This page details the information required when seeking a grantee variation under the Grantee Variations Policy  and also explains the NHMRC variation process. 

Publication Data

Current

A grantee variation request must be submitted to NHMRC via RGMS when a Chief Investigator A (CIA) wishes to change the approved grant. Where a grantee variation request is not covered by the options available in RGMS, Research Administration Officers (RAOs) are to email the details of the request to postaward.management@nhmrc.gov.au.

Grantee variation requests must be submitted in a timely manner, at least a month before the proposed date of effect to allow adequate time for review by the NHMRC. Requests for grantee variations with retrospective effect will generally not be approved.

Each grantee variation request will be considered based on its individual circumstances relative to the principles outlined in the Grantee Variations Policy.

Applicants should also read the Advice when seeking NHMRC Approval for a Variation. This page explains what NHMRC considers when approving or rejecting a grantee variation request.

The Grantee Variation process

The Grantee Variation process involves the following steps:

  1. The CIA creates, completes, certifies and submits the Grantee Variation request to their Administering Institution
  2. The RAO from the Administering Institution reviews and certifies the Grantee Variation request
  3. Additional information may be sought by NHMRC
  4. The NHMRC reviews the request and makes a decision whether or not to approve it. If necessary, the request will be forwarded to the Scientific Expert Panel (SEP) for a recommendation
  5. The RAO and CIA are notified by email of the decision
  6. If the variation is approved, revised schedules are only issued if the grant has transferred
  7. RGMS is updated where required
  8. If the variation is rejected, the RAO may be asked to confirm that the grant will continue as originally awarded or as previously approved.

Types of variations that are unlikely to have impacted the peer review of the application

1. Defer Grant Commencement Date

 Use this variation request type to seek approval to defer the Commencement Date of a grant.

  • Requests can only be applied for and approved in RGMS for 1 calendar month blocks of time.
  • The maximum period a grant can be deferred is 12 months in total via one or multiple defer grant commencement date variation requests, unless stated otherwise in the Funding Rules for the relevant scheme.
  • This variation can only be applied for BEFORE the commencement date advised on the Schedule or within three months of the Letter of Offer or before the previously approved revised Commencement Date.
  • If the commencement date has passed or it is longer than three months from the Letter of Offer, CIAs should seek a variation using the suspend (defer) in-progress grant variation for Research Support Schemes or the extended leave request for People Support Schemes.
  • Approval of this variation type may result in a change to the end date of a grant to maintain the approved Funding Period, changes to the reporting milestones as well as changes to the budget to match the new Funding Period.
  • The budget value may be reduced if the variation request is to avoid an overlap of awards.
  • New schedules will not be issued.
  • CIs should consider the impact of deferring a grant’s start date on all Specified Personnel as a deferral may result in compliance/eligibility issues for future grant application rounds.

The required information for this variation type is

  • number of months for deferral
  • reason for the proposed change.

2. Extend Grant End Date

 Use this variation request type to extend the grant duration, if the Research Activity has not been completed. This variation request must be received by NHMRC at least one month before the current end date.

  • For Early Career Fellows, this variation request type can be used to apply for bridging support (where this is specifically provided for in the Funding Rules). Approval may result in additional funds being added to the grant budget.
  • For Scholarships, this variation request type can be used to apply for a thesis or exceptional circumstances extension (where this is specifically provided for in the Funding Rules). Approval may result in additional funds being added to the grant budget.
  • Applying for this variation is particularly important if it is expected that the Research Activity may not be completed at the end of the Funding Period and that there will be unspent funds.
  • Requests can only be applied for and approved in RGMS for 1 calendar month blocks of time.
  • The maximum period a grant can be extended is 12 months in total via one or multiple extend grant duration requests unless stated otherwise in the Funding Rules for the relevant scheme.
  • All CIs on a grant must be advised of the extend grant duration application as an extension may result in compliance/eligibility issues for future grant application rounds.
  • New schedules will not be issued.

The required information for this variation type is:

  • number of months extension
  • reason for the proposed change
  • For Early Career Fellows and Scholars only, a statement of support (e.g., letter or email) from the current supervisor and where the request is for bridging support, the application ID of the subsequent NHMRC award.

3a. Suspend (Defer) in-progress Grant (Research Support Schemes only)

Use this variation request type to seek approval to suspend/defer an in-progress Research Support grant (where the commencement date on the Schedule has already passed and it is longer than three months from the Letter of Offer).

  • Requests can only be applied for and approved in RGMS for 1 calendar month blocks of time.
  • The maximum period a grant can be suspended/deferred is 12 months in total via one or multiple Suspend (Defer) in-progress Grant variation requests unless stated otherwise in the Funding Rules for the relevant scheme.
  • People Support grantees should use the ‘extended leave request’ variation request type when requesting a period of suspension.
  • Approval of this variation type will result in a change to the end date of a grant (to maintain the approved Funding Period) and changes to the reporting milestones.(the budget will not change).
  • New schedules will not be issued.

The required information for this variation type is:

  • proposed month of commencement for the suspension/deferral
  • reason for the proposed change
  • number of months for suspension/deferral

3b. Extended Leave Request (People Support Schemes)

Use this variation request type to request an extended period of leave after the Schedule’s commencement date has passed and it is longer than three months from the date of the Letter of Offer. (Research Support grantees should use the ‘suspend (defer) in progress grant’ variation request). Types of leave may include:

  • parental leave or sick leave
  • suspend/defer an in-progress
    • Requests can only be applied for and approved in RGMS for 1 calendar month blocks of time.
    • The maximum period a grant can be suspended/deferred is 12 months in total via one or multiple Extended Leave variation requests unless stated otherwise in the Funding Rules for the relevant scheme.
    • Approval of this variation type may result in a change to the end date of a grant (to maintain the approved Funding Period) and changes to the reporting milestones.
    • Institutions are to maintain a record of the reason for the proposed change and any relevant supporting documentation including medical certificates where the leave request relates to Parental Leave.
    • New schedules will not be issued.

