2020 COVID-19 Immunological Studies Grant

What is the 2020 COVID-19 Immunological Studies Grant?

The 2020 COVID-19 Immunological Studies Grant Opportunity is an initiative to support research that characterises the immune response across COVID-19 patients with asymptomatic, mild, moderate, severe, and critical disease.



In March 2020 the Australian Government has committed $2.4 billion to a Coronavirus (COVID-19) National Health Plan to support our health system to manage the outbreak of novel coronavirus in Australia. The package provides support across primary care, aged care, hospitals and research, and includes $30 million over two years from the MRFF for a Coronavirus Research Response comprising vaccine, antiviral and respiratory medicine research. These research priorities are in line with the priorities agreed at the February 2020 Coronavirus Research Roundtable.

The Australian Government has continued to monitor the evolving local outbreak and invest in additional research to improve health and health system outcomes, beyond its initial commitment. The funding for this grant opportunity extends the Coronavirus Research Response to provide
supplementary support to address the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Coronavirus Research Response will enable Australian researchers to drive innovation and contribute to global efforts to control the COVID-19 outbreak. This measure will use the considerable expertise of Australia’s world-class health and medical researchers, which is critical for ensuring
preparedness and the safety of all Australians and the global community.



The objective of the 2020 COVID-19 Immunological Studies Grant Opportunity is to characterise the immune response across COVID-19 patients with asymptomatic, mild, moderate, severe, and critical disease.

Studying the natural infection and the level of immunity across these patient groups will support:

  • understanding how the SARS-CoV-2 virus is transmitted by asymptomatic individuals
  • the development of predictive markers of patient infectivity and to define disease severity
  • understanding the immunological correlates of protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection
  • understanding how genetic variation between SARS-CoV-2 isolates (as the virus mutates) affects the immune response of different patient groups.

The research should consider population dynamics in Australia and vulnerable population groups such as the elderly, pregnant women and those with complex and/or chronic health conditions.

The intended outcome of this research is knowledge and evidence that will inform the national health response to COVID-19 and support clinical practice, including:

  • targeting interventions such as self-isolation
  • prioritisation of vaccines and / or treatments for high-risk individuals and vulnerable populations.


Top tips to get the grant

These are the things you will need to focus on in order to get this grant.

  • Impact –  Detailing how the immune response across COVID-19 patients with asymptomatic, mild, moderate, severe and critical disease to address gaps in research and/or knowledge.
  • Justification – How the potential impact on health outcomes have been justified
  • Literature review – what research have you done to date?
  • Gaps –  What is the current gap in knowledge that is being addressed in this grant application?



For the 2020 COVID-19 Immunological Studies Grant Opportunity, up to $2 million of funding is available in 2020-21 through the MRFF. The maximum amount available for a single grant is $1 million.


Eligible Projects

To be eligible, activities in your Grant Proposal must clearly demonstrate their criticality in meeting objectives of the 2020 COVID-19 Immunological Studies Grant Opportunity under Section 1.3. You can only spend grant funds to pursue the research activities described in your Grant Proposal. You can use the grant to pay costs that arise directly from these activities. The following categories must be used in your proposed budget:

  • Equipment
  • Personnel (Personnel Support Packages)
  • Other Direct Research Costs (DRCs).


Eligible Applicants

To be eligible for the 2020 COVID-19 Immunological Studies Grant Opportunity, you must:

  • be an NHMRC approved Administering Institution
  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • be incorporated in Australia

and in accordance with s20 and s24 of the Medical Research Future Fund Act 20153, be one of the following entities:

  • a medical research institute
  • a university
  • a corporate Commonwealth entity
  • a corporation (including businesses and not for profits)
  • a state or territory government, or
  • a state or territory government entity

Joint applications are encouraged, provided you have a lead organisation who is the main driver of the project and is eligible to apply.



Applications close 23 July 2020.


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