Development Grants

For funding commencing in 2021

Research Office Contact:

This scheme is OPEN.

Development Grants for funding commencing in 2021 opened on Wednesday 21 April 2021 and will close Wednesday 16 June 2021. The university's internal deadline is 9:00am Wednesday 9 June 2021.

The Development Grants scheme provides financial support to individual researchers and/or research teams to undertake health and medical research within Australia at the proof of principle or pre-seed stage that specifically drives towards a commercial outcome within a foreseeable timeframe.

Scheme Objectives

The objectives of the Development Grant scheme are to:

  • Increase, facilitate and expedite the translation of health and medical research outcomes through to commercialisation, within a foreseeable timeframe.
  • Support proof-of-concept research with a feasible commercialisation pathway and a high likelihood of producing protected IP.
  • Provide a potential mechanism through which research outcomes can be progressed to a stage that makes them competitive to receive industry investment through other government schemes or from the private sector.
  • Encourage collaboration between health research, the private sector and industry (domestic and international).


At the time of acceptance and for the duration of a grant the CIA must be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or a permanent resident of Australia. The CIA must also be based in Australia for at least 80% of the funding period. There is no limit to the number of Development Grant a CI can apply for or hold.

An application may be excluded from further consideration if:

  • it has a focus on the early stage or knowledge creation stages of research (for example, research that is fundable through the Ideas Grant scheme).
  • the primary objective is a clinical trial or cohort study (these applications are relevant to the Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies scheme).
  • it is beyond the proof-of-concept stage, and therefore more appropriate to receive support from other government agencies or the private sector to successfully achieve a commercial outcome.

Please note that partnerships with industry/commercial partner/s for the proposed research are not essential at the application stage. However, applicants must provide comprehensive evidence of their strategies to commercialise their product and bring it to market.


Development Grants for funding commencing in 2021 will open in Sapphire.

If you have an existing RGMS account, NHMRC have created a Sapphire account for you - select “Activate my account” from the Sapphire page. If you do not have an RGMS account, select “I need to Register” from the Sapphire page.

Video tutorials are available from the Sapphire Knowledge Base page and NHMRC has a dedicated Sapphire Help Desk:

T: 1800 500 983 (Australia)
+61 2 6217 9451 (International)

For more information on how to activate your Sapphire account, please visit the NHMRC website

Please note: It is strongly recommended all applicants subscribe to the Research Office NHMRC mailing list for up to date information on this scheme.

Key Dates for funding commencing in 2021

Applications open in Sapphire Wednesday 21 April 2021
University Online Booking System opensThursday 22 April 2021
University Eligibility and Compliance Check PeriodThursday 27 May - Wednesday 2 June 2021
Minimum data requirements in Sapphire 5:00pm Wednesday 26 May 2021
University Deadline for Final Application9:00am Wednesday 9 June 2021
NHMRC Applications Close 5:00pm Wednesday 16 June 2021
Proposed Peer ReviewJuly - October 2021

Please note:

  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to commence their application in Sapphire ASAP after the scheme opens so that they can book their preferred day for an Eligibility and Compliance Check.
  • To enable the allocation of appropriate resourcing, bookings must be made prior to the defined scheme Eligibility and Compliance Check period. Access to book an Eligibility and Compliance Check will no longer be available once the Eligibility and Compliance Check period has commenced. This does not apply for schemes with continuous rounds (i.e. ARC Linkage Projects and NHMRC Partnership Projects).
  • The Eligibility and Compliance Check booking system for this scheme opens on Thursday 22 April 2021 and closes Wednesday 26 May 2021.
  • The University deadline for final application requires the provision of a submission-ready proposal to the Research Grants Office submitted via Sapphire, as well as a fully signed cover sheet.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.