The ARC Funding Process is summarised in this flow chart. For more information on individual aspects of the Funding Process, please expand the text under the headings below.

Funding Rules/Grant Guidelines

Every funding round begins with the development of Grant Guidelines (formerly Funding Rules)—the blueprint describing the eligibility criteria and accountability requirements for Applications.

The Grant Guidelines are developed in consultation with the research community in Eligible Organisations. 

Grant Guidelines are approved by the Minister, on advice from the ARC. Please visit the Funding Rules/Grant Guidelines page for further information.

Submission of Applications

Guidance Material

In addition to Grant Guidelines for each scheme, the ARC provides a range of guidance material for applicants including Instructions to Applicants and Frequently Asked Questions—all of the supporting documentation is available with the Grant Opportunity published on the GrantConnect website. The documentation covers all aspects of the requirements for submitting a proposal, including instruction on using the ARC’s Research Management System (RMS).

Requests Not to Assess

Applicants may provide a written request to the ARC naming assessors they do not wish to assess their Application. They can nominate up to three assessors per Application without the need for justification unless the Request Not to Assess names a current ARC College of Experts member. Requests nominating an ARC College of Experts member must be accompanied by comprehensive evidence justifying the request.  

In extraordinary circumstances, the ARC may consider a request for more than three persons whom the Administering Organisation does not wish to assess an Applicationonly if direct and comprehensive evidence justifying the exclusion of each named person can be provided. The Administering Organisation must directly support the justification in writing, and provide appropriate justification and substantive evidence. However, if the ARC considers the evidence insufficient for one or more of the named people, the whole request may be rejected. 

The ARC does not support removing leading researchers in the field from the assessment process unless exceptional circumstances are demonstrated.

Please visit the Request Not to Assess process page for further information. 

Eligibility

To be considered for funding, Applications must meet eligibility requirements specified in the scheme Grant Guidelines. Only the Eligible Organisations listed in the scheme Grant Guidelines may submit Applications. Applications must also meet the format and submission requirements in the scheme ‘Instructions to Applicants’ document. Eligibility is determined by ARC staff and is an independent and parallel process to the assessment process undertaken by assessors.

Every Application is initially checked by the ARC against the eligibility criteria set out in the relevant scheme Grant Guidelines. 

The NCGP Eligibility Committee considers all eligibility issues identified by ARC staff or assessors. If the Committee finds that the Application is potentially ineligible, the Administering Organisation may be asked to provide further information to provide clarity on the issue.  Any information provided in relation to such a request must be consistent with the content of the original Application. The Committee considers any further information provided by the Administering Organisation and an eligibility recommendation is made to the ARC CEO.

Possible eligibility issues identified by Detailed Assessors or General Assessors should be communicated separately and directly to the ARC as soon as possible by email to ARC_NCGP@arc.gov.au. These issues are kept strictly separate from the assessment process.  

Integrity

The ARC Research Integrity and Research Misconduct policy is available on the ARC website. Research integrity issues that are brought to the ARC’s attention are reviewed by the ARC Research Integrity Committee. 

Possible research integrity issues identified by Detailed Assessors or General Assessors should be communicated directly to the ARC as soon as possible by email to researchintegrity@arc.gov.au. These issues are kept strictly separate from the assessment process.

Assessment

Most ARC grant schemes involve Detailed and General Assessors in the peer review process.

Detailed Assessors provide ratings and comments against the scheme specific selection criteria for the Applications to which they are assigned. Examples of the level of detail required from Detailed Assessors are available in the Assessor Handbook.

Applicants may respond to Detailed Assessor comments through the rejoinder process.

General Assessors undertake an initial assessment of the Applications against the scheme selection criteria. They then take into account information in the Detailed assessments and rejoinder before submitting their final ratings.

The Detailed and General assessment ratings are used to formulate a ranked list of Applications which is used as the basis of discussion at the scheme selection meeting.

You can find more detailed information about this process on the Peer Review Process page.   

Selection Meeting

At the selection meeting, the Selection Advisory Committee (SAC), made up of General Assessors, discusses the relative merits of proposals. The SAC provides the ARC CEO with recommendations as to which proposals should be funded and the extent of funding for successful proposals. 

You can find more detailed information about this process on the Peer Review Process page.

Approval of funding

ARC CEO’s recommendation

On advice from the Selection Advisory Committee, the ARC CEO makes funding recommendations to the Minister, who reviews and approves proposed expenditure.

Notification

Once the Minister has approved and announced the details of funded Applications, the ARC will notify Administering Organisations of their Application outcomes via their Research Office. Applicants are notified whether their Application has been successful, unsuccessful or determined to be ineligible.

At the conclusion of each process, a selection report is published on the ARC website providing an analysis of funding outcomes for the scheme round, and a list of successful Applications.

Feedback to Applicants

The type of feedback provided varies from scheme to scheme. Where an Application is determined to be ineligible, the ARC will advise the Applicant accordingly. Applicants may also receive additional feedback from the ARC where an Applicationhas not been recommended for funding.    

Grant Agreements

Administering Organisations that have been successful in having Applications funded are provided with a Grant Agreement, outlining the terms and conditions by which any successful Projects must be administered. Funding for successful Projects may only begin after the appropriate delegates of the Administering Organisation and ARC have accepted the Grant Agreement in the Research Management System.

Appeals process

The Grant Guidelines for the various ARC grant schemes provides for an appeals process. Appeals will be considered only against process issues and not against committee decisions or assessor ratings and comments. Appeals must be using the Appeals Form. The form must be lodged through the relevant Administering Organisation's Research Office and be received within 28 days of the date on the letter notifying the outcomes of Applications.

You can find further information about the Appeals process on the Appeals process page.