The Australian Government recognises public concern about the health effects of electromagnetic energy (EME), and the need to ensure that standards and public health policies continue to be based on the best available scientific information. Since 1996, the Government has run the EME Program to provide information to the public and support research into health issues associated with mobile phones, mobile phone base stations and other communications devices and equipment. The program is funded by a $1 million dollar levy paid annually by radiocommunication license holders and collected by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The EME Program consists of three components:

  1. A public information program managed by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)
  2. An Australian EME research program administered by the NHMRC; and
  3. Australia’s participation in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) Project which assesses the health and environmental effects of EME exposure.

NHMRC is encouraging additional applications for EME research through a number of funding schemes, including Ideas Grants, Investigator Grants and Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies.

The table below lists NHMRC grants awarded for research investigating the impact of EME on human health and physiology.

NHMRC grants for EME research

Grant ID Grant title Institution  Scheme Funding Awarded* End date
1135076 Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research University of Wollongong Centres of Research Excellence $2,499,671 2022
1060205 Centre for Population Health Research on Electromagnetic Energy Monash University Centres of Research Excellence $2,499,157 2018
1042464 Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research University of Wollongong Centres of Research Excellence $2,498,842 2017
546130 Risk of brain cancer from exposure to radiofrequency fields in childhood and adolescence Monash University Australia - EU Collaborative Research Grant $701,040 2013
559309 Does mobile phone radiation affect brain processes? Swinburne University of Technology NHMRC Project Grant $244,336 2011
545927 Do mobile phones affect cognitive development in children? Monash University NHMRC Project Grant $548,616 2011
264439 Australian Centre for Radiofrequency Bioeffects Research (ACRBR) Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Centres of Research Excellence in Clinical Research $2,653,680 2009
219129 A case-control study of brain and other tumours in adults and exposure to RF EME in the use of mobile phones University of Sydney

Targeted Calls for Research

$1,200,000 2005
163627 Effects of long-term mobile phone use on vision and hearing University of Sydney Targeted Calls for Research $309,006 2005
154905 Does mobile phone radiation affect brain reactions, sleeping patterns or the biological clock? Swinburne University of Technology Targeted Calls for Research $213,570 2005
983722 Does exposure to radiofrequency fields cause an increase in cancer rates in mice? University of Adelaide Targeted Calls for Research $1,122,103 2001
983718 Do mobile phones affect human memory, attention, problem solving or plasma melatonin? Swinburne University of Technology Targeted Calls for Research $73,000 2001
983702 A case-control study of brain and other tumours in adults and exposure to RF EME in the use of mobile phones (PILOT STUDY) NSW Cancer Council Targeted Calls for Research $97,670 2000
983719 Effect of radiofrequency exposure in mutation and cancer Flinders University Targeted Calls for Research $95,000 1999

* Initial amount does not include indexations, extensions or project variations