Animal Ethics Committee) must be submitted as a grantee variation request only if they change the peer reviewed objectives or outcomes specified in the application. These requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Further information regarding the relationship between ethical review and peer review is available on the NHMRC website.

Changes that do NOT require a Variation Request

 Improvements to the research techniques used to achieve the Research Activity (e.g. new, cheaper or more accurate technique or technology becomes available) do not require a variation request.

Grantee Variation Policy – Applicability Matrix

To determine which Grantee Variation requests should be submitted for each Scheme see matrix below.

Requests to vary the Research Plan are not required for some funding schemes in recognition of the objectives of these schemes and the criteria assessed during their peer review (see matrix below).

Footnotes

1 To determine which Grantee Variation requests should be submitted for each scheme see matrix below.

2 Requests to vary the Research Plan are not required for some funding schemes in recognition of the objectives of these schemes and the criteria assessed during their peer review (see matrix below).

3 Exceptional circumstances include natural disaster, death of a Chief Investigator (or Associate Investigator) or illness/injury of a Chief Investigator (or Associate Investigator) resulting in six months or greater absence from work. Other types of leave taken by a Chief Investigator (or Associate Investigator) or meeting NHMRC grant eligibility criteria will not be considered exceptional circumstances

4 Changes in employment include termination, retirement or change of employer. Long-service leave, sabbatical or leave without pay will not be considered as changes in employment.

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