Grants

14 Jun 2021 - 12 Jul 2021

The STaR Investigator Award is a prestigious award offered by the Singapore Ministry of Health’s National Medical Research Council (NMRC) to recognise and support internationally renowned and outstanding investigators in Translational and Clinical Research (TCR), Health Promotion, Preventive Health, Population Health and Health Services Research (HPHSR), and/or Health Technology.

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

  • For first STaR award, the total award quantum is S$6M over 5 years, inclusive of the PI’s salary support up to S$600k per annum, and direct costs and 30% indirect costs which will be adjusted accordingly.
  • For STaR award renewal, the total award quantum over 5 years is S$4M, inclusive of the PI’s salary support up to S$600k per annum, and direct costs and 30% indirect costs which will be adjusted accordingly. For renewals, institutions are encouraged to co-fund (in cash only). Applications with co-funding from the institutions would be considered favourably during the 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

  1. Applicants should have a strong track record of scientific achievement, conduct cutting edge translational and clinical research (TCR) or research in Health Promotion, Preventive Health, Population Health, Health Services Research (HPHSR) or Health Technology, and produce outstanding research output with clinical and health impact.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. All applicants must be doing research in clinical settings or doing research with clinical and healthcare applications/relevance.
  6. Applicants with non-medical degrees conducting laboratory-based research are not eligible.
  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 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).
  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 international peer 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 outcomes in the respective areas
  • 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 Research Director via IGMS by 12 July 2021, 5pm. Late/incomplete submission or submissions from individual applicants without Director of Research’s (DOR) endorsement on the IGMS will not be entertained. 

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

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

F) Review Panel

The composition of the STaR 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.