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Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grants

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Grants to support high-quality clinical trials and cohort studies that address knowledge gaps and provide for improvements in health and well-being, healthcare practice or policy.

What is the Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies (CTCS) Grants Scheme?

The Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grants 2024 is a funding initiative by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) designed to support high-quality clinical trials and cohort studies. These studies aim to address important gaps in knowledge, leading to relevant and implementable findings that benefit human health.

CTCS level of support

The provisional funding allocation for this grant is $70 million. Grants can be requested for between 1 and 5 years, depending on the proposal’s needs.

CTCS important dates

  • Closing date: 17:00 ACT local time on 28 August 2024
  • Minimum Data deadline: 24 July 2024
  • Anticipated peer review period: October 2024 – February 2025
  • Anticipated notification of outcomes: April/May 2025
  • Register your interest with GrantHelper

CTCS objectives and outcomes

The intended outcomes of the scheme are:

  • high-quality clinical trials that provide reliable evidence of the effects of health-related interventions on health outcomes (or appropriate surrogates)
  • high-quality cohort studies that provide reliable evidence on the relation of important risk factors and other exposures to health-related outcomes
  • high quality retrospective cohort studies that provide reliable evidence on the relation of important risk factors and other exposures to health-related outcomes

Projects eligible for CTCS support

Detailed information on eligible projects is as follows:

Clinical trials are research studies involving human participants, designed to evaluate the effects of interventions on health outcomes. Eligible clinical trials must meet the following criteria:

  • Human Participants: The study must involve human participants.
  • Interventions: Participants are prospectively assigned to one or more interventions.
  • Outcome Evaluation: The effects of the intervention(s) on the participants will be examined, with anticipated effects being behavioural and/or health-related outcomes.

Examples of eligible clinical trials include:

  • Trials testing new medications, medical devices, or other therapeutic interventions.
  • Behavioural intervention trials aimed at improving health outcomes.
  • Preventive trials evaluating measures to prevent the onset of diseases.

Prospective cohort studies involve following a group of individuals over a period to evaluate the association between risk factors and health-related outcomes. Eligible prospective cohort studies must meet the following criteria:

  • Human Participants: The study must involve human participants.
  • Prospective Follow-Up: Participants are prospectively followed over a defined period.
  • Outcome Evaluation: The study aims to evaluate associations between one or more factors and behavioural and/or health-related outcomes.

Examples of eligible prospective cohort studies include:

  • Studies examining the impact of lifestyle factors (e.g., diet, exercise) on the development of chronic diseases.
  • Research assessing the long-term effects of environmental exposures on health outcomes.

Retrospective cohort studies involve collecting and examining existing data to evaluate associations between risk factors and health-related outcomes. Eligible retrospective cohort studies must meet the following criteria:

  • Human Participants: The study must involve human participants.
  • Retrospective Data Collection: The project will collect and examine retrospective data, which may involve data linkage work.
  • Outcome Evaluation: The study aims to evaluate associations between one or more factors in the cohort and behavioural and/or health-related outcomes.

Examples of eligible retrospective cohort studies include:

  • Studies using medical records to assess the long-term health impacts of early-life exposures.
  • Research linking multiple health databases to evaluate the effectiveness of public health interventions.

Certain projects are not eligible for funding under this grant scheme. These include:

  • Projects solely focused on infrastructure development.
  • Ongoing support for existing projects without a clear new research component.
  • Projects not involving human participants.

Expenditure eligible for CTCS support

Funding provided by the NHMRC for a CTCS grant must be spent on costs directly incurred in carrying out the grant activity. Eligible expenditures include:

Personnel Costs

  • Salary Support: Funding for personnel directly involved in the research project, such as research assistants, technical staff, and administrative support.
  • Chief Investigator Salaries: While CTCS grants are not typically intended for Chief Investigator (CI) salaries, funding can be requested with justification showing how the salary is essential to achieving the project outcomes. CI salaries can only be drawn if the CI is based in Australia for at least 80% of the funding period.
  • Research Support Staff: Salaries for research support staff, including those based overseas if their work is critical to the project and not available in Australia.

Research Costs

  • Equipment: Purchase or lease of equipment necessary for the research, provided it is not available within the administering institution.
  • Consumables: Laboratory and field supplies directly related to the research activities.
  • Participant Costs: Expenses related to recruiting and compensating study participants, including travel and accommodation if necessary.
  • Data Collection: Costs associated with data collection, such as surveys, questionnaires, and clinical assessments.

