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The Category 1 Self-Assessment – Frequently Asked Questions is designed to assist universities to self-assess their R&D income, in conjunction with the Higher Education Research Data Collection Specifications, to determine if it can be reported as Category 1.
1. One of our projects in funded by a scheme that has two stages; the first stage rates projects submitted on whether the research proposal meets a quality threshold – would this scheme be eligible?
As long as projects at both stages are selected through a competitive process using a panel of qualified experts, income from such projects can be reported as Category 1.
2. What if my project budget is mostly for direct costs of the project, but there is provision for some equipment and travel costs?
As long as the funding is primarily for the direct costs of the research project, you can report the entire project income.
3. The project/scheme predominantly provides subsidised travel and/or accommodation, where the basis of the funding source is to support travel and/or accommodation, is it eligible?
A project or scheme is not eligible where:
- Its primary intent is to subsidise costs associated with attending conferences, workshops or meetings.
A project or scheme is eligible to be considered as Category 1 where:
- A small proportion of grant funding is intended to subsidise travel costs, and
- Travel and accommodation costs funded by the project or scheme are related to legitimate research-related fieldwork.
4. The funding we receive is mostly for infrastructure, we use this infrastructure for R&D purposes – is this eligible?
The following expenses are considered infrastructure and are not eligible to be reported as Category 1:
- Capital expenditure
- Non-capital expenditure on facilities such as libraries, laboratories, computing centres, animal house, herbaria, experimental farms
- Salaries of research support staff providing general institutional support
- Equipment not required specifically to support research activities funded by the scheme
5. Can we claim funding that was only advertised in a state-based newsletter and available to all researchers in that state?
Nationally advertised means that opportunities for awareness of funding are equally available across Australia. Any project or scheme with limited distribution would rule out the income from such a source to be claimed as Category 1.
6. Our R&D income comes from a scheme where a professional body advertises its funding opportunities in its newsletter, which goes to members in all states of Australia.
As this advertising is restricted to members only, it is not available more widely to non-members. While it is advertised nationally, it only reaches a sub-section of the higher education sector due to its targeted distribution, and so such funding would not be eligible.
7. Our R&D income comes from an organisation which has a branch in each state and territory so provides funding across all of Australia, but each state runs its own selection exercise for researchers in that state. Can we claim that income as Category 1?
Applications that are restricted to state based researchers does not comply with this criterion. This also applies to projects that can include any Australian researcher but require a Chief Investigator to be from a particular state or from an institution based in a particular state.
8. What happens if an Australian entity, which is part of an international organisation, provides funding to its international body to manage the application selection process?
- If the funding is pooled with other funds from around the world and researchers are assessed on a world-wide basis, the funding is income from an international source and should be reported under Category 3.
- If the funding is retained as a separate pool available solely for Australian researchers, the international body is acting as an agent for the Australian entity and the funding is an Australian grant and eligible to be reported as Category 1.
9. How do we determine if funds are advertised nationally if the distribution list is blocked (e.g. BCC’d) in the announcement email?
- If the details of the funds and application process are advertised on a website that can be viewed by the public and there are no restrictions on who can view the details, the funds are deemed to be advertised nationally. If the details are not available on the Internet, we suggest contacting the scheme manager to enquire if and how the scheme is nationally advertised.
- Advertised nationally means that the scheme manager uses one or more communication channels, such as via a website, a distribution list or national newspapers, to make the scheme widely known to all potential researchers who may wish to apply.
10. Does the project or scheme providing the funding need to have an annual budget of $1 million or more, now that the ACGR no longer applies?
Under the move to self-assessment, HEPs will be allowed to consider projects and schemes for Category 1. Accordingly, the criterion of $1 million or more no longer applies for R&D income that can be considered for Category 1.
11. We collaborate on an NHMRC project led by another HEP. The lead HEP, which acts as the administering institution, receives all the project funds directly from the NHMRC. The administering institution provides our HEP with $200,000 of NHMRC funds for out contribution to that project – can we claim this as Category 1?
As long as there is an arrangement between the administering institution/administering organisation and the collaborating institutes which has been made clear in either the original application or in the agreement between the funding body (in this case NHMRC) and the research institutions, then such income would be considered to be shared income and eligible as Category 1.
12. A researcher who holds an ARC grant totalling $300,000 moves to a new HEP in Australia. The original HEP had already claimed $180,000 of those funds as Category 1. Both HEPs agree to transfer the grant, of which there are $120,000 in remaining funds; a request is submitted and approved by the ARC. Can the new HEP claim the $120,000 now received from the ARC as Category 1?
The new HEP would be able to claim the remaining $120,000 as Category 1 income because the funder (ARC) has agreed to the arrangements.
13. A researcher who holds an industry grant worth $200,000 has spent $120,000. The researcher moves to a new HEP in Australia. Both HEPs agree that the remaining $80,000 of funding can be transferred to the new HEP and this is approved by the funder and documented. The original HEP had already claimed the full $200,000 as Category 3. Can the new HEP claim the $80,000 now received from the industry funder as Category 3?
The new HEP would be able to claim the $80,000 as Category 3 income as there is documented evidence of the funder agreeing to this arrangement. The previous HEP would need to report this as a negative transaction i.e. -$80,000 Category 3.
14. What are some examples of income that could be classified as sub-category 1.7 Other?
- At the time of writing, income from the following schemes, which are listed on the 2018 Australian Competitive Grants Register, are examples that can be considered to be sub-category 1.7:
- Bupa Health Foundation (research component only)
- Prostate Cancer Foundation Research Program
- National Heart Foundation of Australia Vanguard Grants
15. We receive research income from the Defence Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) which was awarded through a competitive process. Can we claim this as Category 1 income?
All CRC income must be classified as one of the three Category 4 sub-categories, irrespective of whether it was provided by a competitive selection process. Please refer to section 5.4 of the 2018 HERD Specifications for further details.
16. We have entered into a research agreement with a funding organisation which may or may not be Australian. What steps should we take to correctly determine whether this research income can be considered Australian?
For a scheme or research grant to be defined as Australia, there must be a direct link to and involvement of an Australian organisation in the actual application review and selection process, as well as any decision in determining the final allocation of funding. Furthermore, for a scheme to be Australian, the funding must be administered by an Australian organisation. This definition would allow international partnerships such as the NHRMC-EU schemes, but exclude schemes which are run by an international body (of which Australia is a member.)