CHASS
17 August 2017
Professor Joanne Tompkins

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Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA)

The DECRA scheme provides 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. 

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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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).

  • Childcare and/or parental care
  • Illness
  • Other forms of employment; unemployment
  • Remote location
  • Move from overseas.

Priorities: gender, equity

  • funding for enabling carers to attend conferences.

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Insights into grants process (1)

  • Address every scheme objectives and selection criteria
  • Choose Field of Research Codes carefully: they assist ARC in selecting the right assessors
  • Write in plain English for assessors (College of Experts members) who will be outside your discipline
  • Provide a compelling Project Description with a sound methodology.

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Insights into grants process (2)

  • Understand the research field and international context. Develop your ideas to solve a research problem 
  • Network with leaders in the field 
  • Seek mentors in your field and beyond
  • Don’t over-inflate authorship claims but don’t undersell yourself either: provide strong performance evidence, closely aligned with the Project
  • Spend some time on the rejoinder.