Grants

01 Jul 2022 - 01 Aug 2022

About

PHRG New Investigator Grant (PHRG-NIG) is a sub-category of the PHRG to cater for new investigators. The PHRG-NIG is a step for the new investigator towards winning a first independent national level grant. Applicants with substantial research experience will not be accepted under this category.

Research Themes

To allow space for researchers to identify emerging areas of need and discover novel ideas that may contribute significantly to health outcomes in the medium- to long-term, the PHRG-NIG welcomes applications on all research topics as long as the scope is within the Research Areas designated for the overall PHRG (i.e. Health Promotion and Preventive Health, and Health Services Research). However, we would also like to share information on the following Research Themes that have been prioritised by MOH. If your proposed research is aligned with one or more of these themes, it would be helpful to articulate this in your proposal write-up. More information on the specific questions under each Theme can be found in the Theme Brief document that can be found within the Guide and Application Form zipped file downloadable at the bottom of this page:

  1. Mental Health

    As the demands of modern life have increased, particularly in the face of an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the issue of mental health is on the forefront. This theme will fund research catering to the spectrum of patients with mental health conditions, from children and adolescents in schools, to working adults, to elderly patients. Particular attention will be given to research that improves access to mental healthcare in the community and supports the integration of primary and specialist mental healthcare.

  2. Care for Mothers and Children

    This theme spans the continuum of care from pre-conception, pregnancy and childbirth to infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and research should address metabolic health, mental health and cognitive development of children and their mothers.

  3. Population mobilisation and improved access in the “War on Diabetes” and other common chronic diseases

    Since declaring a “War on Diabetes” in 2016 to rally the entire nation to tackle diabetes, a range of initiatives and programmes have been implemented as part of the strategy to beat diabetes. While headway has been made in early detection and intervention, more upstream challenges remain to be addressed, including patient education and awareness of disease course, patient ownership of disease management, and socioeconomic barriers to good diabetes control. Besides diabetes, the burden of other chronic diseases will also continue to rise as our population ages. To address these issues, proposals for research submitted under this theme can cover new models of care, strategies, and research pertaining to patient behaviour and education, as well as to create change and societal shifts in enabling access to healthcare for patients with diabetes or other common chronic diseases.

  4. Effective Use of Technology to Improve Health

    What started out as an alternative for patients who prefer a tele-consult in the comfort of their own homes has become increasingly relevant in a post-pandemic world. The use of apps to monitor health and fitness have also become increasingly popular. However, recent incidences of data breaches have also highlighted the need for enhanced cyber-security. This theme will fund research that seeks to identify and create innovative models of care in the areas of telehealth and telemedicine, including for health promotion and preventive health, systems integration and databases, and privacy protection and data security.

  5. Prevention and Preparedness for Healthy Ageing

    This theme seeks to fund research into ideas that can extend healthy and functional lifespan and reduce the impact of disability, with a view for translation or application of solutions that can have a positive impact on our seniors.

  6. Care for Complex Patients

    With the increasing chronic disease burden, patients with multiple morbidities have become the norm and often have poor clinical outcomes. They often require care across multiple care sites (e.g. SOCs, home-based care), and face significant challenges navigating the healthcare system. Research submitted under this theme should address the needs of this patient population, including healthcare access, self-management, and care coordination. This theme will also support research targeted towards allied health and multi-disciplinary team-based care pertaining to the delivery of integrated care, including both medical and non-medical professionals. Strategies that have a community-based focus will be prioritised.

  7. Sustainable and Efficient Care Delivery

    This theme addresses the need to improve the sustainability and efficiency of our healthcare delivery system through improving resourcing and allocation, and approaches such as Value-Based Care. This theme will support research that seeks to optimize resource allocation, improve healthcare manpower productivity, and increase the efficiency of healthcare delivery without compromising quality.

