Centres of Research Excellence

What is Centres of Research Excellence?

The Centres of Research Excellence (CRE) grant program supports research which aims to improve health outcomes and promote or improve translation of research outcomes into policy and/or practice. The CRE grant program will also support researchers in capacity building activities, including in specific areas of need identified by NHMRC.

NHMRC is the Australian Government’s key entity for managing investment in, and integrity of, health and medical research. The CRE grant program is a component of the Portfolio Budget Statement Program 1.1: Health and Medical Research, which contributes to Outcome 1: Improved health and medical knowledge. NHMRC works with stakeholders to plan and design the grant program according to the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992 (NHMRC Act) and the CGRGs.

NHMRC awards grants through several research funding programs to advance health and medical knowledge and to improve the health status of all Australians. NHMRC invests in the highest quality research and researchers, as determined through peer review, across the four pillars of health and medical research: biomedical, clinical, public health and health services research.



The specific objectives of the Centres of Research Excellence grant program are to:

  • support the conduct and development of innovative, high quality, collaborative research
  • promote effective translation of research into health policy and/or practice
  • foster and build capacity in the health and medical research workforce
  • provide opportunities to expand and improve collaborations between research teams.

Centres of Research Excellence will provide support for teams of researchers to pursue collaborative research and develop capacity in clinical, population health and health services research.



The provisional funding allocation for the CRE 2020 grant opportunity is estimated to be up to $35 million. NHMRC’s Research Committee annually reviews and recommends indicative budget amounts to be awarded across individual funding schemes.

Subject to the receipt of competitive applications, the number of CRE grants to receive funding will be:

  • up to six CREs in Clinical Research
  • up to four CREs in Health Services Research
  • up to four CREs in Public Health Research.

A CRE 2020 grant opportunity provides a fixed budget of $2.5 million per grant, paid evenly over the grant period.


Eligible Projects

CREs will provide support for teams of researchers to pursue collaborative research and develop capacity in clinical research, health services research and public health research.

CRE grants are not normally intended to provide salary support for CIs. However, if salaries are sought for CIs, the costs must be directly associated with achieving the outcomes of the research.

CRE grant funds are for research cost expenditure in Australia. Funding may be used to support specific grant activities to be undertaken overseas, including salary support for overseas based research support staff, if the overseas grant activity is critical to the successful completion of the project, and the equipment/resources required for the grant activity are not available in Australia.


Eligible Applicants

Applications for NHMRC funding are subject to the eligibility requirements set out in the Centres of Research Excellence 2020 Guidelines.

Applicants nominate the stream that best fits their research proposal, although the NHMRC appreciates that there is often overlap. Applicants should refer to the Centres of Research Excellence 2020 Guidelines for further guidance in selecting the appropriate stream.

A CRE may be a single physical entity or institute, or be a geographically disparate network linking across more than one institution. Centres are encouraged to collaborate with, and participate in, national and international research studies.



Applications close 4 December 2019.


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