2021 Innovative Therapies for Mental Illness



Notice of Intent (NOI) registration open

10am, Monday 21 June 2021

Optional but highly encouraged: Work in Progress Grant Proposal due to RIC for review and advice

10am, Monday 5 July 2021

Draft application due to RIC for strategic review and compliance and eligibility check (including other supporting documents, if applicable)

5pm, Wednesday 7 July 2021

Minimum Data closes on Sapphire

10am, Monday 19 July 2021

Final application and Authority to Submit (ATS) Form submitted to RIC

5pm, Wednesday 21 July 2021

Final application submitted to NHMRC


The objective of this Innovative Therapies for Mental Illness Grant Opportunity (GO ID: 4726) is to provide financial assistance for Australian medical research projects that use clinical trials to assess the safety and efficacy of innovative therapies using hallucinogens and stimulant drugs supported by psychological/ psychiatric care for treatment resistant mental illness, compared to standard therapies.

For the purpose of this Grant Opportunity, hallucinogens and stimulant drugs are defined as the drugs that are included:

To be competitive for funding, applicants must propose to conduct a single clinical trial that delivers against the above objectives.

Applications that propose to assess the following are particularly encouraged:

  • psilocybin,
  • ketamine,
  • 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA),
  • dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and/or
  • related (either in chemistry or effect) supported by psychological/psychiatric care.

Requirements: Applicants must be able to demonstrate a clear pathway to regulatory approvals for the clinical trial (noting Schedule 9 drugs have additional approval requirements from states and territories).

Regulatory guidelines: Applicants must also be aware of regulatory guidelines for the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods and be able to demonstrate how their project will align with, and contribute to, those regulatory processes.

Intended outcome: To improve the health and wellbeing of Australians by generating new therapies for treatment-resistant mental illness.

Grant Amount and Grant Period

  • Up to $15 million of funding is available over three years from 2021 - 22
  • There is no maximum grant amount but grants cannot exceed the amount of available funds
  • The maximum project period is five (5) years
2021 - 22022 - 232023 - 242024 - 252025 - 6
$5.0 million $5.0 million$5.0 million$0$0


  • A person must not be named as a Chief Investigator (CI) on more than one application submitted to a Round of this Grant Opportunity.
  • It is generally required that, at the time of application submission, the CIA is an Australian citizen or is a permanent resident in Australia (see also section 6.4 of the Guidelines). The research proposal must involve the CIA being based in Australia for the duration of the grant.
  • If the proposed research duplicates research previously or currently being undertaken. We may compare the research proposed in grant applications with grants previously or currently funded by the MRFF, NHMRC or other agencies (e.g. Australian Research Council) and published research (see also sections 4.7, 7.2 and 7.3 of the Guidelines)

How to apply

  1. Notice of Intent

    Please register your Notice of Intent if you are considering applying for the this Grant Opportunity.  RIC-MRFF team will then contact each applicant with further information.

  2. Update/complete Sapphire Profile

    Each Chief Investigator (CI) will need to obtain access to the Sapphire to complete this step.

    Applicants (including all Chief Investigators and Associate Investigators) are required to submit a registration form available on the Sapphire Landing Page.

    NHMRC copied RGMS users’ CV/Profile data from RGMS for migration into Sapphire on Wednesday 12 February 2020 after 5.00pm (AEDT). Any changes made to an RGMS profile after this date have not been replicated in Sapphire.

  3. Review documentation

    Review the grant guidelines and category descriptors available below and at Grant Connect (GO ID: GO4726)

  4. Create and Complete the application

    Log in to Sapphire, select the relevant Grant Opportunity to complete the application

  5. Submit “Review Ready” application to RIC

    Submit application to RIC within the RIC internal submission period(s) for review(s)

  6. Complete application

    Taking feedback from the RIC team into consideration, complete the application in Sapphire. It is suggested advice is sought from colleagues, Faculty Mentors, etc. before finalising the application.

  7. Submit the UoM Authority to Submit Form

    This form must be submitted to RIC electronically by the final internal closing date. The form should include:

    • The CIA and all Head of Department/Institute Director signatures

    Written evidence (e.g. email) from all CIs and AIs is no longer required for applications submitted via Sapphire. Accepting an invitation to participate in an application constitutes a written agreement to be named on an application. CIAs cannot submit an application for RAO certification until all research team members on their application have accepted the invitation.

    This is an NHMRC requirement and the application cannot be submitted to NHMRC until received.

  8. Final Submission

    On the final internal closing date, the applicant must:

    • Certify the application via the ‘Certification’ function in the left panel of your Sapphire application. The applicant will be given the opportunity to download their application and attachments prior to the two-stage confirmation prompt before submission. The application will be locked once certified and status then will be Submitted to RAO.
    • Email RIC enquiries-mrff@unimelb.edu.au Include the completed scanned and signed Authority to Submit form.
    • Should you require further information please contact the MRFF team via enquiries-mrff@unimelb.edu.au
  9. RIC will submit the application

    Once the application has been submitted to NHMRC, you will receive an email from RIC confirming submission.

Key Contacts

Jasmine Lim
T: +61 3 9035 6615