The Australian Government recognises public concern about the health effects of electromagnetic energy (EME), and the need to ensure that standards and public health policies continue to be based on the best available scientific information. Since 1996, the Government has run the EME Program to provide information to the public and support research into health issues associated with mobile phones, mobile phone base stations and other communications devices and equipment. The program is funded by a $1 million dollar levy paid annually by radiocommunication license holders and collected by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
In the Australian Government’s Mid-Year Economic and Financial Outlook (MYEFO) for 2019-20, it was announced that there would be an enhanced Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Energy Program and that NHMRC would not be involved with delivering this program. Further information on this decision is available from https://www.budget.gov.au/2019-20/content/myefo/index.htm
The EME Program consists of three components:
- A public information program managed by the
- An Australian EME research program administered by the NHMRC; and
- Australia’s participation in the which assesses the health and environmental effects of EME exposure.
NHMRC is encouraging additional applications for EME research through a number of funding schemes, including , and .
The table below lists NHMRC grants awarded for research investigating the impact of EME on human health and physiology.
NHMRC grants for EME research
|Grant ID||Grant title||Institution||Scheme||Funding Awarded*||End date|
|1187301||Exposures of mobile phone radiofrequency electromagnetic energy in juveniles: effects on brain development and behaviours||University of Wollongong||Ideas Grant||$1,264,200||2025|
|1156997||Utilising the male germline to define our understanding of the biological effects of radio frequency electromagnetic energy||University of Newcastle||NHMRC Project Grant||$425,394||2021|
|1135076||Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research||University of Wollongong||Centres of Research Excellence||$2,499,671||2022|
|1060205||Centre for Population Health Research on Electromagnetic Energy||Monash University||Centres of Research Excellence||$2,499,157||2018|
|1042464||Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research||University of Wollongong||Centres of Research Excellence||$2,498,842||2017|
|546130||Risk of brain cancer from exposure to radiofrequency fields in childhood and adolescence||Monash University||Australia - EU Collaborative Research Grant||$701,040||2013|
|559309||Does mobile phone radiation affect brain processes?||Swinburne University of Technology||NHMRC Project Grant||$244,336||2011|
|545927||Do mobile phones affect cognitive development in children?||Monash University||NHMRC Project Grant||$548,616||2011|
|264439||Australian Centre for Radiofrequency Bioeffects Research (ACRBR)||Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology||Centres of Research Excellence in Clinical Research||$2,653,680||2009|
|219129||A case-control study of brain and other tumours in adults and exposure to RF EME in the use of mobile phones||University of Sydney||
Targeted Calls for Research
|163627||Effects of long-term mobile phone use on vision and hearing||University of Sydney||Targeted Calls for Research||$309,006||2005|
|154905||Does mobile phone radiation affect brain reactions, sleeping patterns or the biological clock?||Swinburne University of Technology||Targeted Calls for Research||$213,570||2005|
|983722||Does exposure to radiofrequency fields cause an increase in cancer rates in mice?||University of Adelaide||Targeted Calls for Research||$1,122,103||2001|
|983718||Do mobile phones affect human memory, attention, problem solving or plasma melatonin?||Swinburne University of Technology||Targeted Calls for Research||$73,000||2001|
|983702||A case-control study of brain and other tumours in adults and exposure to RF EME in the use of mobile phones (PILOT STUDY)||NSW Cancer Council||Targeted Calls for Research||$97,670||2000|
|983719||Effect of radiofrequency exposure in mutation and cancer||Flinders University||Targeted Calls for Research||$95,000||1999|
* Initial amount does not include indexations, extensions or project variations