12 Oct 2020 - 27 Nov 2020
The National Research Foundation of the Republic of Singapore (“NRF”) and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China (“MOST”) signed an Implementation Agreement on Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation in 2019, with an aim to advance bilateral cooperation in technology areas of mutual interest, and building on the Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology established in 1992 between the Republic of Singapore and the People's Republic of China.

To implement the cooperation mechanisms described in the Implementation Agreement and to further advance existing cooperation, NRF and MOST have decided to support a joint grant call in the area of “vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for infectious diseases, including COVID-19”.

The National Medical Research Council of the Republic of Singapore (“NMRC”) will be the Implementing Agency for the joint grant call, on behalf of NRF. NMRC will oversee the management and implementation of the grant call, including post-award grant administration and management. Singapore applicants to the joint grant call are to adhere to NMRC’s instructions, guidelines as well as terms and conditions.

Application Process

The collaborating teams in Singapore and China would coordinate among themselves to develop a unified and coherent proposal for their collaboration. Proposal from Singapore Principal Investigator (PI) should be submitted to NMRC, while proposal from China PI should be submitted to MOST for separate review and evaluation. Only projects approved by both NMRC and MOST will receive funding.

There are 2 stages for the application:

(I) Pre-Application Stage
Both Singapore and China PIs will need to submit their pre-application forms to NMRC and MOST respectively. Please note that the forms for NMRC and MOST are different. Please download the Pre-Application Form (Singapore) here .

Please note that a ‘Cooperation or co-application agreement between the proposing organization and its foreign or overseas partners, letter of intent, or support letter’ is a compulsory document to be submitted together with the Pre-Application Form by the China PI to MOST, failing which the pre-application will not be considered for evaluation.

(II) Formal Application Stage (Full Proposal)
Only shortlisted pre-applications will be invited to submit formal applications.

Funding Quantum and Duration

Up to 4 projects will be supported under the joint grant call. Each project can be funded at up to S$500,000 (inclusive of 20% indirect costs) for up to 3 years for the Singapore component of the joint project.

Eligibility Criteria (for Singapore PI)

Only one Principal Investigator (PI) is allowed per application from the Singapore side. Applicants applying as Principal Investigator are required to fulfil the following criteria at the point of application:

a)      Holds a primary appointment in a local publicly funded institution and salaried by the institution.

b)      PIs should have PhD or MD/MBBS/BDS qualifications. (Exceptions would be made on a case-by-case basis).

c)       Is an independent PI with a demonstrated track record of research, as evidenced by the award of nationally competitive funding (international funding to be considered on a case by case basis), substantial publication record in the past 3 years, or PI status in research institutes.

d)      Has a laboratory or clinical research program that carries out research in Singapore

e)      Holds a minimum of 9 months employment (per calendar year) with local Singapore institution(s). Upon award, the PI must agree to fulfil at least 6 months of residency in Singapore for each calendar year over the duration of the grant award.

f)       Has no outstanding report from previous BMRC, NMRC grants, and other national grants.

g)      For proposals involving patients, the PI should be SMC registered; or should be able to demonstrate ability to access patients through SMC registered Co-Is or collaborators.

Evaluation Criteria

The proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Scientific excellence of proposed research
  2. Potential impact / Relevance to Singapore* (*for MOST, the criterion will need to be related to China)
  3. Project structure, management and budget
  4. Technical competencies and synergy between the partners
  5. Fit of the proposal to the grant call topic

Estimated Timeline

Launch of Joint Grant Call

12 Oct 20

Deadline for Pre-Application Submissions

27 Nov 20

Invitation for Formal Application Submission

Mar 21

Deadline for Formal Application Submission

Apr 21

Announcement of Awards

Sep 21


Submission Mode and Deadline

All Pre-Applications Form (Singapore) must be endorsed by Host Institution’s Director of Research or equivalent and sent through the Host Institution’s ORE to the NMRC Secretariat ( by 27 Nov 2020, 5pm. Late or incomplete submissions or submissions from individual applicants without endorsement from the Host Institution will not be entertained.

Formal Application (Full Proposal)
Only shortlisted applicants will be notified by email to submit the full proposal via IGMS. More details will be provided at that stage.