ARC Fellowships
University of South Australia
14 July 2017
Dr Fiona Cameron

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Outline

  • National Competitive Grants Program
    • Overview
    • Fellowships
      • DECRA
      • Future Fellowships
      • Laureate Fellows
  • Grant writing tips

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National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP)

 

  • Through the NCGP, the ARC supports the highest-quality fundamental and applied research and research training across all disciplines*. 
  • The ARC encourages partnerships between researchers and industry, government, community organisations and the international community.
  • The NCGP comprises two main elements—Discovery and Linkage—under which the ARC funds a range of complementary schemes to:
    • support researchers at different stages of their careers
    • build Australia’s research capability
    • expand and enhance research networks and collaborations
    • develop centres of research excellence.

 

*Clinical and other medical research is primarily supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council

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National Competitive Grants Program

description below

Graphical representation of schemes in the ARC's National Competitive Grants Program. Each scheme is a rectangle with the area of the rectangle representing  ARC funding (new and ongoing projects) for 2016.

Area of box represents ARC funding by scheme (new and ongoing projects) for 2016*. 

N.B.

  • *LP16 figures not including Continuous Linkage

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ARC NCGP funding by scheme 2009–2016

 ARC NCGP funding by scheme 2009–2016

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NCGP Lifecycle

NCGP Lifecycle

Infographic—NCGP Lifecycle timeline from development of funding rules to final report.

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Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA)

The DECRA scheme provides more focused support for early career researchers in both teaching and research, and research-only positions.

Researchers may be eligible to apply if they have been awarded a PhD within five years, or longer if combined with periods of significant career interruption.

Up to 200 three-year DECRAs may be awarded each year providing a researcher with up to $139,369 per annum.

  • This is composed of $99,369 in salary and on-costs, and up to $40,000 in project costs. 

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DECRA eligibility

D9.1.2A DECRA Candidate must at the closing time of submission of Proposals: 

a.have been awarded a PhD on or after 1 March 2012; or

 

vi. carers’ responsibility, including:

(i)      being the primary carer of a dependent child, two years per dependent child;

(ii)     being the primary carer of a dependent child with extensive caring responsibilities due to reasons such as illness or disability of the child; and/or

 

See also Future Fellows C9.3.2

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Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA)

The objectives of the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme are to:

  • support excellent basic and applied research by early career researchers; 
  • advance promising early career researchers and promote enhanced opportunities for diverse career pathways;
  • enable research and research training in high quality and supportive environments; 
  • expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability; and
  • enhance the scale and focus of research in the Science and Research Priorities.

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DECRA commitments

  • The DECRA Recipient is expected to spend a minimum of 20 per cent of her/his time on activities at the Administering Organisation, and 80 per cent of her/his time on research activities related to the proposed DECRA.(D8.2.2 and D8.2.3) 
  • The DECRA Recipient may not engage in other professional employment for the duration of the DECRA without prior approval from the ARC under subsection D8.2.5. (D8.2.4)
  • The DECRA Recipient may spend up to 0.2 (20 per cent of Full Time Equivalent) of her/his time annually on teaching activities. The DECRA will not be extended to accommodate any periods of teaching. Supervision of honours or postgraduate students is not included in this limit. (D8.2.8)

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DECRA—return and success rates

DECRA—return and success rates

Discovery Early Career Research Award scheme return and success rates 2009–2017.

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Participation and success rate of DECRA 2017 Candidates by gender and career age*

Participation_success_rate_CI_DECRA2017_gender_career_age

 

* Career age is calculated as years since PhD.

Discovery Early Career Research Award scheme return and success rates 2009–2017.

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First-time awardees by scheme 2009–17

First-time awardees by scheme 2009–17

Chart showing the numbers and percentage of “first time” awardees in Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) and Discovery Projects (DP) schemes, 2009–2017.

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Average Age of Lead CI
Discovery Projects, DECRA and Future Fellowships

Average Age of Lead CIDiscovery Projects, DECRA and Future Fellowships

 

Chart showing average age of lead CI in DP, DECRA and Future Fellows, 2009-2017.

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Future Fellowships

The aim of Future Fellowships is to attract and retain the best and brightest mid-career researchers, to conduct their research in Australia.

Up to 100 four-year Future Fellowships will be awarded each year, providing a four-year salary at one of three salary levels of between $150,376 up to $213,693 per year (including on-costs).

An additional $50,000 per year may be provided to the Administering Organisation that may be used for higher degree by research stipends and expenditure on field research and travel costs essential to the project. 

The objectives of the Future Fellowships scheme are to: 

 

  • ensure that outstanding mid-career researchers are recruited and retained by Administering Organisations in continuing academic positions
  • build collaboration across industry and/or research organisations and/or disciplines
  • support research in national priorities that will result in economic, environmental, social and/or cultural benefits for Australia
  • strengthen Australia’s research capacity by supporting innovative, internationally competitive research.

 

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Future Fellows—flexibility

C9.2.5

The Future Fellowship may be awarded on a full-time basis, or a part-time basis if the Future Fellow needs to fulfil family and/or carer responsibilities. The Future Fellowship may be converted to (or from) part-time at any time to enable the Future Fellow to fulfil family and/or carer responsibilities, or with the prior approval of the ARC to pursue exceptional research opportunities, provided that the Future Fellowship does not exceed eight years from the date of commencement (excluding any approved periods of suspension and/or maternity and/or partner/parental leave).

See also D8.2.5 DECRA

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Future Fellows—flexibility

Screenshot_FT_Feature

ARC website article featuring Dr Erica Donner who is a Future Fellow at the University of South Australia.

