Overview

Special Research Initiatives are established to address specific research priorities and/or to build capacity in strategically important areas.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers' Network is a new initiative under the ARC's Special Research Initiativesscheme to establish a national network which will bring together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers from across Australia, from different research institutions, at different career stages and from a range of disciplines.

It is intended that the Network will have a dispersed presence, administered from a central 'hub' working with collaborative 'spokes' of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers throughout Australia. Each 'spoke' will be linked to a node. The Network will have at least four nodes in two or more States and/or Territories.

 

Objectives

As indicated in the Funding Rules for this Initiative, the objective of the Special Research Initiative for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers' Network is the delivery of a programme that will:

  • Connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers across Australian higher education institutes both within and across research disciplines to facilitate collaborative and innovative approaches to planning and undertaking research, and to enrich research training.
  • Build capacity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers at all career stages to undertake high quality research and lead research projects through
  1. encouraging excellent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers to draw on their experience and expertise to develop and lead research, research training and career development programmes and to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research students and early-career researchers
  2. providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research students and early-career researchers to develop their research expertise through structured research and research training programmes
  3. supporting a research and research training environment that acknowledges and is sensitive to the needs and cultural backgrounds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers
  4. applying for additional ARC (and other) research support for the Network's activities.
  • Encourage young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to pursue research careers in Australia.
  • Undertake integrated research programmes that build on research conducted by individuals and teams to advance research into Indigenous Knowledge Systems and increase understanding of how Indigenous Knowledge can help address contemporary challenges and bring cultural, social and environmental benefits to Australia.
  • Encourage and facilitate collaboration with international research groups working in areas of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and/or Indigenous researcher capacity building.
  • Gain repute in the wider community and serve as a point of interaction among higher education institutions, governments, and the private and community sectors.

 

Selection Process

The selection process was conducted in two phases commencing with a call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) phase followed by an invited call for full proposals.

A Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) was assembled, with members nominated on the basis of excellence in research and/or breadth of experience in the national and international research environment, to assess and recommend proposal(s) for funding.

EOIs for the Special Research Initiative for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers' Network opened on 22 December 2011 and closed on 27 January 2012. Four EOIs were received. The SAC assessed the EOIs and three were subsequently invited to submit a full proposal.

The invited call for full proposals for the Special Research Initiative for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers' Network opened on 3 April 2012 and closed on 25 May 2012. Two proposals were received.

The SAC reviewed the proposals against the Selection Criteria. The SAC prepared recommendations on the proposals, including a recommendation for the programme budget.

This report reflects the outcomes of the ARC recommendation to the Minister.

 

Selection Criteria

Selection Criteria and corresponding weights for proposals:

Investigators (30%)
Programme Quality and Innovation (40%)
Feasibility and Benefit (10%)
Governance  (10%)
Research Environment (10%)

 

Funding Levels and Duration

The ARC has committed up to $3.2 million over four years (subject to Parliamentary appropriations) commencing in 2012 for the Special Research Initiative for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers' Network.

 

Summary of Outcomes

A total of two full proposals were submitted to the ARC. Following the proposal selection process, one proposal is approved for funding, giving an overall success rate of 50 per cent. Please note that within this Selection Report recommended funding may include indicative funding amounts.

Table 1. Comparison of proposal numbers, funds requested and ARC allocated funds for the Special Research Initiative for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers' Network for funding commencing in 2012

Special Research Initiative for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers' Network

Proposals Submitted

Proposals Approved

Requested Funds Over Project Life

ARC Funding Allocated Over Project Life (Approved Proposal)

Total

2

1

$6,398,392

$3,198,392

 

Approved Funding

Table 2. Approved proposal for the Special Research Initiative for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers' Network for funding commencing in 2012

Special Research Initiative for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers' Network

Programme Leader

Administering Organisation

Total approved funds over project life

National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network

Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson

Queensland University of Technology

$3,198,392

 

Collaboration

The Special Research Initiative for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers' Network was developed with a view to engage a number of Australian universities, administered from a central 'hub' working with collaborative 'spokes' of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers throughout Australia, so that it would be a truly national collaborative Network.

The approved proposal involves one university as the Administering Organisation, and nine Collaborating Organisations made up of eight other universities and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and five Partner Organisations.

Table 3. ARC funding and cash and in-kind commitments from Contributing Organisations for the approved proposal for the Special Research Initiative for anAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers' Network for funding commencing in 2012

Administering Organisation

ARC Approved Funding

Contributing Organisations*

Cash

In-Kind

Queensland University of Technology

$3,198,392

$2,054,015

$3,383,908

*Contributing Organisations include Administering Organisation, Collaborating Organisations and Partner Organisations.

 

International Collaboration

International collaboration is a component of the Special Research Initiative for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers' Network. The approved proposal specifies two instances of international collaboration, with Canada and the United States of America.

 

National Research Priorities

The Australian Government has identified four National Research Priorities and, within these, 21 National Research Priority goals. Both proposals addressed the National Research Priorities of Promoting and Maintaining Good Health with the goal of strengthening Australia's social and economic fabric.