External Research Grants - Procedures

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External Research Grants - Procedures


Approval authority
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)
Responsible officer
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)
Designated officer
Director, Office of Research
First approved
12 February 2010
Last amended
29 March 2019
Effective start date
29 March 2019
Review date
20 March 2024
Related documents
External Research Grants - Academic Policy
External Research Grants - Procedures
University Consultancy Work - Operational Policy
University Consultancy Work - Procedures
Linked documents
External Research Grants - Academic Policy
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Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures.

1. Opportunities

1.1 The Office of Research maintains a subscription to a major research grant database (Research Professional) and provides a link for staff to open a profile through the University intranet (MyUSC). Staff are expected to search for funding opportunities and to maintain their own profile.

1.2 The Office of Research provides summary information about research grant opportunities by targeted emails and publishes major funding rounds and opportunities not accessible via Research Professional on the University intranet.

2. Applications

2.1 The Office of Research publishes an internal timeline for all major grants rounds, authorised by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), in advance of the granting body’s closing date.

2.2 All applications for external competitive funding must be submitted online via Research Master (formerly Compass), USC's online review and approvals e-form. The application is reviewed by the Head of School for (or appropriate delegate depending on cost centre delegations) who approves that the research is appropriate complete, accurate and compliant with University policy and legislative requirements and that the School can accommodate the project. The approval is then sent to the Research Development Team who reviews the application request for HERDC compliance and any potential conflicts. The Research Development Team then facilitates the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)’s endorsement for submission.

2.3 Applications (non-ARC and NHMRC) submitted through Research Master (formerly Compass) need to be submitted at least 3 weeks prior to grant closing date to enable time for application approval and grant management.

2.4 Application Process:

1. Researcher completes the application for research funding according to the specific funding scheme guidelines.

2. Researcher completes the Project Costing Template - Research and seeks feedback and expert advice on budget from the USC Research Accountants.

3. Researcher lodges the application using Research Master (formerly Compass). Once the application is approved by all necessary parties, it is automatically submitted to the Research Development Team.

4. Research Development Team reviews for grantsmanship and eligibility purposes and the budget will be reviewed by the Research finance team. Once review has been completed the Research Team will work with the researcher to ensure timely submission to the funding body, clearly indicating that the institutional contact for the application is the Director, Office of Research.

5. The Research Development Team submits the application on behalf of the researcher and the University. This is done to ensure that the University meets reporting, financial and contractual obligations, and to ensure that the University has approved the infrastructure and capabilities to deliver the research project. For ARC & NHRMC this occurs according to the published internal timelines.

6. One the application has been submitted, the Research Development Team changes the application status in Research Master to submitted.

7. The Research Development Team notifies the applicant and Head of School or Cost Centre Manager via a status change in Research Master of the outcome of the application as soon as it is notified by the Researcher or the funding body.

3. Contracts

3.1 The Office of Research liaises between the chief investigator and the funding body to reach agreement on the final form of the contract to be signed by the University and the funding body. Refer to the USC Delegations Schedule for the authorised officer of the University, depending upon the value of the contract.

3.2 The Research Development Team obtains approvals and legal advice for contract negotiations as required.

3.3 When the terms of the contract have been settled the Research Development Team prepares copies of the contract for signing by the authorised officer of the University and the authorised officer of the funding body.

3.4 If the final terms of the project are different from the original application, the revised project scope is endorsed by all relevant parties and attached as an Annexure to the contract.

3.5 The Research Development Team forwards copies of the contract to the authorised officer of the University with a memorandum recommending that the contract be signed.

3.6 When the authorised officer of the University has signed the contract, the Research Development Team submits copies of the contract to the funding body for signature.

3.7 When copies of the contract have been signed and returned, the Research Development Team places a scanned copy of the signed contract in to RIMS within 5 working days of receipt of the signed contract.

4. Project establishment

4.1 The Research Development Team opens a file in the University’s record management system for the project and forwards any hardcopy documentation to records. Electronic copies of documentation are uploaded to the file.

4.2 The chief investigator seeks research ethics approval for the project.

4.3 The Research Development Team requests Financial Services to open a project account via a ‘handover’ email via Research Master. The Research Development Team initiates a ‘Project Commencement’ email in Research Master for Financial Services to send within 7 days with the project account details and a reminder of the chief investigator responsibilities. Financial Services is then responsible for the post award management of the project to project completion and closing off.

5. Project management and administration

5.1 Projects are managed by the chief investigator. The chief investigator is responsible for all obligations that are outlined in the contract including: intellectual, administrative and ethical responsibility for the research project from its conception to finalisation and the communication of outcomes.

5.2 The chief investigator is responsible for meeting all project milestones.

5.3 Project expenditure is authorised by Financial Services according to the project budget. Financial Services provides regular and timely project activity reports to the chief investigator and School Administrator.

5.4 When required, the Research Development Team monitors project management, ensuring chief investigators receive timely reminders about project reporting, managing any contract variations, and maintaining the project file and RIMS.

6. Completion of the project

The chief investigator notifies Financial Services in writing when the project has been completed.


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