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MRFF E-MCR Investigator Grants: benchmarking

Updated: Feb 14

Back in March 2023, the MRFF announced the awardees from the first round of the E-MCR Grant opportunity.  

With the 2024 round coming up, in this blog we look at the characteristics of the successful CIA researchers, including their h-index, citations, publications, cites per publication, and the number of CIs on their teams. 

What do these data mean for you?  

If you are considering an application, or unfortunately missed out this year, this information may help you benchmark your track record.  

Who received an E-MCR grant? 

From an initial pool of 428 applications, a total of 23 E-MCR Investigator Grants were awarded across the three streams: Incubator (stream 1, n=9), Accelerator (stream 2, n=6) and Targeted Call for Research (stream 3, n=8). 

GrantEd has identified the h-index, number of career outputs (publications) and total citations (of all outputs) according to Scopus for each successful CIA: unfortunately, we were unable to stratify according to the stream, as these data are not available from MRFF. Here we provide the aggregated median and range for each metric from the inaugural round (Fig 1). 

Fig 1: CIA metrics from the inaugural round of MRFF E-MCR Investigator Grants scheme.


Of the awarded grants, 12 were awarded to women researchers as CIA and 11 to men. Team size was a median of 8, ranging from 2- 15. Further information about the level of funding awarded, years’ post-PhD etc, can be found here

Keep in mind that these metrics are only part of the story in clearly articulating capacity and capability at the collective level (of the entire team) and at the individual level (of each CI).  

We encourage you to familiarise yourself with the stream-specific assessment criteria. 

The determinants of success

Regardless of stream, MRFF E-MCR Grant Opportunity applications are evaluated against three key weighted technical criteria and one key non-weighted non-technical criteria: Section A-Project Impact (40%), Section B-Project Methodology (30%), Section D-Capacity, Capability and Resources to Deliver the Project (30%) and Section E-Overall Value and Risk of the Project (non-weighted).  

Section D is based on the prior achievements of the overall team, relative to opportunity and considering career disruptions. This means that most of the potential score for section D is pre-determined before you put pen to paper.  

To which stream should you apply?

Applicants should consider the eligibility criteria closely to ensure they are applying to the correct stream, as this will contribute to reviewers’ capacity to undertake a comparable assessment.

Characteristics of CIA

CIA must hold a PhD and for:

· Stream 1 (Incubator) must be an ECR

· Stream 2 (Accelerator) and Stream 3 (Target Call for Research) must be a MCR.

Characteristics of the CI team

All CIs must hold a PhD.

Stream 1 (Incubator): At least 80% of the CIs must be ECRs.

Stream 2 (Accelerator): At least 80% of the CIs must be MCRs.

Stream 3 (Targeted Call for Research): At least 50% of the CIs must be E-MCRs.

Definitions of ECR vs MCR:

ECR = ≤5 years post-PhD conferral, excluding career disruptions*.

MCR = between 5–10 years post-PhD conferral, excluding career disruptions*.

If applicants are >10 years post-PhD conferral, excluding career disruptions*, they must be listed as an AI as they are ineligible to be a CI.

* Note that this is different to the way the NHMRC measure years post PhD. e.g. “an EL applicant must have held their PhD, or equivalent…, for no more than 10 years from the date that their PhD thesis was passed (not the date of conferral), unless they have had a career disruption”.

Prior to putting pen to paper for this scheme, please have a conversation with your research office staff regarding your proposed team’s eligibility.


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