On 13 October 2020 the Office of National Intelligence and the Department of Defence announced the National Intelligence and Security Discovery Research Grants (NISDRG) program.  

The NISDRG program supports excellent research that deepens understanding of emerging science and technology and addresses intelligence and national security interests. The grants program will facilitate innovation and develop national security and intelligence capacity. It will also enable Australia’s National Intelligence and Security Communities to systematically engage with Australia’s research and technology community.

The NISDRG program provides support to research that aligns with the priority research areas identified by the Australian Government. These research areas are outlined in the Intelligence Challenges and the National Security Challenges developed under the broad National Security Science and Technology Priorities. 

Current Round  

Applications for the NISDRG Program Round 1 are now closed.

Priorities for National Intelligence and Security Discovery Research Grants (NISDRG) Program  

The Intelligence Challenges and the National Security Challenges have been developed under the broad National Security Science and Technology Priorities. The Challenges are priority research areas which will be updated from round to round.  

The Intelligence Challenges for the NISDRG program for funding commencing in 2021 are:  

  • Covert collection challenges  
  • Space-based challenges  
  • Identity management challenges 
  • Emerging biological and material science exploitation challenges 
  • Cyber security, protective security and offensive cyber challenges  
  • Human behaviour and influence challenges  
  • Data-driven and real-time analytical challenges  
  • Situation awareness and multi-source assessment  

The National Security Challenges for the NISDRG program for funding commencing in 2021 are:  

  • Influence in the Pacific  
  • Resilient Supply Chains 
  • Disinformation Detection and Counter Narratives 
  • Detection for 2040  
  • Human Identification and Vulnerability Assessments  
  • Analysis and decision support for 2040  
  • AI/ML for Investigative Support and Forensics Science  
  • Robust Consequence management improving Australia’s responses to, and recovery from, disasters and emergencies  

Funding for NISDRG Program 

NISDRG provides project funding of between $400,000 and $600,000 per project for up to three years. 

It is a requirement that all named investigators and personnel that receive salary support or stipends be Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or New Zealand Special Category Visa Holders. 

Please refer to the Grant Guidelines for more information on what project funding may be used for. 

Applicants must read the Grant Guidelines for National Intelligence and Security Discovery Research Grants program.

Key Dates for NISDRG Program 

  • Release of Grant Guidelines: 13 October 2020 
  • Applications Open: 27 October 2020 
  • Request Not to Assess Close: 2 December 2020 
  • Applications Close: 16 December 2020 
  • Rejoinders: 5 February 2021 to 18 February 2021 (previously 4 February 2021 to 17 February 2021)
  • Anticipated Announcement: Mid 2021 
  • Grant Funding Commencement: 1 July 2021
  • Final Project Start for Grant Opportunity: 30 December 2021

NISDRG funding commencing in 2021

Funding for the NISDRG program commencing in 2021 is offered under two Grant Opportunities: 

Each Grant Opportunity will be managed through an individual dedicated version of the Research Management System (RMS). 

Outcome Announcements 

Announcement of Grant Outcomes Information

For information about Announcement under Embargo, Grant Offer and Acceptance and Appeals, please see ARC Research Grants Services: Announcement of Grant Outcomes Information | Australian Research Council.

RMS Announcements

RMS Announcements for the NISDRG Program can be found on the ONI and Defence individual dedicated Announcement pages; 

  • ONI – TBA
  • Defence – TBA

NISDRG Grants Management  

The ARC is supporting the grants administration of the NISDRG Program funded by ONI and Defence. Please see the RGS Grant Management page for more information

Research Grants Services (RGS) Update

More Information 

More information about the NISDRG program as well as requirements for applicants are on GrantConnect.   

Information on administrative processes specific to the NISDRG program: 

If you cannot find the information you require in the available documentation, please contact