  8. Palliative Care

    As our population ages, palliative care will become increasingly important as we seek to enable patients to live out their final days in a dignified manner. Over the years, Singapore has been enhancing the quality, affordability and accessibility of palliative care services. We have a variety of palliative care options such as the inpatient hospice palliative care, home palliative care and day hospices to cater for different needs and preferences of treatment and places of death. However, with evolving palliative (and end-of-life (EOL)) care models, in addition to challenges such as the current COVID-19 pandemic significantly altering traditional views on care delivery, we are keen on exploring how we can adopt and/or adapt existing palliative care models to offer more holistic, person-centric and cost-efficient options.

  9. Traditional and Complementary Medicine (T&CM)

    As a multi-racial, multi-cultural society, Singapore remains home to individuals of different ethnicities and religions. This diversity plays out in health seeking behaviours as well, with the presence of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), traditional Malay medicine (TMM), and traditional Indian medicine (TIM), although only TCM practitioners are statutorily regulated. This theme will fund research that seeks to understand the prevalence, attitudes and health seeking behaviour of our population with regard to T&CM, with a focus on how Western medicine and T&CM can be used safely together.

  10. Health Systems Research
    Besides improving various care models serving different groups of patients, research at a health systems-level could potentially yield important insights into system-level interventions or policies that may impact health on a wider or deeper scale. 

Evaluation Criteria

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

  • High quality scientific research
  • Proposed research topic should be population health research of importance to the health system in Singapore. Provided they are scientifically meritorious, proposals which address the set themes would be given priority consideration.
  • Demonstrate the potential to further the investigators’ career to become a full-fledged independent PI

Eligibility

Each PHRG-NIG application must be led by a Principal Investigator (PI) who has to fulfill the eligibility criteria listed below:

  • PI must have a PhD and/or MBBS/BDS/PharmD/MD and/or other appropriate Postgraduate Qualification (at least a Master’s Degree) in areas relevant to the proposed research. 
  • For proposals involving patients, the clinical PI or co-I should be SMC registered; or should be able to demonstrate ability to access patients through SMC registered collaborators. For some PHRG-NIG proposals it is recognized that some studies may be pre-clinical and not require the PI to be SMC registered.
  • Only one PI is allowed per application. The number of applications by an individual (as PI) is capped at 1 grant application per grant type in a grant call.

NIG-specific Criteria

(i) Awardees of the following grants as PI/Co-PI* at the point of application will not be eligible for the NIG: A*STAR Investigatorship, NRF Fellowship, NMRC CSA and STaR, MOE Tier 2 and 3 grants, MOH/NMRC IRG-equivalent grants^.

*Co-PIs refer to PIs whose projects are jointly led by other PIs (e.g. projects under NMRC’s Bedside & Bench grant). They are not the same as, and should not be confused with Co-Investigators (Co-Is).
^NIC Ageing Grants (with the exception of Health and Longevity Catalyst Awards) are considered IRG-equivalent grants.

(ii) Applicants must not have received external competitive funding exceeding $500,000 (direct costs only), to conduct their own research project as the PI.

Applicants who are applying as new investigators have 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 NIG is intended to fund a new investigator’s independent project, and not to provide additional funding for the mentor's project (or clinical trial). 

Additional eligibility criteria include:

(a)  Hold a primary appointment in a local public hospital/public health institutions/national specialty centre/public universities/Academic Medical Centres and salaried by the institution.

(b)  Have access to a laboratory or clinical research program that carries out research in Singapore.

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

(d) No outstanding reports from previous BMRC, NMRC grants and other national grants.

Funding Quantum:

The PHRG-NIG will provide a funding quantum of up to S$130,000 per project (inclusive of up to 30% indirect costs^) for 2 years. Projects involving prospective patient/subject recruitment may apply for a funding duration of up to 3 years, subject to the same funding quantum.

^IRC not applicable for budget under Research Scholarship vote

Grant Call Frequency

There will be two grant calls per year (Jan and Jul).

Submission

It is mandatory for all applications to be submitted and endorsed by Director of Research (DOR) online via IGMS by 1 August 2022, 5pm. We will not entertain any late submissions or submissions from individual applicants without endorsement from the Host Institution.

Please download the Guide and Application Form (for reference) for more information.