The Discovery Projects scheme provides funding for research projects that can be undertaken by individual researchers or research teams.
The objectives of the Discovery Projects scheme are to:
- support excellent basic and applied research by individuals and teams
- encourage high-quality research and research training
- enhance international collaboration in research
- expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability
- enhance the scale and focus of research in the Science and Research Priorities.
The Discovery Projects scheme provides project funding of between $30,000 and $500,000 per year for up to five consecutive years. This may include a Discovery International Award to support Australian-based researchers working overseas or overseas researchers working in Australia on a project. Project funding may also be used for: personnel, for example, research associates or assistants and technicians and stipends for higher degree by research students; teaching relief; access to research and infrastructure facilities and technical workshop services; essential field research; expert third party services; equipment and consumables; publication and dissemination of outputs and outreach; specialised computer equipment and software; travel costs essential to the project; web hosting and development; workshops, focus groups and conferences; and essential support costs for researchers who are carers or who personally require care or assistance.
Further details can be found on the ARC webpage
We strongly advise that you commence an application on RMS as soon as possible. This will enable the Grants Management Office (GMO) and Research Strategy Office (RSO) to track your progress and ensure that you have all the strategic, and eligibility and compliance support you need.
|Applications Open||10 December 2018|
|GMO Request Not to Assess||Monday 11 February, 12noon|
|GMO Internal Deadline||Wednesday 30 January 2019|
|Final Application to GMO||Monday 25 February 2019 - 9am|
|ARC Deadline||Wednesday 27 February 2019|
|Rejoinder Period||12 to 26 June 2019|
|Anticipated Announcements||*Fourth Quarter 2019|
*Please note that these are approximate dates and are subject to change
**New process for requesting the ARC to review an Assessment:
During the Rejoinder period, the participants and Research Office staff may identify an assessment that contains inappropriate elements, as detailed below, and may wish to have this reviewed by the ARC.
To request the ARC to review an assessment, an ARC Assessment Review Request form (PDF Format - Word Format) must be submitted through the Research Office of the Administering Organisation. The form must be received within 3 days after opening of the Rejoinder period for all NCGP schemes with the exception of Linkage Projects where the form is to be received within 2 working days from the Rejoinder opening due to the nature of the scheme.
- For NCGP schemes other than Linkage Projects, this means, if Rejoinders open on the Wednesday, forms must be received by COB Friday.
- For Linkage Projects, if Rejoinders open on the Wednesday, forms must be received by COB Thursday.
Criteria that may be considered by the ARC for review:
- Defamatory comment/s
- Evidence of assessor conflict
- Discriminatory/biased comments
- Brief assessment text (less than 50 words)
- Scores included within the assessment text
- Assessment text does not match with application
- Comments in the assessment regarding application eligibility
- Comments in the assessment regarding the National Interest Test statement (not applicable in all schemes)
- Comments in the assessment regarding Research Output display errors.
Discovery Projects 2020 Resource Page Contents
- UNSW DP20 Certification Form | Centre Director Letter confirming non-duplication of work
- Request Not to Access (RNTA) Process
- Compliance & Eligibility Advice (Grants Management Office | GMO)
- Strategic Advice (Research Strategy Office | RSO)
- GMO Successful Grants Library
- ARC Medical Research Policy
- ARC Documentation
- Strategic Templates
- Application Toolkit and Budget Information and Resources
- Research Management System
- Adding your ORCID iD (important new feature to reduce repetitive entry into RMS applications)
UNSW DP20 Certification Form
It is a UNSW requirement that you obtain written certification from all persons and organisations participating in your project prior to submission to the ARC.
Who should complete and sign this form:
- Each Chief Investigator (except for the lead-investigator)
- Each Partner Investigator
- The Organisation of each PI. The form should be signed by the CEO or delegate of the Organisation. (NOT required for overseas organisations.)
- The Collaborating Organisation of each CI. The form should be signed by the DVCR or delegate (e.g. Director, Research Office, DVCR) of the University. NOT required for CIs from UNSW.
