Funded Research

Applying for Research Funding Procedure (Pre-Award)

Policy Code: RS1925

Purpose

To provide a framework outlining the processes involved in applying for external funding for research activity at Federation University Australia.

Scope

The Procedure covers all categories of external funding for research activity, including funding awarded by national and international bodies, such as the ARC and NHMRC and all levels of government, as well as private industry, philanthropic and the community sector. This procedure applies to:

  • All staff, including sessional staff, employed by the University or any controlled entity;
  • All persons, including Honorary and Adjunct appointees of the University or any controlled entity;
  • Higher Degree by Research candidates who apply for or have been awarded external research funding or an externally funded scholarship stipend as part of their candidature.

Definitions

A complete list of definitions relevant to this Procedure is included below.

Term Definition
ARC Australian Research Council
Budget Costing Pro-Forma Finance excel spreadsheet used to develop research and consultancy budgets
Category 1 Income: Australian Competitive Grant R&D income Consists only of net-receipted income for research activity as defined by Department of Education and Training (DET) in the “HERDC Specifications for Category 1 Australian Competitive R&D Income”.
Category 2 Income: Other Public Sector R&D Income

Consists of R&D income received from the Australian public sector that is not eligible for inclusion as Category 1 income. Public sector agencies and authorities may include:

  • Businesses that are wholly or partly owned or funded by Commonwealth, state or territory, or local governments; have a board; and operate on a profit or cost-recovery basis.
  • Research and Development Corporations where they are statutory corporations or authorities.
  • CRCs, where the reporting HEP has not been defined within the Commonwealth Agreement as “The Researcher (CI)” or a “Participant” (i.e. was not a signatory to the Commonwealth Agreement, a CRC Participants Agreement, or a Company Constitution during the reporting period).
Category 3 Income: Industry and Other R&D Income Consists of R&D income received from the private sector, philanthropic and international sources that are not eligible as Category 1 or Category 2 R&D income.
Category 4 Income: CRC R&D Income

A Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is created through a Commonwealth Agreement with a Higher Education Provider (HEP).

Under Category 4, HEPs must report the R&D income from a CRC in which they were defined within the Commonwealth Agreement as a “Participant”, and are a signatory to the CRC‘s Commonwealth Agreement or Participant‘s Agreement. Category 4 CRC R&D income includes HEP income received from CRC Projects (CRC-P).

Charitable Trust/Foundation An organisation established for charitable purposes and recognised as such by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
Chief Investigator (CI) For the purpose of the Research Funding Policy and Procedures the Chief Investigator is the first named Federation University researcher on the project    
Contract/Funding Agreement

An agreement for the provision of R&D activities under specified negotiated terms and conditions in exchange for specified deliverables, signed by authorised personnel for all parties. For University purposes research agreements must include one or more of the following:

  • formal contractual agreements, including those requiring execution under seal;
  • letters of agreement;
  • variations.
Contract Research

Research and experimental development activities carried out under an agreement to provide research services under specified negotiated conditions in exchange for specified deliverables.

This may occur as a result of direct negotiations rather than a nationally competitive application process.

Controlled Entity A company over which the University has control within the meaning of section 3 of the Audit Act 1994 (Vic) and which has adopted this Procedure.
DVC (R&I) Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)
Direct Costs Costs directly attributable to undertaking the project including salaries and salary on-costs of staff engaged in the project, consumables,  travel, equipment purchases and other maintenance costs etc.
Funding Body An Organisation or Agency that provides funds for the purpose of conducting or supporting research activities.
Funding Expression of Interest (FEOI) form

Internal pre-award form used to obtain Dean or equivalent and DVC(R&I) approval to develop an externally funded research proposal.

Provides the Research Funding Team with preliminary notification of intention to apply.

Funding Submission Coversheet (FSC)

Internal pre-award form used to obtain Dean or equivalent and DVC(R&I) approval to submit a School or equivalent reviewed external research funding proposal.

Provides the Research Funding Team with application details for compliance and reporting purposes.

Indirect costs Infrastructure and overheads costs incurred by the University in support of research, including but not limited to existing facilities and equipment (e.g. laboratory and office space), technical and administrative support, libraries, computer services, telecommunications, power and lighting, building maintenance and cleaning.
NHMRC National Health and Medical Research Council
Partner/Collaborating Organisation

Partner or collaborating organisation generally refers to organisations who are listed on the proposal and will contribute to the development, delivery and outcomes of the research.

Partnership, roles, activities and contributions, including cash and/or in-kind, are agreed to via a contact/agreement signed by authorised personnel for all parties.

Project ID Unique project approval code assigned by Research Funding for internal reporting and reference purposes
Proposal or Research Proposal (application) Pre-award documentation for a research project submitted to an external funding body for consideration of award. This may be in the form of a prescribed competitive funding application, university-initiated proposal or draft contract
Research and experimental development (R&D)

The HERDC definition of research and experimental development, abbreviated as R&D, is consistent with the OECD definition of research and experimental development set out in the 2015 Frascati Manual. R&D is defined as:

‘creative and systematic work undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge – including knowledge of humankind, culture and society – and to devise new applications of available knowledge.’

For an activity to be an R&D activity it must satisfy all five core criteria:

  1. to be aimed at new findings (novel),
  2. to be based on original, not obvious, concepts and hypotheses (creative),
  3. to be uncertain about the final outcomes (uncertain),
  4. to be planned and budgeted (systematic), and
  5. to lead to results that could be possibly reproduced (transferable and/or reproducible).

