Purpose

The purpose of this statement is to articulate the ARC’s commitment to early career researchers to support a strong, viable and diverse Australian research workforce.

Background

Encouraging broad participation, including through targeted funding schemes is a priority for the ARC to ensure that outstanding research and researchers contribute to achieving Australia’s research and innovation goals. 

The award of National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP)​​​ funding is predicated on excellence determined through a rigorous peer review process involving assessors with expertise in the nominated field of research.

To ensure an Australian research workforce that is relevant and sustainable, the ARC recognises that support and opportunities need to be available to early career researchers. 

Early career researchers can face specific challenges and may have differing demands on their time due to a variety of factors including family commitments and research career interruptions. 

Policies developed by the ARC ensure all eligible, high calibre researchers, regardless of their career stage, are able to have an opportunity to participate in its schemes and undertake research for the benefit of the Australian community.

The ARC considers early career researchers to be researchers within five years of conferral of the PhD.

ARC Support

The ARC supports early career researchers through Administering Organisations under the NCGP Discovery and Linkage programs – which comprise a range of schemes to support researchers at different stages of their careers, build Australia’s research capability, expand and enhance research networks and collaborations, and develop hubs and centres of research excellence.

In line with the principles outlined in the ARC Research Workforce Statement, the ARC supports researchers from diverse backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities and seeks to ensure that all eligible researchers have the opportunity to participate in its funding schemes. The ARC has a number of initiatives in place to support early career researchers. This includes a specific grant streams targeted at early career researchers including the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) and the Discovery Indigenous schemes.

The ARC undertakes to:

Excellence

  • support the highest calibre early career researchers

Participation

  • ensure that all eligible early career researchers have a fair opportunity to access NCGP funding schemes
  • provide targeted support for early career researchers as Chief Investigators through the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme
  • enable early career researchers to take up awards part time and have access to maternity and parental leave
  • ensure that all proposals are treated fairly and impartially in accordance with ARC grant guidelines and policies, and Australian Government Grants Guidelines 
  • ensure eligibility and selection criteria do not disadvantage researchers at particular career stages
  • ensure that any new funding schemes are designed and delivered to provide fair access to all eligible researchers
  • implement principles outlined in the Research Opportunity and Performance Evidence statement (ROPE) to ensure that all applications are assessed on the quality of their research outputs commensurate with the opportunities available to them and take into consideration career interruptions due to family and other reasons 

Flexibility

  • ensure that conditions of all awards are supportive of different career-life balance decisions
  • promote enhanced opportunities for diverse career pathways

Capacity

  •  encourage the mentoring of early career researchers through the Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme, Industrial Transformation Research Program and the ARC Centres of Excellence scheme.

The ARC also undertakes to:

  • engage with stakeholders to identify the most effective support mechanisms to encourage participation by early career researchers in the research workforce 
  • promote participation in ARC funded research by early career researchers
  • monitor and evaluate outcomes of its policies to ensure that all NCGP information is non-discriminatory, promotes positive attitudes and meets the Australian Government’s requirements for accessibility.
  • communicate achievements of ARC grants holders in a non-biased manner to celebrate the success of all participants

Expectations of Administering Organisations

ARC funding is provided to Administering Organisations not to individual researchers. In this context, the ARC expects Administering Organisations will encourage broad participation in research activities and:

  • provide opportunities early career researchers to develop their leadership and communication skills through targeted development opportunities
  • enable early career researchers to expand and develop their research leadership capabilities in leading research projects
  • provide ongoing training and education that promotes and supports responsible research conduct for all researchers and those in other relevant roles
  • ensure early career researchers have access to appropriate flexible working conditions
  • ensure policies and procedures are in place to encourage early career researchers including part-time candidacy and access to maternity and parental leave

Contact details

Stakeholder Relations
Australian Research Council 
Phone: 02 6287 6600 
communications@arc.gov.au
www.arc.gov.au 
Level 2, 11 Lancaster Place, Canberra Airport ACT 2609 
GPO Box 2702, Canberra ACT 2601