Grants

14 Jun 2021 - 12 Jul 2021

The HPHSR Clinician Scientist Award (HCSA) aims to provide salary & funding support for selected outstanding clinician scientists, to undertake research in the areas of Health Promotion, Preventive Health, Population Health and Health Services Research (HPHSR), bringing about significant and sustainable impact to health outcomes of the nation.

A) Areas of Research

This programme is open to applications on all research areas. Applicants focusing on translation of research and innovations into healthcare in the following strategic areas (covering both expertise in technology as well as use case areas) will be prioritised: 

  • Medical Technology (MedTech), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Science and Digital Health
  • Epidemiology, Population Health and Implementation Science
  • Precision Medicine
  • Healthy and Productive Longevity
  • Family Medicine and Primary Care

Applicants are encouraged to collaborate with AI, Data Science and/or Technology talent where possible, and the necessary budget to engage them can be incorporated into the grant applications where needed/applicable.

B) Key Features of Award

  • The HPHSR Clinician Scientist Award (HCSA) has two levels of award:
    • Investigator (INV) Category: This is for a clinician scientist with good track records of research work and demonstrated potential to become leaders in this field. The applicant is required to nominate a mentor at the point of application. The award includes up to $500k grant support, with 30% indirect costs and between 0.5 FTE to 0.7 FTE salary support for protected time in research over 3 years. The award is renewable once under this category.

    • Senior Investigator (SI) Category: This is for a senior clinician scientist who has demonstrated sustained, high levels of productivity and leadership in this field, and are expected to mentor junior clinician scientists. The award includes up to $1.3M grant support, with 30% indirect costs and between 0.5 FTE to 0.7 FTE salary support for protected time in research over 5 years. There is no limit to the number of renewals for this category.
  • Salary support will be funded based on the actual time in research between 0.5 FTE to 0.7 FTE for up to three years for INV and five years for SI (i.e. award will be adjusted proportionately). The annual salary cap (including fringe benefits and related allowances) is computed according to clinical grade (Table 1). The Institution will need to top up the difference if the salary exceeds the amount supported by NMRC.
  • Should there be a change in the awardee’s clinical grade, Host Institution should write to NMRC for approval for changes to the salary support in a timely manner. The request must be submitted along with an official HR letter indicating the awardee’s new position and the effective date. After NMRC’s approval, the revision of the award cap will apply from the month when the request was received or the effective month of new clinical grade, whichever is appropriate.
  • Applicant is required to indicate the salary support required upfront with institution support and subsequent changes may not be entertained.  Institutions will also need to provide annual report to NMRC on awardees’ time spent on research (e.g., using time sheet). 

Table 1: NMRC’s Annual Salary Cap by Clinician’s Clinical Grade

Clinician’s Clinical Grade

Annual salary cap for 1 FTE

Senior Consultant

S$300,000

Consultant

S$200,000

Associate Consultant

S$150,000

Registrar

S$120,000

Note: Full-time-equivalent (FTE) - For a 5-day work-week, 1 FTE is typically 40 hours and 0.1 FTE is 4hrs.

