16 Nov 2020 - 16 Dec 2020

The STaR Investigator Award is a prestigious award offered by the Singapore Ministry of Health’s National Medical Research Council (NMRC) to attract and nurture established world-class clinician investigators to undertake cutting edge translational and clinical research (TCR) in Singapore. STaR Investigators will be funded to start new biomedical research programmes in Singapore. 

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

B) Key Features of Award

  • First Award: Total award quantum of $8mil over 5 years, inclusive of up to $5mil direct cost with 20% overhead costs and $2mil salary support (capped at $400k per year). Applicants may adjust the salary support up to $3mil (capped at $600k per year), where the direct costs and 20% indirect costs will be revised accordingly. 

  • Award Renewal: The total award quantum over 5 years is $5mil for the first renewal and $3mil for subsequent renewals.  Applicants may adjust the salary support up to $3mil (capped at $600k per year), where the direct costs and 20% indirect costs will be revised accordingly. Institutions are encouraged to co-fund (in cash only). Applications with co-funding from the institutions would be considered favourably during review.

  • Applicant must declare the required budget breakdown at the point of application. Once the award is approved, variation requests are subjected to NMRC’s terms and conditions and relevant policy documents.

C) Eligibility Criteria

  • 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)1,2.

  • Applicants should have a strong track record of scientific achievement, conduct cutting edge translational and clinical research and produce outstanding research output with clinical and health impact. 

  • Applicants who are PhD holders working in human clinical research (including PhDs in areas such as biostatistics, epidemiology, behavioural science, nursing, pharmacy, psychology, and allied health) and whose research is clinically relevant and has potential health impact, will be considered an exceptional and case-by-case basis3.

  • Non-medically trained PhD applicants conducting laboratory based research are not eligible.

  • 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 and be salaried by the institution;
    2. A regular-rank faculty/academic appointment in one of the academic medical centres (AMC) or medical school within 3 months of award conveyance.
  • Agree to fulfil at least 9 months of residency in Singapore for each calendar year over the duration of the grant award (Host Institution must provide a letter, to commit that the STaR applicant will spend at least 75% of their time in Singapore upon award);

  • Applicant must generally not be beyond retirement age at the point of first award1.

  • Conduct the research in Singapore at a public research institute, hospital/centre or medical school.


1. Existing holders of NMRC Human Capital Awards (i.e., TA, CSA and STaR) are exempted.

2. Clinicians with recognised specialty training are

  1. Clinicians who have full, conditional or temporary registration with SMC as specialist; or
  2. Clinicians who have SMC recognised postgraduate qualifications as provided in the MOH website, which includes registration with specialist boards or specialist colleges (e.g., American Board of Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians), but not necessarily registered in SMC’s Register of Specialists.
  3. 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. 

D) Review Procedures

The applications will be evaluated through a two-stage review process comprising an international peer review stage followed by a local selection panel. The review process will take about 5-6 months after the application closes. Applicants may be invited for an interview by the panel.

E) Submission Deadline

It is mandatory for all applications to be submitted and endorsed by the Host Institution’s Director of Research (DOR) and Academic Institution’s Dean through the IGMS by 16 December 2020, 5pm. 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, please contact us at