- Other Organisations named on the proposal at ‘A3-Organisation Participant Summary’. The form should be signed by the CEO or delegate of the Organisation.(Not required for overseas organisations)
Please submit your certifications by email to your Compliance Advisor
Centre Director letter confirming non-duplication of work
If you are associated with a Commonwealth-funded Research Centre, your Centre Director must provide written confirmation to the Grants Management Office that the project is not duplicating work that is already funded or could reasonably be expected to be funded by a Centre. Please note: this confirmation is only required where you are a named investigator in the Centre. It does not apply to, for example, Research Associates, Research Assistants or for ARC Centres of Excellence, Associate Investigators.
Please copy the template email text below and send to your Centre Director for them to attach their email signature and return to you. Please then forward the approved email to your GMO Compliance Advisor or email@example.com.
Dear Grants Management Office,
I confirm that the proposed research in <DP20XXXXXX> does not duplicate work that is already funded or could reasonably be expected to be funded by this Centre.
<Insert Centre Director name and signature>
Applicants may name up to three person potential assessors whom they do not wish to assess their Proposal by submitting a Request Not to Assess Form. (RNTA)
In extraordinary circumstances, the ARC may consider a request for more than three persons only if direct and comprehensive evidence justifying the exclusion of each named person can be provided. However, the ARC has now clarified that if they consider the evidence insufficient for one or more of the named people in any request of more than three, the whole RNTA may be rejected, including the initial three.
In addition if a person nominated on a Request Not To Assess form is an ARC College of Experts Member, comprehensive evidence justifying the exclusion of the College Member will also be required - Check the complete list of ARC College of Experts
All intending applicants should initiate an application on RMS as soon as possible.
You will be advised of the details of your Compliance Advisor shortly after the UNSW internal deadline of Wednesday 30 January 2019 or once you have submitted your application to Research Office on RMS. As soon as your Proposal is ready for Compliance and Eligibility Review (all sections GREEN in RMS ) Submit the proposal to the GMO via RMS by clicking on "Submit to the Research Office" button. This will enable the RSO and GMO to track your process and ensure that you have all the advice and eligibility and compliance support you need.
Note that the ARC will not respond directly to enquiries from researchers – they request and expect that enquiries are made through the Grants Management Office. For RMS technical issues, please contact the Systems Team- firstname.lastname@example.org
ARC Discovery Projects Eligibility
As per subsections 5.10 and 5.11 of the grant guidelines, the ARC will calculate limits of projects and applications as at the closing time of submission of applications (and may re-calculate this limit as other grant opportunity announcements are made (and End of Year Reports are submitted) by totaling:
5.10. A named participant can be concurrently funded through the Discovery Program for a maximum of;
a. two projects as a CI; or
b. one ARC Fellowship and one project as a CI;or
c. one ARC Fellowship or project if the individual is also a CI or Director on an active ARC Centre of Excellence or Special Research Initiative project.
5.11. ARC will calculate the limits of projects and applications at the closing time of submission of applications, and may re-calculate this limit as other grant opportunity announcements are made, by totalling'
(a) the number of Discovery Program CI roles or ARC Fellowships that the individual will hold on active projects as at the relevant active project assessment date;
(b) the number of ARC Centres of Excellence and Special Research Initiatives CI and/or Director roles that the named participants will hold on active projects as at the relevant grant opportunity active project assessment date; and
(c) the number of Discovery Program applications (the ARC) are currently assessing which include that individual as a CI or candidate.
5.14. Notwithstanding the above, applications for Australian Laureate Fellowships, Future Fellowships, ARC Centres of Excellence or Special Research initiatives will not count towards the above limits.
