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Eligibility matters

Eligibility matters

Under the Australian Research Council Act 2001, the Minister must not approve for funding any application that fails to meet the eligibility criteria set out in the relevant scheme Funding Rules/Grant Guidelines.

All applications are assessed against the eligibility requirements in the relevant scheme Funding Rules/Grant Guidelines. The ARC may recommend that an application that does not meet the requirements be deemed ineligible.

It is the responsibility of all participants intending on applying for funding from the ARC that they ensure they read and comply with the current scheme Funding Rules/Grant Guidelines.


Researcher Roles

Your employment status is the main determinant of whether you are eligible for a Chief Investigator (CI) or Partner Investigator (PI) role. The difference between these roles is not related to your intended level of involvement or full-time equivalent (FTE) on the project.

Chief Investigators
All CIs must consider how many grants they currently hold (including with other Eligible Organisations) against the limits under the relevant scheme Grant Guidelines. CIs must consider that they are required to reside predominantly in Australia for the duration of the project.

Partner Investigators
Researchers should ensure they do not meet the eligibility requirements of a CI under the relevant scheme Grant Guidelines if they wish to apply as a PI. PIs must secure cash, or in-kind contribution or other resources from their own organisation for the project (having regard to the total cost of the project and the relative contribution of other investigators).

Director Roles
Schemes that require a Director role state that researchers intending to undertake this role must meet the eligibility criteria for a CI along with additional requirements for example, be employed by the Administering Organisation at the commencement of and for the duration of the project and responsible for implementing the strategic direction and managing the research program/project. Please refer to the relevant scheme Grant Guidelines for further eligibility requirements for a Director role.

Award of PhD 
Schemes that require researchers to hold a PhD at the closing time of submission of applications should assess their eligibility based on their award date of their PhD against the relevant scheme Grant Guidelines. Award of PhD means the date of conferral of a PhD, not the date of submission of the thesis, nor the date the thesis was accepted by the examination board.

Exemptions or significant career interruptions may apply; researchers should consult the relevant scheme Grant Guidelines for further details.


An ARC Fellow or Award recipient cannot concurrently hold more than one ARC Fellowship or Award. Some schemes have restrictions on the number of times applications can be submitted.

An ARC Fellow or Award recipient cannot concurrently hold a Fellowship from another Commonwealth funding agency.

Number of Applications, Funded Projects and Cross-Scheme Eligibility

Each scheme under the National Competitive Grant Program (NCGP) has defined project limits, which help the applicant to determine whether a researcher is eligible to be named on a grant.

Project limits are designed to ensure that named participants in ARC-funded research projects have the capacity to undertake their proposed and active project(s).

It is the responsibility of the applicant to determine if applying for, or holding, a project will affect an individual researcher’s eligibility for other ARC grant opportunities.

How many projects can a Chief Investigator or Director hold under ther NCGP? 
The diagram below shows the maximum number of active projects that can be held concurrently across the schemes and programs of the NCGP1
Noting, a researcher may only hold one Director role.

ARC Project limits graphic
There are no application or project limits for named participants on a Special Research Initiative for Australian Society, History and Culture grant.

When thinking about applying, a researcher must consider how many active projects they will be named on at the active project assessment date, and whether their other applications will also count towards the project limits.

Further information is available in the relevant Grant Guidelines, and examples will be available in scheme-specific FAQs available on GrantConnect.

1. These limits are relevant for the following grant opportunities: Australian Laureate Fellowships for funding commencing in 2020 and 2021, Future Fellowships for funding commencing in 2020 and 2021, Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards for funding commencing in 2021 and 2022, Discovery Indigenous for funding commencing in 2021 and 2022, Discovery Projects for funding commencing in 2021 and 2022, Linkage Projects for funding applied for in 2020 and 2021, Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities for funding commencing in 2021 and 2022, Industrial Transformation Training Centres for funding commencing in 2020 and 2021, Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding commencing in 2020 and 2021, and Centres of Excellence for funding commencing in 2023.

2. Scheme name acronyms used in the diagram are as below:

  • DP = Discovery Projects
  • IN = Discovery Indigenous
  • DE = Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards
  • FT = Future Fellowships
  • FL = Australian Laureate Fellowships
  • LP = Linkage Projects
  • ITRP = Industrial Transformation Research Program (i.e. Industrial Transformation Training Centres and Industrial Transformation Research Hubs)
  • CoE = ARC Centres of Excellence
  • LIEF = Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities
  • SRI = Special Research Initiatives
  • LASP = Learned Academies Special Projects

Organisational types

Administering/Eligible Organisations
An application may only be submitted by an Eligible Organisation listed in the relevant scheme Grant Guidelines

The Eligible Organisation that submits the application will be the Administering Organisation and all other Eligible Organisations listed on the application will be Other Eligible Organisations or Collaborating Organisations, depending on the scheme requirements.

Other Eligible Organisations
Other Eligible Organisation means any Eligible Organisation which is identified in the application as a contributor to the project but is not the Administering Organisation.

Other Organisations
Organisations which are not Eligible Organisations but which are listed on the application will be Other Organisations or Partner Organisations, depending on the scheme requirements.

Partner Organisations
Partner Organisation means a national or international organisation, other than an Eligible Organisation, which satisfies the eligibility requirements for a Partner Organisation and is to be a cash and/or in-kind contributor to the project.

For schemes that include Partner Organisations, the organisations need to consider if they meet the eligibility requirements under the relevant scheme Grant Guidelines.

Incomplete or Misleading Information

It is a serious offence to provide false or misleading information to the Commonwealth. If the ARC considers that an application is incomplete, inaccurate or contains false or misleading information, the ARC may in its absolute discretion decide to recommend that the application not be approved for funding.

Examples of misleading information and misconduct include providing fictitious information about research opportunity and performance evidence, plagiarism, making false claims in publication records and making false claims in relation to qualifications and/or appointments.

Medical Research

A research application will be deemed ineligible for funding under the Discovery ProjectsDiscovery IndigenousDiscovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA), Australian Laureate Fellowships, Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities and Centres of Excellence schemes if it is primarily and substantially aimed at understanding or treating a human disease or human health condition.

Definition of Medical Research can be found on the ARC website and within the relevant scheme Grant Guidelines.

The ARC’s Medical Research Advisory Group (MRAG) is responsible for providing additional technical advice regarding medical eligibility for selected applications to the ARC’s National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) Eligibility Committee. Please see the Medical Research Advisory Group Frequently Asked Questions for further information.

Submission of applications

Administering Organisations must submit applications through the Research Management System (RMS) unless otherwise advised by the ARC. RMS is a web-based system used to prepare and submit research applications, assessments and rejoinders.

All applications must meet the format and content requirements, including certification, as set out in the RMS form and the Instructions to Applicants. All applications must be submitted by the scheme deadline advertised on the ARC Funding Calendar page. Additions, deletions and modifications will not be accepted after submission, unless invited by the ARC.  

Eligibility Matters for Research Grants Services clients

The ARC is providing grants administration services through Research Grants Services (RGS) to other Australian Government entities who are managing grant programs focused on the university and research sector. The eligibility process will be administered by the ARC on behalf of those Australian Government entities. 

The eligibility process for grant rounds managed through RGS may be different to the eligibility process for the ARC’s NCGP grant rounds. Specific information on eligibility processes for RGS grant rounds can be found on the RGS website for individual grant rounds for which a different eligibility process is undertaken. 

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