C) Eligibility Criteria

  1. Applicants should hold a clinical qualification (e.g. MBBS, MD, BDS or equivalent), with specialty training beyond medical or dental school (including specialists, family physicians and public health practitioners).i,ii
  2. Applicants who are health science / healthcare professionals with non-medical degrees, such as nurses, pharmacists and other allied health professions listed on MOH’s website in clinical practice, possess PhD or equivalent qualifications are eligible to apply. Those without PhD or equivalent qualifications but possess relevant research track record can be considered for award on case-by-case basis.
  3. Applicants working in human clinical research, including epidemiologists and biostatisticians, and whose research is clinically relevant and has potential health impact, will be considered as exceptions on a case-by-case basis.iii
  4. All applicants must be doing research in clinical settings or doing research with clinical and healthcare applications/relevance.
  5. Applicants with non-medical degrees conducting laboratory-based research are not eligible.
  6. Applicants must have been an independent PI on at least one national or international peer-reviewed research grant, equivalent to an Health Services Research Grant (HSRG)-level grant.
  7. Applicant must hold the following appointments:
    1. A primary appointment in a local public hospital/public health institutions/national specialty centre/public university/Academic Medical Centre (AMC) and be salaried by the institution;iv and
    2. A regular-rank faculty/academic appointment in one of the AMCs or medical schools within 3 months of award conveyance.v
  8. Applicant must be a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident at the point of application.
  9. Applicant must generally not be beyond the retirement age at the point of first award.i
  10. All research must be conducted in Singapore at a public research institute, hospital/centre or medical school.
  11. Applicant should not have outstanding reports from NMRC grants and other national grants.
  12. Applicant may only submit one application to the human capital/talent awards (i.e. STaR, CSA, HCSA, CIA and TA) for each round of grant call.
  13. Applicant is only allowed up to 2 resubmissions following an unsuccessful first submission.
Notes:
  1. Recipients of NMRC Human Capital Awards (i.e., STaR, CSA, HCSA, CIA/CIDA) and Transition Award are exempted.
  2. Clinicians with recognised specialty training are:
    1. Clinicians who are accredited by the MOH Specialists Accreditation Board (SAB), Dental Specialists Accreditation Board (DSAB) and Family Physicians Accreditation Board (FPAB).
    2. Clinicians who do not fulfil the above but are able to demonstrate completion of specialist training in countries which do not have specialist boards/colleges and are holding consultant positions as a specialist may be considered on a case-by-case basis. 
  3. Applicants who are submitting on an exception basis are to submit their CV (with track records including publication records and grants held as PIs/Co-PIs in the past 5 years) to the Secretariat to determine their eligibility prior to submitting a full proposal.
  4. A*STAR CS scholar from the National Science Scholarship (NSS) (MBBS-PhD) or NSS (MD-PhD) schemes and fulfil the following may apply:
    1. hold a primary appointment in a public health institution (PHI), Academic Medical Centre (AMC), or medical school; or
    2. hold a primary appointment in A*STAR and a joint appointment in the PHI/AMC/medical school, and the grant application is supported by the PHI/AMC/medical school. The PHI/AMC/medical school is to consider if the applicant is able to demonstrate that he/she can act as a bridge between A*STAR and the healthcare system.

    The grant application must be submitted through the PHI/AMC/medical school as the host institution.

  5. An applicant without regular-rank faculty/academic appointment pledged by the AMC/medical school can be considered, if there is a support letter from the institution CEO/MD, and co-signed by the cluster GD Research or equivalent authority. The letter should highlight the existing framework and governance within the PHI that allow sustained research career and opportunities available to the applicant, as well as the availability of a conducive and facilitation structure where high quality research can be undertaken. In particular, the PHI could include specifications on the expected time commitment for research, teaching, mentoring and/or other services (e.g. overseeing research facilities, technical implementation/improvement) by the applicant, and how these areas would be evaluated as part of the applicant’s annual performance assessment. PHI could also comment on the applicant’s strategic fit to the institution in the long term and if there will be research funding and infrastructure available to support the applicant’s research career.

D) Review Procedures

The applications will be evaluated through a two-stage review process comprising an expert review stage followed by a collective review by a local selection panel.

The assessment criteria will be broadly as follows:

  • Track Record of PI will be the highest priority
  • Scientific excellence and potential to improved health outcomes and adoption into actual policy/practice
  • Feasibility of study in local context
  • Productivity
  • Overall Impact in local context

The review process will take about 5-6 months after the application closes. Applicants may be invited for an interview.

E) Submission Deadline

It is mandatory for all applications to be submitted and endorsed by the Host Institution’s Director of Research through the IGMS by 12 July 2021, 5pm (Singapore Time). Late or incomplete submissions from individual applicants will not be accepted.

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

For more information, you may contact us MOH_NMRC@moh.gov.sg

F) Review Panel

The composition of the HCSA Review Panel will be listed here at a later date.

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.