1. Overview

Research Grants are classified as either External or Internal grants. External Research Grants are further sub-classified into Commonwealth Government, State Government or Industry funded grants.

2. External Research Grants – Commonwealth Government Funded

Commonwealth research funding is administered by the Australian Research Council (ARC) in partnership with the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST).

Research funding is awarded through two mechanisms:-

  • Formula-driven research funding schemes whereby block funding is allocated to higher education institutions based on specific formulae; and
  • Application-based schemes whereby funding is awarded to researchers via a competitive selection process.

Formula-Driven Research Funding Schemes
Funding to the University for the following schemes is by way of a bi-monthly payment from DEST:-

a. Research Infrastructure Block Grants

Research Infrastructure Block Grants (RIBG) scheme provides funding to the University to supply institutional resources essential for the mounting of high quality research projects.  Funding allocation is based on an index which measures institutional success in obtaining competitively awarded research funding.

b. Research Training Scheme

The Research Training Scheme (RTS) aims to recognise and reward those institutions that provide high quality research training environments and support excellent and diverse research activities.  The RTS provides Commonwealth-funded higher degree by research (HDR) students with an entitlement to a HECS exemption for the duration of an accredited HDR course, up to a maximum period of four years’ full-time equivalent study for a Doctorate by research and two years’ full-time equivalent study for a Masters by research.

c. Institutional Grants Scheme

The Institutional Grants Scheme (IGS) supports the University’s research and research training activities in accordance with its own strategic judgements. Funding allocation is formula-based, taking into account success in attracting research students, success in attracting research income and in the quality and output of University research publications.

d. Australian Postgraduate Awards Scholarships

The Australian Postgraduate Awards (APA) Scheme provides financial support to postgraduate students in research training programs, by enabling persons of exceptional research promise to undertake a higher degree. The allocation of awards is based on a formula that is reflective of the University’s overall research performance and consistent with the funding obtained under the Research Training Scheme (RTS) for new research students. The University has the responsibility for determining the selection process by which awards are allocated to applicants.

e. International Postgraduate Research Scholarships

The International Postgraduate Research Scholarships programme aims to attract top quality international postgraduate students to areas of research strength in the University and support Australia’s research efforts. Scholarships are open to postgraduate research students of all countries (except New Zealand). The allocation of scholarships is based on a formula that is reflective of the University’s overall research performance and consistent with the funding obtained under the Research Training Scheme (RTS) for new research students. The University has the responsibility for determining the selection process by which scholarships are allocated to applicants.

Funding to the University for the following schemes is by way of a bi-monthly payment from ARC:-

f. Discovery Projects

The Discovery Projects programme funds research projects and fellowships and aims to meet the varied needs of researchers in different disciplines by supporting both smaller single research projects and clusters of larger projects. The programme emphasises the need for collaboration and partnership-building to make a major contribution in expanding Australia’s knowledge base and research capability.

g. Linkage Projects (including APAI and SPIRT)

The Linkage Projects programme supports research and development projects that are undertaken by an alliance between the University and industry organisations, to acquire new knowledge and that involve risk or innovation. Projects must contain an industry contribution and interaction with actual or potential users of research outcomes. The programme encourages research on issues of benefit to regional and rural communities. By providing an industry-orientated training ground for postgraduate research students, the programme aims to produce a national pool of world-class researchers.

h. Research Fellowships Scheme

The Research Fellowships Scheme provides funding for the undertaking of research at postdoctoral level and above.

3. External Research Grants – State Government Funded

The University receives funding for specific research projects from various State Government departments which include the following:-

  • NSW Roads and Traffic Authority
  • NSW Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources
  • Queensland Health
  • Queensland Nursing Council

4. External Research Grants – Industry Funded

The University receives funding for specific collaborative research projects from various industry partners which include the following:-

  • AusAid
  • Catholic Education Offices
  • Diabetes Australia
  • Mater Health Services
  • The Pratt Foundation
  • Sacred Heart Palliative Care
  • Society of St Vincent de Paul

5. Internal Research Grants

Each year, the University operating budget process provides an annual allocation to the Research Office for distribution as ACU Internal Grants. The internal grants are then awarded by Research Committees, often to those researchers that have not been successful with a current or prior year ARC grant application. They can also be awarded to assist a researcher with a future ARC grant application.

6. Raising Invoices

Invoices are raised by the Finance Directorate upon receipt of a signed research contract processed by Research Services. The contract must be signed by both the external contracting party and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and International).

7. Expenditure

Expenditure by an individual from Research Funds requires approval of the supervisor with delegated authority. If the principal researcher is the person incurring the expense, the academic supervisor with delegated authority must approve the expenditure. However, responsibility lies with researcher to certify that funds are available and expenditure does not contravene the terms and conditions of the Research Grant.

8. End of Year Reporting

Annual acquittal of the following research schemes is not required to be performed separately. Instead, DEST rely on the University’s annual audited financial statements which are prepared in accordance with DEST financial statement guidelines:-

  • Research Infrastructure Block Grants
  • Research Training Scheme
  • Institutional Grants Scheme
  • Australian Postgraduate Awards Scholarships
  • International Postgraduate Research Scholarships

A separate annual acquittal is required by 31 March in the year following each calendar year for which the funding was awarded, for the following ARC schemes:-

  • Discovery Projects
  • Linkage Projects (including APAI and SPIRT)
  • Research Fellowships Scheme

Research Services receive proforma returns from ARC and forward these to the Finance Directorate for completion. Once completed, the returns are authorised by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and International) then sent by Finance to the Research Council.

9. DEST Data Collections Audited Return

The DEST Data Collections Audit is conducted to verify the amount of DEST, ARC and external revenue that has been generated by the University in the previous year. It also assists in determining the University’s allocation from the Research Training Scheme and Internal Grants Scheme from DEST for the following year. The annual audited return is due on 30 June.

The DEST Data Collections Guidelines Submission Report lists the various categories that must be used when classifying revenue in the audited return. The Guidelines assist Finance to complete the return. Once completed, an external audit is performed by external auditors. A signed Vice-Chancellor Certification Statement is then sent with the audited return to DEST.

10. Research Directorate Responsibility

Responsibilities of Research in relation to research matters include the following:-

  • Provision of advice on financial matters relating to research
  • Creation of grant project codes and advising researcher of their financial responsibilities
  • Provision of avice to researcher on actual or potential over-expenditure of research grant
  • Raising of invoices and associated follow-up for external industry funded research grants
Page last updated on 23/01/2020

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