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Informing and Shaping Best Practice.

The Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) targets the design, evaluation and implementation of innovative models of patient care. It operates through effective partnerships to produce innovative healthcare provided with operational excellence.

ACI Research Grant Scheme

Each year, the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) provides funding for selected research grants, allocating grant funds across several small to medium size projects.

The purpose of the Research Grant Scheme is to undertake and source relevant, high quality research that aligns with the ACI mandate, functions, strategic plan and research priorities.

The ACI’s Institute of Trauma and Injury Management (ITIM) has a separate grants scheme, focusing on research grants for trauma clinicians to undertake research on trauma and care.

Research project eligibility criteria

Research projects must meet the following criteria in order to be considered:

  • The research must be conducted in NSW and/or benefit the health of communities in NSW.
  • The project must directly align with the priorities of the ACI.
  • Projects must be a maximum of 1.5 years in duration.
  • The application must demonstrate collaborative engagement and consultation with relevant networks and stakeholders where applicable (e.g. clinicians, consumers, health service administrators, researchers, patient groups, policy makers).
  • The 2020 round will provide funding for selected research grants, with a maximum $30,000 per project across several small to mid-size projects

Projects not eligible for ACI grants include basic research, pre-clinical studies, large infrastructure build projects and clinical efficacy studies.

Alignment to ACI activities

Applicants are encouraged to identify at least one ACI network, taskforce or institute that aligns with the proposal. All applicants are encouraged to discuss their project with the relevant ACI network/s, taskforce/s, institute/s or team/s prior to submitting a proposal to determine how their project aligns best with which ACI network, taskforce or institute.

Each network webpage lists the relevant contact person (e.g. the network manager).

Research approach

The ACI’s translational research priority has implications for research design and method. Generating knowledge and putting it into practice require different theories and methods. Research studies submitted to the ACI are therefore expected to be multi-method studies, deploying realist evaluation and drawing on disciplines and theories from the health, organisational and social sciences.

Research conduct

All research undertaken in partnership with the ACI must adhere to relevant standards of research conduct. Proposals and research designs should be developed with reference to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Australian Research Council (ARC) standards of academic conduct (i.e. the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018).

All research practices conducted in partnership with ACI must meet the following conduct:

  • obtain and maintain ongoing approval from a relevant human research ethics committee
  • disclose any potential, perceived or actual conflict of interest
  • be of excellent scientific quality
  • demonstrate excellent leadership
  • encourage collaboration
  • be appropriately resourced
  • protect participants
  • ensure confidentiality of information
  • establish a mechanism for appropriate record keeping
  • ensure the security of research data and information
  • maintain appropriate training of staff and researchers.
  • commit to regular reporting, including publishing results and disseminating research finding in an accurate and timely manner
  • support appropriate intellectual property
  • support appropriate authorship rights
  • support appropriate acknowledgements
  • meet internationally recognised research integrity standards.

Application process overview

For each round of research grants, the submission of applications, review and reporting follows a standard process.

Consultation Phase

  • The scheme opens and applicants contact appropriate areas of ACI for advice
  • Determine alignment with respective network/taskforce/insitute/ teams
  • Finalisation of the proposal
  • Submission to by the due date

Peer Review Phase

  • Peer review committee (mix of internal and external reviewers) assess the proposals
  • ACI executive endorses the announcement of the successful proposals

Report Phase

  • Ethics application submitted
  • Conduct of research
  • Progress reports and engagement with network/taskforce/institute/teams
  • Facilitation and presentation day

Key dates

  • 29th June 2020: Grant call open
  • 10th August 2020: Grant proposals submission deadline.
  • December 2020: Successful applications announced
  • December 2021: Progress report due
  • June 2022: Final report due
  • Late-2022: Presentation and workshop day

Frequently asked questions

  • Are there any types of research that are excluded?
    The following types of research are excluded:
    • ‘bench to bedside’
    • basic research
    • drug trials
    • large infrastructure build projects, such as databases
    • pre-clinical studies
    • clinical efficacy studies.
  • Is there a limit on the number of applicants on the team?
    There is no limit on applicants. Collaboration and sponsorship across several areas are encouraged.
  • Is there a limit on the number of applications per applicant?
    There is no limit - however we encourage chief investigators to commit to only 1-2 applications.
  • Does the chief investigator have to be a NSW Health employee to be eligible?
    No, no-one on the team has to be employed in the NSW Health system. However, the research must be conducted in NSW and you must explain how your research benefits the people of NSW.
  • Can a PhD student apply?
  • Do I need to complete an Aboriginal Health Impact Statement?
    The purpose of the Aboriginal Health Impact Statement is to support NSW Health staff and organisations to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people by systematically applying an ‘Aboriginal health lens’ to all policies and programs.

