UNSW USA Networks of Excellence Grants

 

APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED

 

The Division of Research is committed to supporting the 2025 strategy and enhancing our global research partnerships.  A new initiative, the UNSW USA Networks of Excellence has been established to support this endeavour.

In order to develop new international research collaborations and enhance the profile of UNSW internationally, there is a need to support our researchers to develop new networks on the global stage.  The USA is the largest source of competitive international funding for UNSW.  UNSW has established a funding mechanism to enable researchers to travel to partner institutions in the USA for short-medium term travel, to initiate and/or progress international collaborative research partnerships.  


1. Objectives

  • Enhance the international profile of UNSW;

  • Foster the development of new research collaborations with leading international research groups;

  • Facilitate the development of competitive research proposals to USA funding agencies.

2. Expected Outcomes

  • Development of a robust collaborative research partnership sustainable beyond the duration and scope of the UNSW USA Networks of Excellence grant;
  • Joint research grant applications to USA funding agencies and/or joint publications in high ranking journals (such as Nature, Science group).

3. Funding

There will be two tiers of funding available:

  1. Mobility Grants – enabling travel/short visits by a UNSW researcher to partner institutions in the USA.  There will be 10 grants of AU$5,000 awarded for travel within a 12 month period;
  2. Bridging Grants – funding for UNSW researchers and their USA partners to explore concepts and ideas through small scale/pilot, collaborative research projects.  There will be five grants of up to AU$50,000 awarded for a duration of 24 months.

4. Eligibility

  • Open to all academic staff levels B-D at UNSW (Note: staff at Professorial level E are not eligible to apply, but may be listed as a mentor on the grant);
  • Evidence of standing of the proposed US institution (see USA Partner Institutions);
  • Preference will be given to new collaborations for Mobility Grants and for strengthening emerging collaborations for Bridging Grants.

4.1. USA Partner Institutions

Eligible USA partner institutions for UNSW USA Networks of Excellence funding should be in the top 50 out of any of the following world ranking lists (institutionally or by subject area):

Note: a USA Partner outside of the top 50 maybe be considered under some circumstances if a strong case is made for the standing of the institution and the value of the collaboration/collaborators.

4.2. Items eligible for funding

Mobility Grants

  • International travel and accommodation costs of the UNSW applicant only (not transferable to team members).

Bridging Grants

  • International travel costs of researchers and/or research students directly associated with and related to the execution of the project;
  • Living and hosting costs of visiting researchers and/or research students from each institution in line with UNSW policy & procedure including the UNSW Travel Policy and Procedure and related documents (note – newly updated Business Expenses Procedure);
  • Minor research costs associated with the project – not to exceed 25% of grant.

(Note: Research Assistant personnel salary costs are eligible to be included within the 25% minor research costs, however salaries for CIs or other salaried academics are not eligible items for funding.)

4.3. Items not eligible for funding

  • Salaries for CIs or other salaried academics;
  • Scholarships or top-ups for research students; or
  • Conference registration fees.

5. Reporting

  • A final report will be required at the close-out of the grant providing evidence of outcomes to date and expenditure against the awarded amount;
  • Grants must be fully expended within a 12 month (Mobility Grants) or 24 month (Bridging Grants) period.  Any unspent funds will be returned.

6. Application process

The lead investigators from both UNSW and the proposed USA partner institution should prepare a joint application using the application form provided and submit via email by the due date.  Applications will be assessed by a Selection Committee led by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), UNSW.

6.1. Selection criteria

  1. Quality of the expected outcomes and impact of proposed research collaboration;
  2. Track record of the applicant/research team, relative to opportunity;
  3. Alignment of proposal with purpose and expected outcomes of the fund;
  4. Strength of previous/existing collaborative activities (Bridging Grants) or benefits of establishing new relationship (Mobility Grants);
  5. The international reputation and ranking of the USA Partner Institution;
  6. Level and extent of commitment from partner institution.

6.2. Key Dates

Applications:  NOW CLOSED 

Announcements:  Successful applicants will be notified in early May, 2019 for grants to commence in May, 2019.

6.3. Submission


6.4. Frequently Asked Questions

Please note - this list will be updated on a regular basis.

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1. Are conjoint appointments eligible to apply as a lead investigator?

Conjoint researchers may apply as a lead investigator if they belong to the following institutions:

  • Children’s Cancer Institute
  • Black Dog Institute
  • Garvan Institute of Medical Research
  • Neuroscience Research Australia
  • Ingham Institute
  • Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute
  • Brien Holden Vision Institute
  • The George Institute for Global Health (applicable to conjoint appointments based in Australia only)
  • Centre for Eye Health
  • Mindgardens
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2. How much detail should I include in the application regarding the exchange activities?

