Grants

14 Jun 2021 - 12 Jul 2021

The Transition Award (TA) aims to provide salary & mentored funding support for budding, young clinician scientists who have just completed their formal research training, to build up their capability in research. The award aims to help the them to transit to a stable independent research position or other independent research funding.

The long-term goal of the award is to increase the cohort of new and talented, NMRC-supported independent CSs in the three CS tracks: Translational & Clinical Research (TCR), Health Promotion, Preventive Health, Population Health and Health Services Research (HPHSR) 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  

  • The award includes up to $300k grant support, with 30% indirect costs and 0.5 FTE to 0.7 FTE salary support for protected time in research over 4 years.
  • 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.
  • Salary support will be funded based on the actual time in research between 0.5 FTE to 0.7 FTE for up to 4 years. 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
  2. Applicants must have received in-depth scientific training through 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.
  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.ii
  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. Applicants should not have been an independent PI on national/international research grants. Recipients of institutional grants or NIG grants are eligible to apply. Applicants who have previously held one national grant (e.g. EDG or IRG), can apply on exceptions basis with justifications.ii
  8. For clinicians (with MBBS/MD/BDS), the number of years after exiting from specialist training should not exceed 8 years. For health science / healthcare professionals with non-medical degrees and applicants applying on exception basis, the number of years post PhD (or post basic degrees for those without PhD) should not exceed 8 years.
  9. Applicant must hold 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;iii
  10. Applicant must be a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident at the point of application.
  11. All research must be conducted in Singapore at a public research institute, hospital/centre or medical school.
  12. Applicant should not have outstanding reports from NMRC grants and other national grants.
  13. 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.
  14. Applicant is only allowed up to 2 resubmissions following an unsuccessful first submission.

Notes :

  1. 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. 
  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. 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.
  4. The grant application must be submitted through the PHI/AMC/medical school as the host institution.

D) Review Procedures

The applications will be evaluated through a one-stage review process (including rebuttal) by a local selection panel.

The assessment criteria will be broadly as follows:

  • Track Record and suitability of the applicant to be an independent investigator/CS will be of the highest priority
  • Quality of proposed research
  • Feasibility of study in local context
  • Productivity
  • Overall Impact in local context
  • Mentorship training plan, suitability and track record of mentor

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 with the endorsement from the Host Institution's Research Director to be submitted to NMRC via IGMS by 12 July 2021, 5pm (Singapore Time). 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 TA 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.