FAQs - The UNSW Research Infrastructure Scheme

Answers to frequently asked questions about the scheme and the application process

For any questions that are not listed below, please contact pvcresin@unsw.edu.au

What is new in 2018?

Compared to 2017, there have been some changes to the 2018 round of RIS:

  • To facilitate the application process, there are now University-wide, common deadlines for submission of applications. The scheme opens and closes earlier than last year so announcement of outcomes can also be made earlier. Key dates are available on the RIS website
  • Updates to the application form, including:
    • a separate application form for cross-Faculty Infrastructure Projects;
    • a completed and signed Site and Services Checklist must be attached to application;
    • the application must be submitted as a single pdf file;
    • for complex quotes, a one-page summary or clear identification (e.g. by highlighting) of relevant items should be provided.
  • Updates to the guidelines, including:
    • applicants may now be named on two proposals of any kind plus one MWAC Infrastructure Project in the same funding round;
    • cross-Faculty Infrastructure Projects are described in more detail; 
    • cross-Faculty Infrastructure Projects are no longer reviewed by a Specialist Panel;
    • "rainy day" funds (e.g. funds for potential future repairs) have been added to the list of ineligible items;
    • the formula used to calculate the funding allocation for each Faculty has been adjusted.
Are multiple applications to be submitted for cross-Faculty or Faculty/ MWAC Infrastructure Projects?

Yes, identical applications have to be submitted to each Faculty/ MWAC involved.

Some of the named participants on my application are from other Faculties. Does this constitute a cross-Faculty/ MWAC Infrastructure Project?

No, projects are only considered as cross-Faculty/ MWAC Infrastructure Projects if the requested funds are split over more than one Faculty and/or MWAC.

What are the success rates for this scheme?

Success rates for the scheme are not available as they cannot be given accurately. Faculties might have different internal procedures, for example a call for Expressions of Interest to select proposals for full applications, hence success rates are not representative.

What are the submission deadlines for the scheme?

Key dates for the scheme together with guidelines, application forms, templates and other resources are available on the RIS website.

How do I check whether my application duplicates already existing infrastructure at UNSW?

You are encouraged to check that the infrastructure you are applying for does not already exist at UNSW. Information on the shared equipment available at UNSW, including a database to search for UNSW shared equipment, is available here

As this database is currently still under development, the PVC (Research Infrastructure) is also reviewing applications for duplication.

Can I include participants external to UNSW on my application, including from overseas?

No, all applicants must be members of the academic staff of UNSW, and on the payroll of UNSW or have been formally appointed to UNSW according to established processes for Conjoint or Clinical appointments for Area Health Services or associated research institutions (refer to the guidelines for more details on eligibility criteria). However, if deemed of strategic value, collaborators external to UNSW can be mentioned in the application, for example under "strategic purpose of request" or "research programs/groups supported".

Will all Network Labs have to implement a cost recovery mechanism and what does that mean?

Yes, all funded Network Labs are expected to implement a cost recovery mechanism to at least partially recover their operating costs (e.g. visits by the service engineer, spare parts, maintenance, reagents). This might mean charging user fees in the form of hourly instrument charges or subscription fees etc. The PVC (Research Infrastructure) will help with setting up an appropriate mechanism for funded Labs. The intention is to keep cost recovery simple and non-onerous. The mechanism does not have to be fully refined at the application stage - the question on cost recovery mechanism in the application form simply aims to get the conversation started.

I am setting up a new lab at UNSW, should I submit an application for a Network Lab?

No, these types of projects are not intended to fund the establishment of a new lab or capital works. Network Labs aim to facilitate access to and use of already existing research equipment/infrastructure at UNSW by providing research support staff to operate this equipment/infrastructure, provide training, etc. As for any application under this scheme, there also has to be appropriate space already available to house the Network Lab. You cannot ask for space or building services works under this scheme.

Do I really have to provide three quotations with my application?

Yes, for each individual item over $30,000 (incl. GST) three quotations should be attached to the application. If your application is successful, you will still be able to choose the supplier you prefer regardless of potential cost savings. Only in special circumstances can fewer quotations be accepted and this must be fully justified. An example can be highly specialised equipment, which is only provided by a single supplier.

For each individual item under $30,000 (incl. GST), one quote should be attached, whereas quotes are not required for items under $3,000 (incl. GST).

Do I have to use the Request for Quotation template provided?

You are encouraged to use this template, as this will ensure suppliers are aware of the UNSW requirements that have to be met, and hence are able to set pricing accordingly. If awarded the funds, you might also be able to raise the Purchase Order based on this RFQ without the need for obtaining another quotation, since the RFQ template incorporates UNSW requirements and asks for a six-month quotation validity.

If my application is successful, what is the timeline for raising a Purchase Order? Can the purchase be made this calendar year?

Awards are announced mid November 2017, hence there will only be a narrow window between the announcement and the annual shutdown of the finance system. Realistically, it is not likely that a Purchase Order could be raised in 2017. Furthermore, the funds will only be released to successful applicants in January 2018.

Who should I contact for advice on allocation of space?

Your first point of contact should be your Head of School/ Centre and the General Manager or Infrastructure Manager of your Faculty. Where new space allocation is involved, be aware that you will also require University-level approval.