Self Assessed Category One Income – Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

As long as the funding is primarily for the direct costs of the research project, you can report the entire project income.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

  • 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.
  • 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 mans 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.

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.

  • Any R&D funds that the university/HEP receives via a third party may not be reported as Category 1. For instance, the CRCs provide Commonwealth funding to universities, this in an example of funds from the Commonwealth via a third party. Such income should be categorised as Category 4.

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.

  • 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.&:
    • Bupa Health Foundation (research component only)
    • Prostate Cancer Foundation Research Program
    • National Heart Foundation of Australia Vanguard Grants

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.

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.)