24 June 2019

The Australian Research Council (ARC) is currently finalising the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) scheme timelines for 2019-20. It is anticipated that the 2019-20 scheme timeline will be very similar to the 2018-19 timelines and will be published on the ARC website shortly. A Network Message will be issued to the sector when the timelines are published.

As always, our aim in drafting the timelines is to minimise the overlap of major scheme activities to best balance the workloads of researchers, research offices and assessors. As many will appreciate, this is a difficult task. To assist, the ARC has taken into account historical timelines, public holidays and major holiday periods, as well as the grant application periods for the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The ARC has also consulted with stakeholders including Research Office Directors, ARC College of Experts members and the NHMRC.

Future DECRA timeline change in 2020-21 

In consulting on the 2019-20 timelines, the ARC has also sought feedback about a proposed change to the application opening and closing dates for the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme, to align with the Future Fellowships scheme timeline—that is, a DECRA closing date in November instead of March. The change was proposed to alleviate excessive burden on researchers, research offices and assessors due to the current alignment DECRA and Discovery Projects schemes application closing times. 

Feedback received was supportive, hence this change will be implemented—but not until 2020-21 (DE22 round). This will allow applicants adequate time to prepare their applications for 2019-20 (DE21) and for potential future applicants (DE22 and beyond) to commence preparing for the new timeline. To support the transition to the new timeline, the ARC will ensure that eligibility periods for PhD conferral dates are adjusted so that no candidates are disadvantaged.

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