    While the statement is not required for research purposes, AH&MRC ethics approval is required to ensure that the research is undertaken in the interest of Aboriginal people in NSW and that the research is undertaken in a culturally appropriate manner.
  • Does the grant allow for infrastructure costs of the coordinating organisation?
    We do not allow for infrastructure costs.
  • Where can I get more information about developing a research proposal?
    The NSW Health Translational Research Grants Scheme has appropriate resources.
  • Can the grant be used to cover wages?
    Yes, the grant funds can be put towards wages costs.
  • How do I know who in the ACI to approach?
    See Get Involved to review information about the relevant network, taskforce, institutes. Each network page lists the relevant contact (e.g. the network manager). Please contact the manager from the business area that aligns with the topic of your proposal.
  • What are the ACI’s strategic priorities for research?
    Agency for Clinical Innovation Strategic Plan
  • What is the funding for the grant scheme?
    Funding for the scheme varies each round. For 2018, a total of $240,000 was awarded to successful small and medium grant projects. The maximum grant amount was $30,000.
  • What happens if I need to extend the deadline?
    The successful investigators sign an agreement for deliverables as outlined in the proposal. Challenges to completion are tracked via progress reporting, and any changes to deadlines must be negotiated with the ACI Research Grants Scheme team.
  • Where do I send progress reports?
    Please send reports by email to:
  • Where can I access report templates?
    Download the ACI Research Progress form  and ACI Research Final report  templates.
  • When is the next round of grants?
    Key dates lists the deadlines for the research grants underway.
  • Who can I contact with questions?
    For further information about the scheme, please contact

Funded projects

Current projects

The ACI Research Grant Scheme supported a total of 18 research projects in 2018 and 4 projects in 2019

May 2018

Translating eating as treatment for head and neck cancer (TREAT).
Lead: Dr Ben Britton

Implementing structured continence assessment and management for inpatients (I-SCAMP) – SCAMPering across Northern NSW.
Lead: Dr Di Marsden

Technology assisted early allied health assistant home visits.
Lead: A/Prof Geoffrey Murray

Improving care for patients with low back pain in emergency departments: The SHaPED trial.
Lead: Dr Gustavo De Carvalho Machado

Severe burn injury patient reported experiences (PRE) of their treatment and recovery at RNSH (SBIU).
Lead: Julia Kwiet

Improving emergency discharge care practices for older people with cognitive impairment returning to the community.
Lead: Prof Margaret Fry

Implementing a new model of service delivery for knee and hip arthroplasty surgeries.
Lead: Dr Richard Walker

Investigating different methods of carbohydrate loading in elective colorectal surgery to improve post-operative outcomes.
Lead: Trang Soriano

Alcohol and drug cognitive enhancement (ACE) program study: validation of tools for use within an Aboriginal population.
Lead: Antoinette Sedwell

Rural implementation of best evidence for stroke therapy (BEST).
Lead: Dr Melissa Nott

November 2018

Short videos for patients to increase uptake of referral of pulmonary rehabilitation: a multi-centre randomised controlled trial.
Lead: A/Prof Sarah Dennis

Googling centres for endovascular clot retrieval in NSW geospatial modelling and optimisation analysis.
Lead: Dr Thanh Giang Phan

Implementation evaluation of an early activation hip fracture care bundle (eHIP).
Lead: Prof Kate Curtis

Reliability and validity of a 3D wound camera and predictive utility for diabetic foot ulcer healing.
Lead: Jill Featherston

While you're waiting: a waiting room-based educational program to improve cardiovascular health.
Lead: Prof Clara Chow

Clinician fatigue management in medical retrieval services.
Lead: Dr Benjamin Gladwin

A mixed methods study to explore the views of Aboriginal families on appropriate smoking cessation interventions in pregnancy.
Lead: Dr Parivash Eftekhari

Supporting type 2 diabetes (T2D) self-management in the context of multi-morbidity: a pilot project.
Lead: Dr Hassan Hosseinzadeh

Funding Round: 2019

Exploring the use of Virtual Reality (VR) to manage distress in adolescent patients in Emergency Departments (EDs)
Lead: Prof Kate Steinbeck

A health self-management program delivered via text message to support women’s mental and physical health after breast cancer treatments (EMPOWER-SMS)
Lead: Anna Singleton

Prevalence and needs of individuals with chronic pain attending residential rehabilitation for alcohol and other drug problems.
Lead: A/Prof Toby Newton-John

Mitigating hospital acquired frailty in people over 75 year of age: implementing the Asia Pacific Clinical Frailty Guidelines in medical wards of Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital.
Lead: Prof Sue Kurrle

Apply now


Dr Henry Ko, Research manager, ACI
Phone: 0427 379 886