Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When will I be notified about the outcome of my EOI?
A: Applicants will receive notification by the end of May to early June. If they are shortlisted to submit a full application, this will be due by the 25th of July, with two referee reports due by the end of August.
Q: What type of projects are you looking to support?
A: NFMRI is looking to support biomedical research projects that advance innovation and enable external collaborations to be formed. We strongly suggest that applicants read our NFMRI Impact Giving Guide, which outlines our strategy. We are particularly interested in projects that fall within Portfolios 2 & 3.
Q: Are there any diseases or conditions that you are interested in?
A unique feature of our Foundation is that we aim to support innovations irrespective of diseases and conditions. We have flexibility to support great ideas across a whole spectrum of diseases and conditions where translation pathways exist and our support can add value.
Q: What do you look for when making decisions?
A: Our Research Advisory Committee (RAC) looks for more than good science, they also look at the likelihood of success, unmet need, potential for translation, the strength of the team and institution, as well as ability and willingness to collaborate. We also consider other innovations that may already exist in the pipeline. As we are making a social investment, we want to support the development and advancement of innovations that are likely to succeed.
Q: How much funding can I apply for?
A: How much do you need? Page 11 of our NFMRI Impact Giving Guide provides a rough guideline of maximum amounts for each portfolio. We strongly recommend that you apply for the funding required to advance your innovation or discovery and not try to fit your application and budget to the amounts available. Modest requests for projects that strongly align with our mission and strategy are always taken very seriously. Our Board and RAC are very familiar with the costs incurred to deliver good research.
Q: How many grants do you award each year?
A: It varies. On average, we provide between $800,000 to $1,000,000 of funding each calendar year, some of which are multi-year commitments. We also partner with other trusts, foundations, donors and government, thereby increasing our ability to support additional projects. Our grants range from smaller, quick studies of around $20,000 – all the way to large, multi-year commitments of up to $400,000. It’s important to bear in mind that large grants may decrease our ability to support a number of smaller projects.
Q: What are the success rates and trends relating to portfolios?
A: NFMRI has introduced a robust process to receive and review EOIs and grants. Whilst our current grant recipients are included on this site, we have provided some additional information below to assist researchers looking to submit an EOI. Over the past two years, we have received more than 200 expressions of interest with a 50% increase between 2014 and 2015. Shortlisted applicants are invited to submit a full application.
Q: Why is your focus on advancing innovation?
A: Each foundation or funding body has a unique purpose, mission and strategy. For us, it is evident that the way the community benefits from medical research is through access to new medicines, drugs, vaccines, tools, diagnostics etc. After conducting a cross sector research initiative in 2013, it became evident that many of these discoveries were not maximising their potential for translation as the research was only focused on publication metrics, and the collaborations required to de-risk them were simply not happening. Researchers are generally not able to spend their research funding externally, even if it will help advance their innovation. As such, the Foundation resolved to focus on advancing innovation and supporting external collaborations to de-risk innovations so that they can reach the hands of those in need sooner. Whilst we acknowledge the great work done by others in supporting scholarships, fellowships and basic research projects, it is simply not what we do. We have made a conscious decision to try to become the best at supporting innovations and that is our focus.
Q: Why was I not successful and can you provide me with some feedback on my proposal?
A: As this is a very competitive process, and funding is limited, the Foundation is unfortunately not able to support every great proposal received. We do not have the resources to be able to work with each applicant and provide individual feedback. The only exception is in cases where there is a glaring error in the EOI or there is a complete misalignment. NFMRI will make contact with these individuals so that their applications can be improved in the future. Otherwise, it is generally a case where there simply isn’t enough funding to support every great idea. Funding decisions have to be made and not all applications can be funded. Whilst we can’t provide specific application advice, our CEO is able to do presentations at research institutions and other events to assist researchers and their institutions understand our strategy and processes. We are also actively working with other donors, trusts and foundations to help increase our ability to support more great projects.
Q: How many grant rounds do you have every year?
A: There is generally one EOI funding round per year, usually opening in February and closing at the end of April. However, as we are working with other donors, trusts and foundations, there may be times throughout the year where special funding opportunities are made available. The best way to keep informed of these is to subscribe to our newsletter and to follow us on social media as announcements will always be made via these channels. Portfolio 3 EOIs can be submitted at anytime. These EOIs will be reviewed as part of our normal funding round, but can assist us in communicating needs and opportunites with other potential donors. Where interest has been identified a full submission may be requested.
Q: Can you support my company to help get our innovation to market?
A: As the NFMRI is a charitable organisation, we are required by the ATO and the ACNC to support organisations that are Tax Concession Charities (TCC) and have Deductible Gift Recipient 1 (DGR1) status. Most universities and medical research institutes satisfy these requirements. It is also a requirement of our support that the Intellectual Property (IP) is owned by the researcher’s institution. Once the IP is encumbered, we are no longer able to support the project.