What is the COVID-19 Research Grants?

COVID-19 Research Grants is a program designed to ensure that research results are obtained as quickly as possible to directly support the NSW Health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NSW Health COVID-19 Research Grants Program has been designed to produce evidence that supports the NSW response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Round one of the program has concluded. Round two is now open.



The COVID-19 Research Grants program has been designed to produce evidence that supports the NSW response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that:

  • Round 1: Funding will be allocated to an initial rapid funding round with short application and review timeframes. This initial round will focus on research topics that address key COVID-19 response needs. This funding round has been developed for projects that are ready to commence shortly and require rapid funding.
  • Round 2: Funding will be reserved for a second round of proposals requiring a longer development period. This round will encompass a broader range of topic areas that have been identified as important to support patients, health care workers, the community and the health system in responding to COVID-19.
  • The peer review process will be targeted to projects that are high priorities for NSW Health to address the NSW pandemic.

There is sufficient funding to support both funding rounds.



The COVID-19 Research Grants program has been designed with a robust governance and management framework to ensure that it is conducted in accordance with these principles:

  • Be priority-driven, with a focus on issues of  greatest policy and practice impact on the COVID19 response
  • Be expedited to ensure research is planned, conducted and reported in a timely manner to inform clinical and policy decision making
  • Incorporate appropriate governance mechanisms to ensure accountability across the NSW public health system and NSW community.

The objectives of the COVID-19 Research Grants are to:

  • Support research that provides evidence to inform priorities for the immediate COVID-19 response in NSW. 
  • Support research into medium and longer term issues related to the pandemic in patients, the community and the health system. 
  • Reduce the time from evidence generation to implementation. The program supports the rapid planning, conduct and reporting of research, so that positive findings can be rapidly translated into clinical practice and policy. 



Funding of up to $1 million per project, for a period of up to 24 months, is available. Funding requests over $1 million may be considered with clear justification. 


Eligible Projects

COVID-19 Research Grants Round 1 funding will be targeted specifically to the research topic areas at Appendix A of the guidelines. In accordance with the objectives of the program, projects that do not directly address one or more of these topic areas will be deemed ineligible.

Funding will be available for two types of project. 

Additional funding for existing research 

Applications requesting funding for the expansion of currently funded research that may be applicable to COVID-19. Funding may enhance or expand existing projects to incorporate elements addressing COVID-19, or expedite outcomes related to COVID-19. Projects will be assessed for alignment with criteria outlined in these COVID-19 Research Grant Guidelines. Evidence of existing peer-reviewed funding and ethics and governance approvals must be supplied.

New projects 

Applications for new projects that align with topic areas and meet the eligibility criteria may be submitted.

The initial round will fund projects that will provide rapid evidence to inform the current COVID-19 response in NSW. 

Round 1 projects must have capacity to commence research within 3-4 weeks of receiving funding, and provide a report on interim outcomes within 6 months from the research start date.

The second round is planned for release in June 2020 to accommodate projects that require a longer lead time for development. A broader list of research topics will be released for round 2, including:

  1. Diagnostics 
  2. Prevention of infection 
  3. Treatment 
  4. Public and population health 
  5. The health system response 
  6. Mental health and wellbeing 
  7. Behavioural insights and communications 
  8. Whole of Government response and impacts

Further details on round 2 research topics will be released in June. Applications submitted for the first round but not funded may be reconsidered in the second round depending on alignment with priorities. Applicants in this category may be offered an opportunity to revise their proposal if required.


Eligible Applicants

Applications must meet all eligibility criteria.