Articulating National Interest in Grant Applications
For schemes opening from 1 December 2022
A National Interest Test (NIT) statement is required for all Australian Research Council grant applications.
In these statements, researchers need to explain the benefits of their proposed research projects to the Australian public who fund that research.
These statements deepen community understanding of why public money is being invested in each research project, and help Australia’s policymakers, community, and industry draw on that research.
They also provide an opportunity to promote the excellent research being undertaken.
For NCGP scheme rounds that opened before 1 December 2022 – applicants should see: Articulating National Interest in Grant Applications (pre December 2022)
The following advice relates to writing National Interest Test statements for National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) scheme rounds open from 1 December 2022.
Audience for the National Interest Test
It is important to understand that the audience for the statement is the general public.
We are not looking for technical detail but for clear and easily understood explanations that identify the problem being addressed, the expected outcomes, and the beneficiaries of the research.
Applicants should avoid technical explanations or jargon that would not be understood by a member of the public without a background in the field of research. It should be written in plain English and be suitable for publication in popular publications and by the media.
A good way to check whether your statement is accessible to the public is by sharing your draft with colleagues in a different discipline or sector, or friends or family members not involved in research.
Considerations to address when writing a National Interest Test statement
There are three key considerations to address when writing a NIT:
What is the project about and what research gap is it addressing for Australia?
How could the research benefit Australians (economically, socially, environmentally, commercially, or culturally)?
How might you promote your research outcomes beyond academia to maximise understanding, translation, use and adoption of the research in future?
Applicants should address these three considerations in plain English as a single cohesive statement and directed towards a member of the public. Applicants should take particular care in addressing each element concisely - the statement is up to 200 words.
Note that the NIT statement is read in its entirety and the answers to the questions above can be across various sentences within the statement.
For more information:
The ARC has published a range of NITs for successful projects.
More Support and Guidance
Your university’s research office, communications team, or research sector peak bodies can help you to make your NIT clear and compelling.
Universities hold workshops on how to write grant applications including how to write plain English statements about the research outcomes.
The ARC Executive Directors are available to deliver presentations including on how to write grant applications (including NIT statements) and other ARC grant information. The ARC Executive Directors also proactively reach out to Research Offices to share the latest advice on a regular basis.