As noted in the guidelines, exchange activities are a key element of the scheme. Therefore we advise that in your Project Proposal you provide information detailing all planned exchange trips, relevant investigators on each trip and activities to be undertaken in each country.

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3. Are there any restrictions regarding project topic areas for the grants?

No, the applications may be in any area of research across all disciplines at UNSW.

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4. For the mobility grants, can the $5,000 cover travel by the US partner to Australia?

No, the funding can only be used for travel by the UNSW lead investigator to the partner in the United States.

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5. Can I be the lead investigator on one application and 'other investigator' on another application?

Yes, you can be lead investigator on one application and 'other investigator' on another application as long as they are for different projects. NB – ‘other investigators’ are only permitted for bridging grants.

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6. Can I be the lead investigator on two separate applications?

You cannot be a lead investigator on two applications but you can be a lead investigator on one application and an ‘other investigator’ on another application (as long as they are for different projects). NB – ‘other investigators’ are only permitted for bridging grants.

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7. Do the mobility grants need to be based on a specific project, or can they be for a scoping exercise for a project?

Either option is acceptable.

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8. I am a PhD student - can I apply?

As noted in the guidelines, only UNSW academic staff levels B-D are eligible to apply for the grants, so PhD students would not be eligible to apply for the mobility or bridging grants. 

However, for the Bridging Grants, a PhD student could be listed on the application as an ‘other named investigator’, so you may wish to explore with your supervisor whether they would be interested in applying for a Bridging Grant as a lead investigator.

For Bridging Grants, the Guidelines state that eligible items for funding include:

  • International travel costs of researchers and/or research students directly associated with and related to the execution of the project;
  • Living and hosting costs of visiting researchers and/or research students from each institution in line with UNSW policy & procedure including the UNSW Travel Policy and Procedure and related documents (note – newly updated Business Expenses Procedure)
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9. Do USA partner institutions need to be in the top 50 in all 3 of the specified ranking lists, or only 1 of them?

The USA partner institution should be in the top 50 (institutionally or by subject area) in one of the specified ranking lists. 

Please note also that as mentioned in the guidelines, a USA partner outside of the top 50 maybe be considered under some circumstances if a strong case is made regarding the standing of the proposed partner/s as world leading groups/researchers and the value of the collaboration/collaborators.

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10. Is it possible to have more than one USA partner institute? And if so do they all need to be in the top 50?

You can have USA partners from more than one university, and only one of these needs to be in the top 50 (institutionally or by subject area). However please note that to be competitive, applicants need to make a strong case regarding the standing of the proposed partner/s as world leading groups/researchers and the value of the collaboration/collaborators.

To include additional partner institutions details and justifications please copy and paste the relevant sections of the form.

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11. Could US national government labs / research institutes and government agencies which are not universities be eligible partner organisations?

US Government research institutes and labs may be considered under some circumstances if a strong case is made regarding the standing of the proposed partner/s as world leading groups/researchers and the value of the collaboration/collaborators. 

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12. Are there any exceptions to the academic staff level B-D eligibility requirements?

For this scheme it is only possible for Level B-D academics to apply as Lead Investigators and there are no exceptions to this requirement. 

However it should be noted that for Bridging Grants academic staff Level A appointments may be listed as ‘other named investigator’, and Level E professorial appointments may be listed as 'other named investigator' and mentor.

For Bridging Grants, funding may be used for travel and living costs for researchers / 'other named investigators' directly associated with and related to the execution of the project. 

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13. Can the letter of support from the USA Partner Organisation come from the lead USA partner investigator?

As noted in the application form, the letter should ideally come from the head of the relevant department, school or institution. (If the lead partner investigator is also the head of the department etc the letter can come from the lead partner investigator.)

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14. What sort of contributions / commitment should be outlined in the letter of support from the partner organisation?

The letter of support should demonstrate the USA partner organisation's commitment to the collaboration and proposal, and detail all proposed contributions. There are no specifications on the type and level of commitment required from the partner institution however as noted in the guidelines this is one of the selection criteria for consideration by the selection committee. Examples of contributions include time/effort of collaborator, equipment, facilities, local hosting costs, travel etc

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15. For Bridging Grants can I add more rows for additional 'other named investigators'?

Yes you are welcome to add rows for additional ‘other named investigators’ to the table on page 3 of the application form. 

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