02 Jan 2024 - 31 Jan 2024

The Open Fund - Young Individual Research Grant (OF-YIRG) is a sub-category of OF-IRG and a step for the new investigator to a first independent national level grant. Applicants with substantial research experience will not be accepted under this sub-category. The OF-YIRG is provided to support the conduct of research proposals in basic, translational and clinical research that are relevant to human health and potential, including research that looks at the causes, consequences, diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.

Research Themes

OF-YIRG is open to applications in all research areas. Applications are assessed based on scientific merit at the international level and relevance to Singapore, but should prioritisation be required between meritorious applications, the following seven disease areas have been identified as national priorities for research:

  1. Cancers and neoplasms
  2. Cardiovascular
  3. Eye
  4. Infection
  5. Mental health
  6. Metabolic and endocrine
  7. Neurological

Evaluation Criteria

Selection of successful proposals would be based on the following evaluation criteria:

  1. Quality of the science
  2. Capability of the research performers to conduct the research
  3. Objectives of the research programme in context of HHP goals*

The HHP Domain’s vision for RIE2025 is to be a leading hub that transforms and protects health, advances human potential and creates economic value through excellence in research and its application for Singapore, Asia and the world.

Eligibility Criteria

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

  1. Holds a primary appointment in a local publicly funded institution and salaried by the institution from time of award.
  2. PIs should have PhD or MD/MBBS/BDS qualifications. (Exceptions would be made on a case-by-case basis).
  3. Has a laboratory or clinical research program that carries out research in Singapore
  4. 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.
  5. Has no outstanding report from previous BMRC, NMRC grants, and other national grants
  6. 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.

Additional Eligibility Criteria for Young IRG:

  1. Applicants who are applying for the Young IRGs are strongly encouraged to work with a mentor for guidance in their research. This mentoring will provide support for a period of supervised research leading eventually to the investigators conducting larger scale research projects independently. Please note that the OFYIRG is intended to fund a new investigator’s independent project, and not to provide additional funding for the supervisor’s and/or mentor's project.
  2. Applicants must have completed their PhD or MBBS/MD/BDS within the past 7 years and past 10 years respectively (whichever date is later).
    • Exceptions would be considered on a case-by-case basis to grant a one-year extension to the 7-year post-PhD and 10-year post-MBBS cap eligibility criterion for applicants who declared that their productivity have been affected by COVID-19
    • PIs are required to submit DOR-endorsed request with justifications through the HI ORE at least 3 weeks before grant call closing deadline for NMRC’s assessment on eligibility.
  3. Applicants must not have received external competitive funding exceeding $500,000 (direct costs only) within the last 5 years to conduct their own research project as the PI.
  4. Awardees of the following grants will not be eligible for YIRG:
    - A*STAR Investigatorship
    - NRF Fellowship
    - MOE Tier 2 and 3 grants
    - MOH/NMRC IRG-equivalent grants
  5. Applicants must indicate how the proposed area of work would be distinct from their current supervisor’s existing research.The applicant’s current supervisor should not be a co-investigator on the proposal.
  6. Upon the award of the YIRG, the Office of Research will be required to provide written confirmation from either the applicant’s Head of Institution or supervisor to describe the steps the institution will take to demonstrate its commitment to his/her career development. This must include provision of appropriate space to carry out the work proposed, but may also include investment in the equipment necessary to establish the laboratory, access to shared institutional resource, provision of mentorship and career development support etc.

Grant Call Frequency

There will be two grant calls per year (January and July).

Funding Quantum

The OF-YIRG will provide a funding quantum of up to $325,000 (inclusive of up to 30% indirect costs^) and up to 3 years.

^Indirect costs is not applicable for research scholarship budget

Submission Mode and Deadline

It is mandatory for all applications to be submitted and endorsed by the Host Institution’s Director of Research (DOR) online via IGMS by 31 Jan 2024, 5pm. We will not entertain any late submissions or submissions from individual applicants without HI DOR endorsement.

Please download the OF-YIRG Application Guide for more information.

Review Panel

The composition of the OF-YIRG Local Review Panel (2023-2024) is listed in the table below.

S/N Name Institution
1 Prof Lisa NG (Co-Chair) Executive Director, A*STAR Infectious Diseases Labs; Executive Director, Biomedical Research Council, A*STAR
2 Prof Patrick TAN (Co-Chair) Senior Vice Dean for Research, Duke-NUS
3  A/Prof DENG Lih Wen Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore
4 Asst/Prof FOO Jia Nee
Nanyang Assistant Professor (NRF), Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University
5 Prof Giorgio SESTI Full Professor of Internal Medicine, Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome;
Director of the Post-Graduate Course of Internal Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome;
Chief of Internal Medicine Unit, University Hospital Sant’Andrea, Sapienza University of Rome
6 A/Prof Helen ZHOU Associate Professor, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore
7 A/Prof HENG Chew Kiat
Associate Research Professor, Department of Paediatrics, National University of Singapore
8 A/Prof HSU Li Yang Associate Professor and Vice Dean (Global Health), Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore (NUS);
Associate Director, Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE), NUS
9 Prof HUI Kam Man Deputy Group Director (Translational Research) at SingHealth;
Professor, Cellular and Molecular Research Division, National Cancer Centre, Singapore;
Joint Research Director, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A*STAR, Singapore
10 Prof Ian BARR Deputy Director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, Melbourne;
Professor (Honorary), Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry, and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne
11 Dr Janos KANCZLER Scientist at University of Southampton, UK
12 Emeritus Prof Jeremy PEARSON Emeritus Professor of Vascular Biology, King’s College London; Research Impact Archivist, British Heart Foundation
13 A/Prof Joanne NGEOW Head, Cancer Genetics Service and Senior Consultant, Division of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Centre Singapore;
Associate Professor, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University
14 Prof Michael WELLER
Chairman, Department of Neurology, University Hospital and University of Zurich
15 A/Prof NA Jie Principal Investigator and Associate Professor, Center for Stem Cell Biology, School of Medicine, Tsinghua University
16 Prof Riccardo DOLCETTI Head, Clinical and Translational Immunotherapy, Sir Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre/ Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre/ University of Melbourne Honorary Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane
17 Prof Subhash VASUDEVAN Professor, Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School
18 Asst/Prof TEE Wee Wei Principal Investigator at A*STAR-Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore;
Assistant Professor, National University of Singapore, Department of Physiology
19 Prof Weidong LE
Professor and Vice Dean, Medical School and Director of Neurology Institute, Sichuan Academy of Medical Sciences-Sichuan Provincial Hospital;
Professor and Director of Center for Translational Research of Neurology Disease, and Vice President of 1st Affiliated Hospital, Dalian Medical University, China
20 Prof ZHANG Shuyang President, Peking Union Medical College Hospital; Vice President, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College;
Director of the State Key Laboratory of Complex, Severe and Rare Diseases

Applicants are not allowed to approach any of the panel members to discuss or solicit information related to their application review or funding decisions. NMRC may impose a suspension and/or debarment on such applicants.