Background

The Australian Research Council (ARC) is a statutory agency within the Australian Government. Its mission is to deliver policy and programs that advance Australian research and innovation globally and benefit the community.

This sponsorship policy has been developed to ensure that the ARC responds consistently and appropriately when approving sponsorship. The policy aims to establish a clear position on what is acceptable and unacceptable in relation to the ARC’s sponsorship involvement. 

Sponsorship is a business relationship between the ARC and another agency, entity or organisation where there is a reciprocal exchange of benefits between both parties, that is, one that helps the recipient achieve their goals and the ARC to address one or more of the Australian Government’s policy objectives. Consequently, sponsorship is generally considered a procurement with support usually provided in cash. The value of sponsorship arrangements can vary from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. 

Certain sponsorships may be considered grants. The Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines – July 2014 establish the overarching Commonwealth grants policy framework and articulate the expectations for all agencies subject to the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). As sponsorship is considered a grant the Rules and Guidelines should be taken into consideration.

This policy is designed to guide the decision making process for the CEO when approving/not approving sponsorship proposals and/or requests. 

Benefits

Any sponsorship arrangement that is offered by the ARC must: 

  • be paid to a recipient other than the Commonwealth
  • help the recipient achieve its goals
  • help achieve one or more policy objectives of the Australian Government
  • provide high level promotion for the ARC
  • promote the values of the ARC and the benefit of science and research.

Any event sponsored by the ARC must:

  • align with ARC objectives, within the context of the broader objectives of the Australian Government
  • target audiences that have a direct interest in the outcomes of ARC programs
  • have branding value (i.e. media opportunities, branding opportunities, speaking opportunities and/or strategic partnership opportunities).

The sponsorship must include:

  • ARC logo, content and/or imagery placement (i.e. website, presentation slides, flyers etc.)
  • event branding (i.e. banners or signage present and/or handouts available)
  • if applicable, access to floor space as a participant at the host’s exhibition showcasing the benefit of the ARC and the benefit of science and research.

Costs

While sponsorships can offer an array of benefits, associated costs are often overlooked. This may include advertising, printing, hospitality or personnel expenses.

All known sponsorship opportunities should be pre-negotiated with that financial year’s budget bid. New and one-off sponsorship requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis and in consideration of budget allocation.

The method of assessment will depend on the size of the sponsorship budget, the scale of the sponsored activity and the risks involved.

Discretion to “not” sponsor

The ARC retains the discretion not to sponsor any organisation/event for any reason in alignment with this policy. 

Legal and policy issues

The ARC must consider the following legislative and policy requirements when assessing sponsorship proposals: 

Submissions will be considered where the following requirements and undertakings are made:

  • organisations or individuals seeking sponsorship clearly set out their proposal and provide information on other sources of funding and specific financial and other details of the event
  • costs, risks and benefits of supporting the sponsorship proposal are adequately assessed, including extent of alignment with the ARC’s goals and objectives and value for money
  • agreement to the terms and conditions of the sponsorship occurs before any sponsorship money is paid
  • milestones and reporting requirements are met before any progress payments are made
  • sponsorship money is used for the purpose for which it is given
  • the Commonwealth’s contributions are appropriately recognised in any publications and at the sponsorship event, with early advice to the Minister’s Office on any potential Ministerial involvement or associated Government profile
  • recipients who breach terms and conditions of a sponsorship agreement, resulting in an amount repayable to the Commonwealth, must be pursued for recovery in accordance with internal recovery procedures.

Evaluation

The ARC will evaluate each sponsorship agreement at the conclusion of that agreement or event. This information will be kept on file to assist with assessing future sponsorship of the same nature.

Approval

Requests for sponsorship must be approved by the Chief Executive Officer or the Executive General Manager. The Chief Financial Officer will provide guidance as required.

The over-riding principle is to ensure any expenditure on sponsorships aligns with the ARC’s policy objectives/strategic goals and of course that it is publicly defensible.

Sponsorship provided by the ARC is generally considered a procurement as the substantiative purpose of the arrangement is to acquire advertising space etc. and to help the recipient achieve one or more policy objectives of the Australian Government. All sponsorships will be made public on the ARC website and reported in the ARC Annual report.

Further information

This policy has been produced and is maintained by Stakeholder Relations. 

If you have any queries or concerns please contact the Director, Stakeholder Relations at the Australian Research Council.