5.15. Named participants on successful applications for Australian Laureate Fellowships, Future Fellowships, ARC Centres of Excellence or Special Research initiative projects must meet the project limit requirements. This may be achieved by relinquishing existing project(s) or relinquishing role(s) on existing projects, or withdrawing application(s), where allowed, that would exceed the project limits. You must nominate and adequately justify the proposed relinquishment(s) if these applications were successful. The ARC will determine the outcome of Your nominated relinquishment(s)
- Note: RMS contains new functionality in application forms that will determine whether key eligibility requirements have been met by participants.
- The application form will prevent any participant from submitting an application where they have an overdue Final Report for any ARC-funded projects. You will be able to see the Project ID where there is an overdue Final Report and the form part will be ‘invalid’.
- Where project and application limits have been breached the application form part will be invalidated and the form will not be able to be submitted to the ARC.
- The ability to submit a valid application form to the ARC, does not mean that participants have met all eligibility requirements. You will still need to ensure that comprehensive checks have been made so that participants comply with the eligibility requirements set out in the grant guidelines.
- Note that eligibility may be checked at any stage of the assessment process.
- Discovery Program projects or applications do not count towards the cross-grant opportunity eligibility limits for the Linkage Program.
Eligibility to apply
E3.6 To be eligible as a CI, the individual nominated must, as at the grant opportunity closing date have met their obligations regarding previously funded projects, including submission to the ARC of satisfactory final reports.
E3.7 An individual is not eligible to be nominated as a CI if, as at the grant commencement date, or during the project activity period, the individual is undertaking an HDR. Individuals are eligible to be a CI if they are undertaking an HDR during the application period and the HDR is conferred prior to the grant commencement date.
Eligibility to hold
E3.8 As at the grant commencement date, and for the grant activity period, the CI must meet at least one of the following criteria:
a.be an employee for at least 20 per cent of full time equivalent (0.2 FTE) at an Eligible Organisation
b.be a holder of an honorary academic appointment (as defined in the Glossary) at an Eligible Organisation.
E3.9 A CI must reside predominantly in Australia for the project activity period. Any significant absences including fieldwork or study leave directly related to the project must have approval from You and must not total more than half the project activity period. In extraordinary circumstances, changes must be approved via a Variation.
Eligibility to apply
E3.10 A PI must not be eligible to be a CI as at the grant commencement date.
E3.11 To be eligible as a PI, the individual nominated must, as at the grant opportunity closing date, have met their obligations regarding previously funded projects, including submission to the ARC of satisfactory final reports.
Eligibility to apply
E3.12 A PI must not meet the eligibility criteria for a CI during the project activity period.
E3.13 An employee of an Eligible Organisation who does not reside predominantly in Australia may be a PI.
The Research Strategy Office (RSO) is available for strategic advice on the scope, nature and suitability of any proposed project, how to address the selection criteria including track record, and general grantsmanship advice. RSO will review your proposal and if you would like strategic assistance in the development of your application please send your draft proposal as a Word file, to Grants.RSO@unsw.edu.au
The Grants Management Office houses a digital library of successful UNSW applications for a wide range of schemes, including ARC DP Projects. Consulting successful grant applications can provide ideas on structuring your proposal and a better understanding of the level at which your proposal should be pitched.
Conditions for viewing successful Grants:
- Access is restricted to UNSW employees and students. You must bring your current UNSW Staff ID card with you when you visit the library.
- The applications may only be viewed at the Grants Management Office. Grants will be viewed digitally, but no part of the application is permitted to be printed, digitally copied nor photographed. You may take notes.
Make an appointment to visit the Library:
Email your request to email@example.com, from your UNSW email account, including the following information:
- Name, position and school/Faculty (e.g. your UNSW email signature)
- The scheme(s) you would like to view (e.g. "ARC Discovery Projects")
- Scheduling requirements, preferred date and time i.e morning or afternoon
Bookings are essential, to ensure availability please request a booking 2 working days prior to the time you would like to visit the library.
(Version 2018.1 is effective from 11 September 2018)
The ARC definition of medical and health research includes laboratory-based studies, clinical studies and group/community-based studies that aim to understand the causes, treatment and/or prevention of human diseases and/or the maintenance of human health. The ARC does not fund Discovery Projects with these aims.
