16 Nov 2020 - 16 Dec 2020

Transition Award provides mentored research funding support for aspiring Clinician Scientists who have just completed their formal research training, with the aim to help budding Clinician Scientists (CSs) transition to a stable, independent research position or research funding to build up their research capabilities. The long-term goal of the award is to increase the cohort of new and talented, NMRC-supported independent CSs.

The award is non-renewable as the award recipients are expected to apply for national-level independent research grant support after this career transition period. 

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

  • Funding quantum up to $375k grant support, with 20% indirect costs and salary support up to 3 years. There is flexibility to adjust the project duration up to 4 year, based on the funding quantum which will remain capped at 3 years. Applicants are required to declare the proposed project duration at the point of application. Once the award is approved, variation requests are subjected to NMRC’s terms and conditions and relevant policy documents. 

  • There are two categories to allow flexibility in time commitment. While it is recommended that these awardees commit up to 70% of their time in research to launch their research careers, it is recognised in special cases that 50-69% time commitment may be necessary to maintain clinical expertise. 

    1. For awardees who spend 70% and above time in research, 100% salary support will be provided; and

    2. For awardees who spend 50-69% time in research, salary support will correspond to the amount of time spent on research and will be provided with lower quantum of research grant support. The institution will need to support the remaining amount of salary.  

  • Table 1 indicates the full salary support (including fringe benefits and related allowances) which is capped by clinical grade for awardees who devote 70% or more time to research. For those devoting 50-69% time to research, the award will be adjusted proportionately with justification(s) required for the category chosen at the point of application.  The Institution will need to top up the difference if the salary exceeds NMRC’s Annual Salary Cap. Should there be a change in the awardee’s clinical grade, Host Institution should write timely to NMRC for approval for changes to the salary support. 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 will need to select the category 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

Senior Consultant




Associate Consultant





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.
  • Applicants must have received in-depth scientific training such as obtained in a PhD programme, Masters programme, or at least 2 years post-doctoral intensive research experience, in relevant local or overseas universities, research institutes, centres etc.
  • 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 exception on a case-by-case basis2.
  • Non-medically trained PhD applicants conducting laboratory based research are not eligible.
  • Applicants should not have been an independent PI on national/international research grants3.
  • For clinicians4 (with MBBS/MD/BDS), the maximum number of years after exiting from specialist training should not exceed 10 years; For PhD holders who wished to apply on an exception basis, the maximum number of years of postdoctoral experience is 10 years post PhD.
  • 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; and
    2. A regular-rank faculty/academic appointment in one of the academic medical centres (AMC) or medical school within 3 months of award conveyance.
  • Applicant must be a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident at the point of application.
  • All research must be conducted in Singapore at a public research institute, hospital/centre or medical school.

Notes :

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Recipients of institutional grants or NIG grants are eligible to apply. Applicants who have previously held one national grant (equivalent to Exploratory Developmental Grant (EDG) or Individual Research Grant (IRG) level), can apply on exceptions basis with justifications.

4. Clinicians who exited for more than 10 years and hold a PhD degree may write in for consideration on an exception basis. 

D) Review Procedures

The applications will be evaluated through a one-stage review process 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) Application and Closing Date

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.

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