Link: ARC Future Fellow to investigate microbial silver resistance.

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Future Fellows—success rates

Future FEllows success rate

Chart showing Future Fellowships success rates 2009–2017.

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 Participation and success rate of Future Fellowships 2017 Candidates by gender and career age*

 Participation and success rate of Future Fellowships 2017 Candidates by gender and career age*

 

* Career age is calculated as years since PhD.

Chart showing participation and success rate of Future Fellowships 2017 Candidates by gender and career age.

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Comparison of Future Fellowships success rates between female and male participants from 2009 to 2016

Comparison of Future Fellowships success rates between female and male participants from 2009 to 2016

 

Source: Gender equity data.

 

Comparison of Future Fellowships success rates between female and male participants from 2009 to 2016.

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Australian Laureate Fellowships

The prestigious Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme supports outstanding Australian and international researchers and research leaders to build Australia’s research capacity, undertake innovative research programs and mentor early career researchers.

Up to 17 five-year Australian Laureate Fellowships may be awarded each year, providing a salary supplement of $121,762 plus on-costs, in addition to:

 

  • a Level E professorial salary provided by the Administering Organisation; 
  • funding for up to two Postdoctoral Research Associates (five years) and two Postgraduate Researchers (four years); and 
  • up to $300,000 per annum project funding.

The objectives of the Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme are to:

  • attract and retain outstanding researchers and research leaders of international reputation
  • support ground-breaking, internationally competitive research
  • provide an excellent research training environment and exemplary mentorship to nurture early-career researchers
  • forge strong links among researchers, the international research community and/or industry
  • expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability 
  • enhance the scale and focus of research in the Science and Research Priorities.

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Australian Laureate Fellowships—success rates

Australian Laureate Fellowships—success rates

 

Australian Laureate Fellowships success rates 2009–2017.

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Australian Laureate Fellowships—success rates by gender

Australian Laureate Fellowshipssuccess rates by gender

 

Australian Laureate Fellowships success rates by gender 2009–2016.

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Grant writing tips—Overall

  • All grants that are successful should provide exciting new outcomes and be an excellent investment
  • Decisions will align with Scheme Objectives
  • Not all excellent proposals can get funding; most applicants will be disappointed

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Insights into grants process 

  • Consider where to apply for funding; choose a scheme. 
  • Pay attention to eligibility and ARC cross scheme limits
  • The scheme objectives and the selection criteria—address every one of them
  • Choosing Field of Research Codes—assisting the ARC choose the right assessors
  • Track Record—career interruption—the ROPE provision
  • The scale of assessment 
    • The external assessor—1-2 proposals
    • The ARC panel member—10-50
    • ARC Panel meeting—150-400
  • The rejoinder  
  • Understand the research field and international context. Develop your ideas to solve a research problem. 
  • Network with leaders in the field. Consider the research environment when applying. 
  • Apply by yourself or as a team member….
  • Career interruptions—making a case for ROPE
  • Seek mentors on writing good grant applications
  • Your first grant application  
    • Write for your peers—write so that  someone broadly in your field will understand  your project
    • Write for  the public—write a plain English statement
  • Don’t over-inflate authorship claims but don’t undersell yourself either 

 

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Research Opportunity and Performance Evidence (ROPE)

  • The ARC is committed to ensuring all eligible researchers have fair access to competitive funding through the National Competitive Grants Program.
  • The ARC considers that Research Opportunity comprises two separate elements:
    • Career experiences (relative to opportunity)
    • Career interruptions
  • Performance Evidence is designed to provide assessors with information that will enable them to contextualise research outputs relative to the opportunity of a participant. 
  • The ROPE Statement (released Feb 2014) is online

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Low ranked proposals:

  • Use too much technical jargon
  • Make grandiose and implausible claims about outcomes
  • Don't support claims of excellence or progress with evidence
  • Relate to research areas without momentum
  • Are weakly linked into national and international research networks

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Low ranked proposals also: 

  • Emphasise the collection of data rather than the solution of controversies
  • Set a negative or depressive tone about the state of the subject in Australia
  • Contain a high rate of spelling and grammatical errors
  • Are badly structured and difficult to follow

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Responding to an assessment/rejoinder

  • Read the assessments then wait at least a day before starting the rejoinder
  • Approach it constructively
  • The rejoinder is to help College of Experts to seek applicant’s views on criticisms made by peers
  • Don’t get angry at the assessor—you’re wasting valuable space to address important concerns

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Considering Research Impact

  • Research Impact means the demonstrable contribution that research makes to the economy, society, culture, national security, public policy or services, health, the environment, or quality of life, beyond contributions to academia.
  • It is included in objectives and selection criteria
  • The ARC is seeking better communication about research outcomes

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Research Impact Pathway 

Examples only:

Inputs

Activities

Outputs

Outcomes

Benefits

  • Research income
  • Staff
  • Background IP
  • Infrastructure
  • Collections
  • Research work and training
  • Workshop/Conference organising
  • Facility use
  • Membership of Learned Societies and Academies
  • Community and stakeholder engagement
  • Publications including e-publications
  • Additions to national collections
  • New IP: Patents and Inventions
  • Policy briefings
  • Media
  • Commercial products, licences and revenue
  • New companies—spin offs, start ups or joint ventures
  • Job creation
  • Implementation of programs and policy
  • Citations
  • Integration into policy
  • Economic, Health, Social, Cultural, Environmental, National Security, Quality of Life, Public Policy or Services
  • Higher quality workforce
  • Job creation
  • Risk reduction in decision making

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