Travel and Accommodation

  • Field Work: Travel and accommodation expenses for researchers conducting fieldwork or site visits integral to the project.
  • Conferences and Meetings: Costs for attending relevant conferences or meetings to present findings, provided these are directly related to the research and occur during the grant period.

Collaborative and Overseas Research

  • International Collaboration: Costs for specific grant activities undertaken overseas, including travel and accommodation for collaborating researchers if critical resources or expertise are not available in Australia.
  • Overseas Equipment and Resources: Funding for equipment or resources located overseas, where their use is essential for the project.

Miscellaneous Costs

  • Publication and Dissemination: Expenses for publishing research findings in open-access journals and disseminating results to stakeholders and the broader community.
  • Ethics and Regulatory Approvals: Fees for obtaining necessary ethics approvals and compliance with regulatory requirements.

Exclusions and Restrictions

Certain expenditures are not eligible under the CTCS Grants 2024. These include:

  • Infrastructure Costs: General infrastructure costs, including building maintenance and utility costs, are not covered.
  • Duplicate Funding: NHMRC will not fund research activities that duplicate work already funded by NHMRC or other agencies. Applicants must ensure no overlapping funding sources for the same project activities.

Funding Conditions

All expenditures must comply with NHMRC’s Direct Research Costs Guidelines and other relevant policies. It is the responsibility of the administering institution and the CI to ensure that all funds are used appropriately and in accordance with these guidelines.

By adhering to these eligible expenditure guidelines, applicants can ensure their budgets are accurately prepared and aligned with the requirements of the CTCS Grants 2024.

Other CTCS important details that you will need to know

Applications for the CTCS Grants 2024 will only be accepted from NHMRC Administering Institutions. These institutions must meet specific criteria and be approved by the NHMRC. Eligible organisations typically include:

Universities and Higher Education Institutions

  • Accredited universities and higher education institutions that conduct research in health and medical fields.
  • Institutions must have the necessary facilities and infrastructure to support the proposed research activities.

 

Medical Research Institutes

  • Dedicated medical research institutes that focus on clinical trials, cohort studies, and other health-related research.
  • Institutes must demonstrate a strong track record in conducting high-quality research.

 

Hospitals and Health Services

  • Hospitals and health services with research departments capable of managing and conducting clinical trials and cohort studies.
  • These organisations must have the required ethical and regulatory approvals to conduct human research.

 

Public Health Organisations

  • Public health organisations involved in large-scale health research and population studies.
  • Organisations must have the expertise and infrastructure to manage complex research projects.

 

Administering Institutions

The NHMRC maintains a list of approved Administering Institutions that are eligible to apply for and manage CTCS Grants. Administering Institutions are responsible for:

  • Grant Administration: Overseeing the administration and financial management of the grant.
  • Compliance: Ensuring all research activities comply with NHMRC guidelines, ethical standards, and regulatory requirements.
  • Reporting: Submitting progress reports, financial reports, and final reports as required by the NHMRC.

 

A list of NHMRC Administering Institutions can be found on the NHMRC website.

Applications will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  1. Significance (40%): The extent to which the research will advance knowledge and improve health outcomes.
  2. Research Quality (40%): The quality and feasibility of the proposed research.
  3. Team Quality and Capability (20%): The expertise and experience of the research team.

 

You should read and understand the guidelines.

You need to ensure you are eligible for the funding. Applicants that do not meet all the eligibility criteria outlined above will not be considered.

Successful applicants will demonstrate:

  • an evidence-based rationale for a project that will address important gaps in knowledge and improve health outcomes, practice or policy
  • a sound and feasible project design and methodology, including recruitment strategy, risk management and appropriate milestones and performance indicators
  • meaningful consumer involvement and diversity considerations
  • a budget appropriate to the scope and scale of the trial/study
  • a CI team with the capacity, capability and experience to deliver the project in full within the agreed timeframe

 

  • Grant Proposal: Detailed description of the research project.
  • Attachments: Supporting documentation as specified in the guidelines.
  • Consumer and Community Involvement: Outline the involvement of consumers in the research process.

 

Register and activate a Sapphire account at least 72 hours before the application deadline. Ensure all minimum data fields are completed by the deadline. Complete the application form, attach all required documents, and submit through Sapphire by the closing date.

Register your interest with GrantHelper to explore your alignment with this grant and how we can assist you to increase your chances of success.

CTCS resources

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