The required information for this variation type is:

  • type of requested leave
  • proposed month of commencement for the leave
  • number of months leave/ suspension requested
  • for Early Career Fellows and Scholars only, a statement of support (e.g., letter or email) from the current supervisor and for overseas-based Early Career Fellows, a statement of support from both the overseas- and Australian-based supervisors
  • reason for the proposed change.

3c. Change in Full Time Equivalent (FTE) (People Support schemes)

Use this variation type to request:

  • a change from full-time to part-time
  • a change from part-time to full-time
  • a change in part-time FTE.

When processing this variation, note that:

  • requests can only be applied for and approved in RGMS for 1 calendar month blocks of time
  • time duration for the change should be specified within the variation (specify if change is for a part of the grant of the duration of the grant)
  • approval of this variation type may result in a change to the end date of a grant, changes to the reporting milestones and changes to the budget to align with the new Funding Period (the budget will not be changed if FTE is being reduced).
  • institutions are to maintain a record of the reason for the proposed change and any relevant supporting documentation
  • new schedules will not be issued.

The required information for this variation type is:

  • proposed month of commencement for the change
  • duration of the change
  • reason for the proposed change
  • current FTE
  • proposed new FTE
  • supporting documentation from institution and supervisor (Scholarships and Early Career Fellowships only).

4. Relinquish Grant

Use this variation request type to relinquish a grant. Approval of this request type will result in changes to the reporting milestones, in particular the due date of the Final Report and Acquittal Statement.

The required information for this variation type is:

  • proposed date of effect
  • reason for the proposed change
  • for Early Career Fellows and Scholars only, a statement of support (e.g., letter or email) from the current supervisor.

5. Transfer Administering Institution

 Use this variation request type when seeking approval to transfer a grant between Administering Institutions.

  • Applications for transfer MUST be received BEFORE the proposed transfer date.
  • The new Institution must be a NHMRC approved Administering Institution.

The required information for this variation type is:

  • proposed date of effect
  • reason for the proposed transfer
  • confirmation from the new Institution that they accept the administrating responsibilities for the grant. Note that the CIA will need to obtain this from the new Institution and the relinquishing Institution’s RAO will then upload the confirmation since the new Institution will not have permission to access the transfer grant variation in RGMS.
  • for Early Career Fellows and Scholars only, a statement of support (e.g., letter or email) from the current supervisor and if the transfer also involves a change in supervisor, a statement of support from the proposed new supervisor and the CV of the proposed new supervisor.

If NHMRC approves the request to Transfer Administering Institutions , the following steps complete the transfer process:

  • The relinquishing Institution advises the new Institution of the value of any unspent funds.
  • The new Institution invoices the relinquishing Institution for the value of the unspent funds.
  • The relinquishing Institution pays the invoice raised by the new Institution.
  • NHMRC issues a revised schedule to the new Institution for acceptance (this may occur before the invoice has been raised or paid).
  • Payments to the new Institution will not commence until the new Schedule is accepted in RGMS. This Schedule will not include unspent funds from the relinquishing Institution.
  • The new Institution confirms that all necessary ethics clearances (where applicable) and regulatory approvals are in place. Payments to the new Institution will not commence until this confirmation has been received by NHMRC.
  • The relinquishing Institution submits the Transfer Acquittal statement to the NHMRC disclosing the unspent funds that have been paid to the new Institution.

NHMRC will assist Administering Institutions to resolve issues that may arise about unspent funds to be transferred.

6. Change of Supervisor

Use this variation type to change the supervisor for Early Career Fellows and Scholars without changing the Administrating Institution.

The required information for this variation type is:

  • proposed date of effect
  • a statement of support (e.g., letter or email) from the current supervisor and the proposed new supervisor and a copy of the proposed new supervisor’s CV.

Types of variations that are likely to alter the Research Activity assessed during the peer review of the application

7. Update CI Team Membership and Structure

Use this variation request type to request approval to add, remove or change CIs.

The required information for this variation type is:

  • details of Exceptional Circumstances or
  • evidence that a change in employment prevents the CI from continuing in their peer reviewed role and
  • details of how the proposed change will not impact the completion of the grant in accordance with its peer reviewed objectives and outcomes
  • proposed date of effect
  • confirmation from all affected CIs that they agree to the proposed change
  • for any new CIs, they should confirm that their addition to the team will not result in eligibility issues, and their Profile/CV section of RGMS is up to date.

8. Change in Research Plan

Use this variation request type to seek approval to change the research plan, such as changing the Aims or experimental/trial conditions of the approved funding proposal.

The required information for this variation type is:

  • details of exceptional circumstances
  • details of how the proposed change will not impact the completion of the grant in accordance with its peer reviewed objectives and outcomes
  • proposed date of effect.

9. Remove Associate Investigator

Use this variation request type to seek approval to remove an Associate Investigator(s).

The required information for this variation type is:

  • details of exceptional circumstances or
  • evidence that a change in employment prevents the AI from continuing in their peer reviewed role and
  • details of how the proposed change will not impact the completion of the grant in accordance with its peer reviewed objectives and outcomes
  • proposed date of effect
  • Administering Institution is to hold written confirmation from the Associate Investigator that they agree to be removed from the grant.

Further enquiries should be directed to postaward.management@nhmrc.gov.au