Does FRDC still do an Expression of Interest (EOI) call?
No. The EOI process no longer exists. Instead, proponents submit a ‘Research Application’ that sits between the previous EOI and the Full Applications in terms of detail sought.
How long does it take from when I apply to get a response from FRDC?
From the time of submission we are aiming to provide feedback to applicants within a 4-to-6-week timeframe.
What if several proposals are submitted for a priority area but none are promising?
Multiple applications seeking to address a named research priority are subject to the same evaluation process to ensure equity. If it is considered that none of the applications sufficiently address the priority (e.g., based on end-user feedback), the worst-case scenario would be that all applications are rejected. If this is the case, then the priority will be reviewed to determine whether any changes are required and then included in a subsequent Call for Investment Opportunities.
Can FRDC help link researchers with traditional custodians of the regions in which the research is to be undertaken?
As is the case with all projects it is strongly recommended that applicants engage with and integrate into projects (as co-investigators) where appropriate end-users and beneficiaries of research. The FRDC may be able to provide some assistance but in many instances (such as contact details), it will be better for the applicant to undertake this activity. FRDC does need to be mindful of how much assistance FRDC provides to applicants during the development of an application for probity reasons.
Are unsuccessful applicants advised of an unsuccessful application submission?
Yes. FRDC provides decision advice on all applications submitted through FishNet.
Will PhD projects be considered for priorities?
Yes, either as a standalone activity or embedded in a larger project. The PhD will need to demonstrate how it addresses a nominated priority or area within the FRDC R&D Plan.
Would it be possible to provide insights on the allocated budget to each project/priority? Understanding the budgetary constraints would greatly assist in tailoring FRDC’s proposals and recommendations accordingly.
There is no allocated budget to each project/priority and no set budget limit. The applicant is best placed to determine the costs associated with the proposed R&D based on the priority description to ensure the best possible outputs. Value for money is a consideration in the evaluation of an application but this does not mean that the “cheapest” application is preferred. The FRDC does also consider the relative GVP and contribution to the FRDC from a sector relative to the project budget and the potential benefits from the activity. The quality of the outputs and project design are considered when assessing value for money. It is important to provide sufficient justification for the budget and there are times when FRDC might seek additional clarification on the budget sought.
I’ve got a project idea which only addresses part of a priority - can I submit it for consideration?
Yes, you can. Though we would encourage you to be explicit in which elements of the priority you are seeking to address. We would also hope that you are open to collaborating with other research providers such that the full scope of the priority is addressed.
How much in-kind are you looking for in applications?
There is no set amount sought. Though in-kind contributions are considered as part of the application evaluation. All applicants should provide realistic estimates of in-kind. This includes consideration of the in-kind contributions of third parties participating in the proposed activities – such as working group member’s time etc.
FRDC also considers the level of cash contributions to applications. While not compulsory, cash contributions assist in justifying the need for the proposed activities. If an applicant would like to protect Intellectual Property within a project, the FRDC would expect a cash contribution to the project commensurate with the level of protection expected.
It would be great to understand the extension teams big picture plans and goals.
A: FRDC plans to cover this topic in a future webinar.
Do you fund the development of new tech or gear and trialling it?
Yes, and these sometimes form the basis of priorities.
Do I need support from the commercial / recreational / indigenous sectors to submit an application?
You are strongly encouraged to engage with the relevant sectors or end users and obtain their support. Most commonly, this would be a ‘Letter of Support’ and be submitted with your application.
What is the preferred method for contacting Research Advisory Committee Managers?
The best mechanism is via email. The extension officer in your jurisdiction is usually the best contact. You can find them here.
Is there a different approval process for different costed projects? I seem to recall that at one stage, projects over 150K had an escalated approval process.
No. The FRDC financial delegation process has been updated such that the Managing Director can approve applications for any quantum of funds that are considered a low-to-medium risk. Applications that are considered ‘high-risk’ are taken to the FRDC Board for consideration. Risk is assessed on the following criteria:
- Is the application outside of any strategic plan or identified priority?