Applications will be considered ineligible for funding under the ARC’s National Competitive Grants Program if they include pre-clinical or clinical medical or health research, including investigations in which humans, animals, or their tissues are used to assess new treatments (including chemical, pharmaceutical, electronic, mechanical, bioengineering treatments), interventions or tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat, understand, diagnose or manage a human disease or medical condition.
- ARC Discovery Program Guidelines (2018 Edition) v1
- ARC Discovery Program Funding Rule Changes (2018)
- ARC FAQ's & Cross scheme Eligibility
- ARC DP20 Instructions to Applicants
- ARC DP20 sample application
- ARC Changes to Grant Guidelines to include National Interest Test
Under the Discovery Indigenous and Discovery Projects grant opportunities (Parts D and E respectively): (a) in making recommendations to the Minister the CEO will consider the applicant’s response to the National Interest Test; (b) the CEO will seek information from Administering Organisations on applications where there is concern about how they meet the National Interest Test based on the information provided in the application form; and (c) the CEO will make grant recommendations to the Minister that satisfy the National Interest Test and which are eligible for funding.
A6 - National Interest Test Statement
(This question must be answered)
- Outline the extent to which the research contributes to Australia’s national interest through its potential to have economic, commercial, environmental, social or cultural benefits to the Australian community. Write Your description of national interest simply, clearly and in plain English. (No more than 1125 characters, approximately 150 words).
- In accordance with E6 of the grant guidelines:
- On the application form, applicants must provide a separate response on the national interest of the research proposal.
- As set out in Section 9, the SAC makes recommendations to the CEO on which applications should be approved for funding, which applications should not be approved for funding, and the level of funding and duration of each grant.
- In making recommendations to the Minister the CEO will:
- consider the recommendations from the SAC;
- consider the applicant’s response to the National Interest Test;
- seek information from Administering Organisations on applications where there is concern about how they meet the National Interest Test based on the information provided in the application form; and
- make grant recommendations to the Minister that satisfy the National Interest Test and which are eligible for funding.
The ARC no longer publishes Funding rules, documentation and guidelines on their website. All scheme documentation is now published on GrantConnect. You will need to sign in and create a User Registration account in GrantConnect to access all relevant documentation for Grant Opportunities. Go to the GrantConnect website.
You will be required to use your UNSW zID and password to access these documents;
- Part C1 Project Description
- Part F1 - Justifications of Funding Requested from the ARC
- Part F2 - Details of Partner Organisation & other non ARC Contributions
- Part G1 - Research support for all participants
- Part G2 - Statements on progress of ARC - Funded projects
- Part D7 - ROPE - Details of Participants academic career and opportunities for research
- Part D18 - ROPE - Research Outputs
You will be required to use your UNSW zID and password to access these documents
- RSO presentation (5 February 2019) - Knowing your Assessors
- Salary Scales for Grant Budgeting - Details of UNSW Salary Scales. Use these worksheets to budget academic, professional and casual salaries with appropriate on-costs for 2020.
- The 2018/2019 ATO Rates can act as a guide for sourcing travel rates and indicate the maximum amount permitted. You should only request what you know you need - ATO rates are primarily aimed at business travel and as such, may seem high for some destinations. If you have experience travelling to certain areas and thus know what a realistic figure would be, this should be used in place of the ATO rates.
- UNSW preferred Travel agents: Voyager, STA, Campus and Anywhere Travel. Travel booked via UNSW preferred suppliers are automatically loaded into MyTrips.
- DP20 Travel Budget Advice - UNSW Advice on completing the travel budget section of your DP20 application **NEW
- Commercial airlines / travel sites / other travel agents: Travellers my book directly with airlines or through other travel sites e.g. qantas.com.au or webjet.com.au. If travel is booked through these sites, then you must record your travel details in MyTrips as the University is required to maintain a record of where travellers are at any time.
