NHMRC recognises excellence in the health and medical research sector through its annual Research Excellence Awards and celebrates leadership and outstanding contributions to the sector through its biennial awards.

Research Excellence Awards

Research Excellence Awards are awarded annually to top-ranked researchers and teams following peer review of applications to NHMRC’s highly competitive grant schemes.

From 2020 NHMRC has realigned the Research Excellence Awards with the new grant program. The current awards are:

NHMRC Elizabeth Blackburn Investigator Grant Awards

These awards are named to honour the Australian Nobel Laureate Professor Elizabeth Blackburn AC FRS FAA FRSN, a molecular biologist who received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 jointly with Professor Jack Szostak and Professor Carol Greider for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase. The awards were established to promote and foster the career development of female researchers and are awarded annually to the highest ranked female applicant (Leadership category) in each of the Basic Science, Clinical Medicine and Science, Public Health and Health Services research areas of the Investigator Grants scheme for 2019. From 2020, the highest ranked female applicant in each of the Leadership levels (L1, L2 and L3) will be recognised.

NHMRC Peter Doherty Investigator Grant Awards  

These awards are named to honour the Australian Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty AC FRS FAA FMedSci, a researcher in the field of viral immunology. He received the Albert Lasker Award for basic medical research in 1995 and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with Rolf Zinkernagel in 1996 for their discoveries concerning the specificity of cell-mediated immune defence. Professor Doherty was named Australian of the Year in 1997. From 2019 the Peter Doherty Awards recognise the highest ranked application in the Emerging Leadership and Leadership categories of Investigator Grants. Prior to 2019, the Peter Doherty Biomedical Fellowship was awarded to the highest ranked recipient of the Australian-based Early Career Fellowships in the field of biomedical/basic science.

NHMRC Frank Fenner Investigator Grant Award

This award is named to honour the achievements of Professor Frank Fenner AC CMG MBE FRS FAA (1914-2010). Professor Fenner was a distinguished virologist who oversaw the global eradication of smallpox and the introduction of the Myxoma virus to control Australia’s rabbit plague. This award recognises the highest ranked applicant in the Emerging Leadership Level 1 Investigator Grant category within the Basic Science or Public Health research areas. The grant recipient’s research focus will be in an area of international public health and will best reflect the qualities exemplified in Professor Fenner’s career.

NHMRC Sandra Eades Investigator Grant Award

This award is named to honour Professor Sandra Eades FAHMS, who was the first Indigenous medical practitioner to be awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy (2003). Professor Eades is a Noongar woman from Mount Barker, Western Australia. Her research career has focussed on the epidemiology of Indigenous child health in Australia. Over the past 20 years, Professor Eades has made substantial contributions to Aboriginal health and has provided leadership at a national level in Aboriginal health research. This award is given to the top-ranked application by an Indigenous researcher in the Emerging Leadership category of Investigator Grants. 

NHMRC Bernie Banton Investigator Grant Award

This award is named to honour Australian social justice campaigner Bernard Douglas Banton AM (1946-2007). He was the widely recognised face of the legal and political campaign to achieve compensation for the many sufferers of asbestos-related conditions, which they contracted after either working for the company James Hardie or being exposed to James Hardie Industries’ products. It is awarded to the highest ranked applicant undertaking research in mesothelioma and asbestosis in the Emerging Leadership category of Investigator Grants.

NHMRC Fiona Stanley Synergy Grant Award

This award is named to honour Professor Fiona Stanley AC FAA, an epidemiologist known for her contributions in researching the causes of major childhood illnesses such as birth defects and her focus on Aboriginal child health and wellbeing. Professor Stanley was the founding Director and now Patron of the Telethon Kids Institute and was named Australian of the Year in 2003. This award recognises the top-ranked Synergy Grant.

NHMRC Gustav Nossal Postgraduate Scholarship Award

This award is named to honour Sir Gustav Nossal AC CBE FRS, and his pioneering work in the field of immunology. Sir Nossal is a distinguished research biologist who is noted for his contributions to the fields of antibody formation and immunological tolerance. This award is given to the highest ranked applicant for an NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship in the Clinical Medicine and Science research category.

NHMRC Marshall and Warren Ideas Grant Awards

These awards are named to honour Australian Nobel Laureates Professor Barry Marshall AC FRACP FRS FAA and Professor Robin Warren AC FAA, who were awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease. The Marshall and Warren Awards recognise the highest ranked Ideas Grant application and the most innovative and potentially transformative application to the Ideas Grant scheme. 

NHMRC Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Award

This award recognises the highest ranked application within the Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies grant scheme.

Outcomes

Previous awards include the following:

  1. NHMRC Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowships
  2. NHMRC Frank Fenner Early Career Fellowship award
  3. NHMRC Gustav Nossal award
  4. NHMRC Marshall and Warren award
  5. NHMRC Rising Star award
  6. Top-ranked Career Development Fellowships application in each of the areas of Biomedical, Clinical, Industry and Population Health research
  7. Top-ranked Development Grant application
  8. Top-ranked Program Grant application
  9. Top-ranked Project Grant application
  10. Top-ranked Practitioner Fellowship application
  11. Top-ranked Research Fellowship application

Biennial Awards

Consumer Engagement Award

The NHMRC Consumer Engagement Award recognises long-term contribution, individual commitment and support of consumers and community views in health and medical research.

Ethics Award

The NHMRC Ethics Award recognises outstanding Australians for their contributions to high ethical standards in health and medical research.

Outstanding Contribution Achievement Award

The NHMRC Outstanding Contribution Award recognises outstanding long-term contributions, individual commitment and support to NHMRC.

Science to Art Award

The NHMRC Science to Art Award recognises outstanding examples of the art that can arise from the research funded by NHMRC.