- Is there a risk to FRDC’s reputation or potential to cause negative publicity?
- Does application activity contravene or have the potential to contravene Government Policy?
- Is there budgetary risk?
- Is the investment in a FRDC Representative Organisation?
- Is FRDC a recipient of investment associated with this application?
- Is a member of the FRDC Board or staff directly involved in the R&D to be undertaken within the application.
Is there any priority given to waste reduction and utilisation?
The FRDC has had significant investments (past and current) on seafood waste utilisation, value adding and underutilised species as well as investment into plastics and circular economies. These can be searched on the FRDC website. It is best to contact the relevant RAC regarding any priorities associated with waste reduction and utilisation. The Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre is also a good contact point regarding waste utilisation.
How could I get involved as a new researcher?
We recommend subscribing to FRDC’s media channels to stay up to date on news and funding opportunities through FRDC. We also suggest creating a FishNet account (FRDC’s funding management portal) and becoming familiar with the platform.
Does FRDC fund capital investment?
FRDC will not usually invest in capital that would be expected to form part of the research provider’s infrastructure capacity.
FRDC prefers to cover the depreciation or leasing costs of a capital item that is directly attributable to a project. However, FRDC is prepared to consider each case on its specific merits, and if FRDC does invest in capital, it must relate directly to the cost of undertaking RD&E. Any residual value in the capital item at the completion of the project must be returned to FRDC.
How do you protect intellectual property (IP)?
As a statutory corporation of the Australian Government, FRDC takes its approach to IP management and protection very seriously. This occurs at every stage, from submission of applications right through to the extension of R&D outputs. Where reviews are required of application or project material, confidentiality agreements are signed by external reviewers. If there is IP that needs to be protected in an investment the FRDC negotiates this with the applicant.
More information can be found in the FRDCs Intellectual Property Management Policy
f you have an idea that is outside the current priorities, who should you contact at FRDC, and is there a template for a project proposal?
You can prepare an application in FishNet (fishnet.gov.au) and submit by the due date for the active investment ca for opportunities. Applications that are not addressing a priority in a call for investment opportunities are still considered by FRDC if it is submitted by the due date.
Are there names / contact details for RAC members still on the website?
RAC members and details are available here.
What is the weighting of the various assessment criteria listed? Are there weightings for individual priorities?
There is no weighting for assessment criteria. Applications are assessed on attractiveness and feasibility with all criteria considered to inform the evaluation as well as the external peer review process for science-based investments.
Are you able to elaborate on trialling presentation-style project reporting and what are the implication for project governance which some of us use to communicate project outcomes?
FRDC is trying to provide an opportunity for PIs to provide a point in time progress report to end-users and relevant stakeholders, so they can have a better understanding of the project and its outputs, and possible inputs into how to improve the extension and adoption of the R&D. The process currently involves the researcher providing a presentation on the project based on a PowerPoint template that outlines the project, its objectives, progress against those objectives, outputs achieved to date, any challenges to the projects execution and any changes that may be required.
Regarding governance, many projects already run workshops etc. that provide project updates, so we might value add to these too. At certain stages of the project milestone presentations may also involve end users so they can be updated on project progress and any outputs produced. If there is sensitive information, the audience for the milestone presentation may only be the relevant FRDC manager.
Does FRDC fund programs linked to inland, freshwater small bodies fisheries and R&D of stocked fisheries?
Yes. However, FRDC reviews the suitability of the investment, and your research need could be better suited coming from another financial source. FRDC does not fund stocking activities but will consider R&D associated with fish stocking. An example is found in the current call for investment opportunities associated with stock assessments for enhanced species.
Can the calls for EOIs be open longer? 6-7 weeks is not sufficient time to consult with collaborators, industry partners and go through internal approval processes. Closer to 10 weeks is needed (as a minimum).
FRDC will continue to review our processes and timings to ensure it suits our stakeholders, including applicants and end-users, however, there is a need to balance timelines given that FRDC aims to have three investment calls each year. Given that these are competitive calls FRDC is also cognisant of managing the time investment that is put into application development.