- Mark Wainwright Analytics Centre - The Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre (MWAC) is part of the Division of Research. We manage major instrumentation used by researchers for the study of the structure and composition of biological, chemical and physical materials. Our facilities are housed in custom-built laboratories, mainly in the Lowy, Wallace Wurth and Chemical Sciences buildings.The Centre's major Research Facilities are accessible to all staff and students of UNSW, as well as to external researchers. Government and industry users are also welcome. Staff of the Centre provide research collaboration, technical support, education and training to researchers accessing the facilities.
UNSW Stats Central is available to provide a free statistical review of 2019 grant proposals. All applicants are strongly advised to make use of this service. Stats Central is UNSW’s statistical consulting and collaboration unit, a Strategy 2025 initiative based in the Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre. The unit offers free study design advice to UNSW researchers, and applications are allocated to a suitable reviewer by Dr Nancy Briggs. It is advised that you consult with a statistician as early as possible when preparing design/analysis aspects of your grant proposal, ideally before you start writing it. Before submitting for review, you can also consult checklists which provide guidelines on statistical design and presentation of research data for publication, for example:
- A General Statistical Guide for Grant Applicants by Martin Bland et al, for St George’s, University of London, and the St. George’s Statistics Guide Checklist, to work out which parts of the guide are relevant to your application.
- Stats Central Resources
Research Technology Services - Data Management - It is important for you to maintain good data management records and practices with considerations about proper data storage, access, retention and reuse. Having good data management records and practices allows you to uphold the quality and integrity of your data, which contributes to maximising the impact of your research. The ResData system allows you to create an Research Data Management Plan (RDMP) to capture project details, data classification, IP and copyright, arrangements including but not limited to data storage, access and re-use. Creating an RDMP on the ResData system also allows you to provision storage on the Data Archive, a secure, long-term data storage solution for UNSW researchers. You are strongly encouraged to start an RDMP on the ResData system at the beginning of your project, and continue to keep it up-to-date until the end of your project.
- See Advice for Addressing Management of Data
Research technology Services can provide Information on suitable technology/facility, access and usage costs for budgeting in relation to computing (HPC or Cloud), data storage and: suitable computing platforms (cloud or HPC), data sharing and data storage. For further information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional resources for budget preparation can be found on the GMO Budget Preparation Resource Page
Additional information on Resources and Services can be found on the Applying for a Grant Resource page
For complete details in budget and expenditure refer to the ARC Discovery Program Grant Guidelines 2018
E4.1 The grant money can be used for the activities set out in Section 6.4 of these grant guidelines (see below), subject to the following limitations:
- teaching relief for CIs may be supported up to a total of $50,000 per year per project; and
- economy travel costs for domestic and/or international travel may be supported up to $50,000 over the project activity period. Travel and accommodation costs related to carrying out field research or any carers’ costs are not included in this $50,000 limit.
Section 6.4 ARC Discovery Program Grant Guidelines 2018 Grant money may be requested and used for budget items that directly support the research project contained in an application, including the following items:
- access to national and international research and infrastructure facilities including specialist archives, collections and databases;
- access to technical workshop services linked to and justified explicitly against the project (for example, machine tools and qualified technicians);
- expenditure on field research essential to the project, including technical and logistical support and travel expenses (accommodation, meals and incidental costs) (see Parts C to E);
- expert services of a third party if the services are directly related to and essential for the project. Such services include, but are not limited to:
(i) language translation services, transcribing services;
(ii) purchase of bibliographical or archival material (electronic or hard copy); and
(iii) data collection and analysis services;
- equipment (and its maintenance) and consumables essential for the project. Funding will not be provided for equipment or consumables that are considered to be for broad general use;
- publication and dissemination of project research outputs and outreach activity costs;
- personnel, for example postdoctoral research associates, research assistants, technicians and laboratory attendants. Salary support must be requested at an appropriate salary level for Your organisation, including 30 per cent on-costs. Where the relevant parts of these grant guidelines contain a specified salary level, only funding up to this level may be requested from Us;
- stipends for HDR candidates at a rate of $27,094 per year ;
- specialised computer equipment and software essential to the project;
- travel costs essential to the project, as specified in the relevant part of these grant guidelines (see Parts A to E);
- web hosting and web development specific to the project;
- workshops, focus groups and conferences that are essential for the conduct of the project (including reasonable hospitality costs such as morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea); and
- reasonable essential costs to allow a participant who is a carer, or who personally requires care or assistance, to undertake travel essential to the project (see Parts A to E).
