Considerations for applicants

The following information has been provided in response to questions received about Education's Strategic Research Fund. If you are unable to find the answer to your question please contact: higher.education@det.nsw.edu.au

Can indirect costs of research be included in the budget request?

Only direct costs of research projects should be included in the project budget, to be funded by grant money. Indirect costs of research (sometimes referred to as administrative overheads) should not be included in the project budget and are expected to be in-kind contributions by the administering organisation.

ARC has awarded us $400,000 over two years for a project aligned to Education’s strategic research goals. What’s the maximum amount we can apply for in the Leveraging Grants stream of funding?

Leveraging grants projects can request up to 20% of their ARC funded amount, or $150,000, per year whichever is lower. In this case, the maximum per annum project amount would be $80,000 each year for two years.

Can we structure our budget with consideration to the total maximum possible funding?

Project budgets should be structured with consideration given to the maximum per year funding amount in a given stream.

Do we only list the Lead Researcher as ‘in-kind’ or should all salaried researchers be listed as ‘in-kind’? How should research assistants and contracted employees be included in the budget?

The lead researcher's time must be an in-kind only commitment from the administering organisation. The department is seeking a demonstrated commitment from the administering organisation and lead researcher to support the project.

Other salaried academic staff members' commitment to the project should be expressed as cash (for teaching relief/buyout), or in-kind, or a combination of both.

'Additional project labour costs' refers to research assistants or contracted staff required to complete the project.

Additional rows can be added to the budget table as needed.

I work in a university outside of NSW, am I eligible to apply for Education’s Strategic Research Fund?

Lead researchers must be employed at a NSW public university. However, we encourage responses from teams of researchers spanning more than one university, including from other states and territories.

You may wish to reach out to colleagues from a NSW university to discuss the possibility of a joint project proposal.

Can I (as a researcher) be included on more than one application?

Yes, although of course consideration should be given as to whether you will be able to participate in all funded projects.

I am a Department of Education employee that has been approached by an Administering Organisation to a part of an application. Am I able to be included in the application?

No. Department staff are not eligible to be part of an application for these grants.

We strongly encourage university researchers reaching out to teams within the department to scope a suitable project and prepare their proposal. The project proposal must come from the researchers, but they may seek support and expertise from teams within the department for their proposed project.

Can our project start date be later in 2021?

All projects awarded funding need to begin before the end of June 2021.

Our ARC Linkage/Discovery project is under review for funding to commence in 2021, are we eligible to apply for a Leveraging grant?

No, only post-award projects are eligible to apply for a Leveraging grant in this round. Projects that receive ARC funding in 2021 may be eligible to apply in subsequent funding rounds.

Our ARC Linkage/Discovery project was scheduled to finish at the end of 2020, but we have applied for an extension due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Are we eligible to apply to a Leveraging grant?

Yes. Proof that an extension had been sought from the ARC is required, and funding awarded under the Leveraging grants stream would be contingent on this extension being granted by the ARC.

Do I need to apply for State Education Research Applications Process (SERAP) approval?

SERAP approval is required for researchers wishing to conduct research in all NSW government schools, irrespective of student involvement, including:

  • pre-schools
  • primary schools
  • secondary schools
  • central schools
  • community schools
  • environmental education centres.

SERAP should also be used by researchers who wish to conduct research using extant data (existing data sets and summary statistics) held by the department. Research cannot be conducted in NSW public schools, or using extant data, without SERAP approval.

Do researchers need to have secured SERAP approval to be eligible for funding?

SERAP approval does not need to have been granted in order to submit an application. 

A successful application cannot proceed if they do not receive SERAP approval before the project start date and funding will need to be returned.

We have an industry partner, should we include a letter of support from them?

Yes, a letter from the partner outlining their contributions (financial or in-kind) to the project should be included as part of your application.

Do the universities of all members listed on the research team, except the lead investigator, need to be partner universities?

Any organisation contributing resources to the project, or whose support is required for the project to be achieved, should be listed as a partner organisation.

Can we include citations in our application? Do they count towards the word limit?

Yes, you can include citations as footnotes or endnotes. Discursive footnotes or endnotes should not be included.

Is there a limit to the number of applications that can be submitted from an administering organisation?

No, there is no limit to the number of applications from an administering organisation.

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