Australian Studies Competitive Projects and Output Awards
Support from the Australia-China Council (ACC) for Australian Studies in China is delivered primarily through two schemes: Competitive Projects funding and Output Awards. The purpose of this Information Sheet is to explain the purpose of each scheme and the differences between them.
Competitive Project grants are awarded to individuals or collaborative teams for specific projects to be undertaken in the forthcoming year. Grants can be awarded for research projects; curriculum and faculty staff development; publishing subsidies; and other Australian Studies initiatives (including special events, public lectures and conferences, website development, and other activities to promote Australian Studies). More details are available on the ACC website (www.dfat.gov.au/acc/asp/).
Grants are decided on a competitive basis. A Selection Committee comprising members of the ACC, representatives of the management committee for the Australian Studies in China program, and independent academics, looks at every application and after discussion produces a ranking. The maximum number of projects that can be funded within the limits of the program’s budget are awarded Competitive Project grants. Successful applications from previous years are listed on the ACC website.
Competitive Projects are decided primarily on the grounds of merit: on the quality of the research project and the application; the track record of the applicant; and the likelihood of positive outcomes from the project (e.g., publications, a new course, a significant public activity). Secondary consideration may be given to other issues to ensure a more even distribution of grants among institutions, regions and disciplines, and among senior academics and graduate students. Note that at least half of the annual Competitive Projects funding is reserved for projects which include research in Australia.
It is important to remember that a good project is not the same as a good application. The Selection Committee will be reading around 50 applications, so you need to make a strong case for your particular project. A strong application will explain clearly what the research projects is (its aims and scope), why it is significant, how the project will be conducted (this should be related to the requested budget), and what its outcomes are expected to be. The application form also asks you to relate your project to the objectives of the ACC. A good knowledge of existing research in the field (where relevant), and strong support from your School, Centre or Faculty, will also be important.
The ACC’s Output Awards are only available to Australian Studies Centres (or equivalent), not to individuals. All recognized Centres and equivalent units (e.g. research institutes) are eligible to apply, including those not previously funded under this scheme. Funds are awarded on the basis of the Centre’s activities over the previous year, rather than on the basis of proposals for future activities. The funds must be spent on Australian Studies activities, but exactly how the funds are divided between different kinds of activities is up to each successful Centre to decide.
Centres are asked to report on the ‘output’ over the previous year: their activities in the areas of research, teaching, and public or community activities (public lectures, conferences, ‘Australia Week’, web developments, speech contests, film weeks, etc). The Selection Committee will review all the applications and award funding according to the level of overall activity. The ACC realizes that not all Centres will be strong in all areas. Some Centres have chosen to focus on graduate teaching, whereas in other institutions this is not possible; some Centres focus on research, others on public activities. The Selection Committee takes these differences into consideration and values activity in all the areas mentioned.
How do Centres purchase books and other resources?
The ACC’s Book Gifts program now only applies to major library collections. A major collection has been established at the Shanghai Municipal Library and is continually being expanded; and an agreement has recently been signed to establish an equivalent collection at Beijing Foreign Studies University (accessible to all recognized Australian Studies researchers).
Otherwise, Centres are free to use their Output Award funds to purchase books and other resources. If any assistance is needed for this, please contact the management team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, books and other resources can form part of a Competitive Projects funding application. The items would need to be linked to the specific research project, curriculum development, or activity, but building a targeted collection of books in a designated area is certainly an appropriate item for funding. For example, a project studying the development of Australian cities could make a case for the need to build a small collection of relevant up to date books in this area.
The ACC wants to maximize the usefulness of the books, periodicals and other resources purchased for the Centres, rather than expend funds on an ad hoc book gifts program. We believe that the Centres themselves and individual researchers are in the best position to make judgements about the resources they need for research and teaching purposes.
Any enquiries should be directed to the Australian Studies in China management team at the School of English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland.
Fax: 61 7 3365 2799
Tel: 61 7 3365 1369