(2020 HERDC Specifications, Pg 5, Section 3)

Research Funding Funding from an external source awarded to a staff member or HDR candidate to support their research activities.
Variation Any formal change to a project that is agreed upon by all parties via an approved signed agreement or formal correspondence. This may include, but be not limited to, changes to project budget, timeframe or milestones.

Actions

  1. Completing and submitting an application for Research Funding

      ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
    A. Approval to develop proposal

    CI

    Dean or equivalent

    Associate Dean Research (ADR)

    Research Funding Team

    • CI discusses potential research proposal and associated project activities with their Dean or equivalent;
    • In addition to Research Services policies and procedures, the CI is to adhere to any internal school or equivalent processes and requirements e.g. timelines, budget requirements, approvals etc.
    • CI and Dean or equivalent signs off the Funding Expression of Interest Form (FEOI);
    • Where the applicant is the Dean or equivalent, approval must be sought from a senior signatory e.g. DVC (Academic);
    • FEOI form lodged with the Research Funding Team at least 15 working days prior to the external funding body deadline, unless otherwise advised by the Research Funding Team;
    • CI will be notified if project is classified as ‘not research reportable’ (i.e. does not meet the criteria for HERDC R&D activity) and will be referred to the Staff Consultancy Policy;
    • DVC (R&I) or delegate signs off on FEOI form;
    • The Research Funding Team issues internal Project ID and notification of submission timelines;
    • CIs applying for Category 1 funding or schemes with specified restrictions (e.g. limited number of applications) may be required to adhere to additional timeframes and approval processes as outlined by the DVC (R&I).
    B. Development of Proposal

    CI

    Dean or equivalent

    ADR

    Research Funding Team

    • Adhering to funding body guidelines and instructions to applicants if applicable, the CI drafts the proposal.
    • CI may seek advice from their School or equivalent and the Research Funding Team during this process.
    • CIs applying for Category 1 funding may be required to adhere to additional application development processes as outlined by the DVC (R&I).
    C. Development of Budget

    CI

    Dean or equivalent

    ADR

    Research Funding Team

    Finance Office

    • Research budgets should be prepared following careful consideration of both the University policy (including compliance with the Competition and Consumer Act) and the funding body's requirements;
    • CIs must  use the Budget Costing Proforma to assist in the preparation of the budget, including the calculation of salaries and indirect costs (if allowable);
    • If the project includes a cash commitment from the University, the CI must also provide written confirmation from the source (e.g. Dean or equivalent, DVC (R&I)) that the school or equivalent will cover this commitment.
    D. Compliance Review

    CI

    ADR

    Mentor

    Research Funding Team

    • ADR and/or mentor reviews and provides feedback to the CI on the draft proposal, including technical/discipline content, grammar, spelling, etc.
    • CI submits draft proposal along with the Budget Costing Pro Forma, to the Research Funding Team as per the notification of submission timelines – nominally 10 business days prior to the external funding body deadline, unless otherwise advised by the Research Funding Team;
    • The Research Funding Team coordinates a compliance review of the full proposal, including liaising with Finance and Legal Offices, as required, and provides advice on eligibility and adherence to grant guidelines and/or other relevant documentation.
    • If required, the CI makes final amendments to the draft proposal and/or budget, following advice provided.
    E. Final Preparation

    CI

    ADR

    Dean/equivalent

    Research Funding Team

    • CI completes Funding Submission Coversheet (FSC);
    • Dean or equivalent signs the Funding Submission Coversheet (FSC), which is forwarded to the Research Funding Team together with the final full proposal, the Budget Costing Pro-forma and any supporting documentation such as confirmation of cash commitments (if applicable),
    • At least 5 working days prior to external funding body deadline, unless otherwise advised by the Research Funding Team
    • If applicable, the Research Funding Team check that any compliance feedback has been incorporated before the application is approved for submission to the funding body;
    • Research Funding Team forward the final submission ready application, FSC, Budget Costing Pro-Forma and related documents to DVC (R&I)
    • DVC (R&I) or delegate signs off and approves for proposal to be submitted to the funding body.
    G. Submission

    CI

    Research Funding Team

    DVC (R&I)

    • In most cases, the Research Funding Team submits the proposal to the funding body. In some instances, particularly for contract research and online applications, the CI may be responsible for submission.
    • At any time, the DVC (R&I) or delegate has the discretion to defer or reject proposals that have not been submitted through the appropriate channels, are deemed to be of a non-competitive nature, are non-compliant or the application includes unauthorised commitments, such as cash or in-kind support.

Responsibility

  • The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) (as the Approval Authority) is responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this Procedure
  • The Director, Research Innovation and Enterprise (as the Policy Sponsor) responsible for maintaining the content of this Procedure as delegated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation)
  • The Research Funding Team is responsible for the administration support for the maintenance of this Procedure as directed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation)

Promulgation

The Applying for Research Funding Procedure will be communicated throughout the University community in the form of:

  1. an Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the ‘Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University’ website to alert the University-wide community of the approved Procedure;
  2. distribution of e-mails to Head of School / Head of Department / University staff; and/or
  3. Notification to Schools or equivalent.

Implementation

The Applying for Research Funding Procedure will be implemented throughout the University via:

  1. an Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the ‘Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University’ website to alert the University-wide community of the approved Procedure;
  2. Staff induction sessions
  3. Training sessions

Records Management

Title Location Responsible Officer Minimum Retention Period
Funding Expression of Interest Form (FEOI) Research Services Director, Research Innovation and Enterprise 7 years
Funding Submission Coversheet (FSC) Research Services Director, Research Innovation and Enterprise 7 years
Budget Costing Pro Forma Research Services Director, Research Innovation and Enterprise 7 years
Research Funding Proposals Research Services Director, Research Innovation and Enterprise 7 years