ARC funds cannot be used for:
Section 6.7 ARC Discovery Program Grant Guidelines 2018 You cannot request or use grant money for the following activities:
- bench fees or similar laboratory access fees;
- capital works and general infrastructure costs;
- costs not directly related to the project, including but not limited to professional membership fees, professional development courses, fees for patent application and maintenance, equipment for live music or drama performances, equipment for gallery/museum exhibits, visas, relocation costs, entertainment costs, insurance, mobile phones (purchase or call charges) and other indirect costs;
- fees for international students or the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) and Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) liabilities for students;
- salaries and/or on-costs and/or HDR stipends for CIs or PIs, in whole or in part; and
- salary top ups for personnel above the salary level specified in these grant guidelines.
Your budget must be realistic, accurate and precise. A considered and well justified budget contributes to the feasibility aspect of your project when under assessment and may also translate into a higher level of award funding
RMS is a web-based system used to prepare and submit research applications, assessments and rejoinders for all Australian Research Councils Grant Programs. Registered users can login in using your email address and password at https://rms.arc.gov.au. To request a new account, go to https://rms.arc.gov.au and click on the Request New Account link.
Key documents and links
- RMS User Management Guide
- Submitting a Proposal in RMS
- Submitting a Rejoinder in RMS
- Grant Administration
New feature in RMS - Research Output auto-population in RMS
From November 2018, researchers will be able to auto-populate their research output data into their ARC RMS person profiles and application forms. This auto-population could occur a number of ways including exporting data from ORCID and BibTeX, using a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to automatically harvest output metadata.
How to Access and Update your Personal profile:
Login to RMS 2.0
On your home screen, known as the ‘Action Centre’, find the ‘Person Profile’ section
Click on each of the Personal Profile sections in turn (‘Personal Details’, ‘Qualifications’ and ‘Employment’) and enter your details where any fields are blank.
How to Request a New Account:
If you have never had an RMS account, visit the RMS 2.0 homepage and click “request new account”. A new screen will appear where you can enter your details.
- Under “Admin Organisation”, select “The University of New South Wales”. This allows UNSW to administer your account and track your proposal once you commence an application
- Once you complete your details and click “register” at the bottom of the screen, you will be sent an automatic email asking you to validate your email address. Click the link to confirm your address.
- Your request will be sent to the GMO and ARC for approval. This may take several business days.
- Once approved, you will receive an automatic email with instructions for setting up your password. Once this is complete, you will be able to log in to RMS 2.0 and begin setting up your personal profile.
For RMS technical issues, please contact the Systems Team- email@example.com
From November 2018 researchers will be able to auto-populate their research output data into their ARC RMS person profiles and application forms.
What does this mean for researchers?
Your RMS ‘Person Profile’ will be enhanced to include your research output data. Your research output data will be harvested from ORCID by authenticating your ORCID ID in RMS and adding the ARC as a trusted party.
You can choose to enter the data manually, or alternatively, use the ‘bulk upload’ facility. Once the data is entered into your RMS person profile, it can be used to auto-populate proposals without having to manually create and update your documents each time you submit a project proposal.
These changes are now in place and all RMS users will be able to auto-populate their research output data in RMS, this will allow researchers to add their research output data from their ORCID profile directly into their Discovery Projects (DP) scheme 2020 application forms.