New NHMRC Funding Agreement and changes to direct research costs guidelines

18 November 2013

The NHMRC has issued a new Funding Agreement which will be effective for all grants from 1 January 2014. They have also provided advance notice of new guidelines for the expenditure of direct research costs (DRC).

The major changes to the funding agreement are:
  1. Approved funds awarded for Research Support Schemes may now be used for any direct research costs (DRC) as set out in the new Direct Research Costs Guidelines.
    DRC Guidelines will now be described with a “principles-based” approach which is more flexible than previously and acknowledges the fact that the Chief Investigators are best placed to determine how funds are spent to achieve the aims of the research;
  2. Approved funds may be applied to salaries and salary on-costs (with the exception of severance pay, extended leave pay and fringe benefits tax) as long as the aims of the research can be met and agreement is given by the CIA.
    (Note: the NHMRC has confirmed that this does not mean that you can request funds in your application budget to cover these salary-gap costs);
  3. Funds awarded to purchase equipment that is no longer required by the project can be converted to project funds;
  4. Chief Investigator A not required to justify the carry forward of funds that exceed 25% of the total funds available in the previous year;
  5. Due dates for Annual Financial reports and Progress reports moved out one month to 30 April each year.
The new NHMRC DRC Guidelines will be available from 1 January 2014 on the NHMRC website.