View Document

External Research Funding Policy

This is the current version of this document. To view historic versions, click the link in the document's navigation bar.

Section 1 - Purpose

(1) QUT aims to increase its collaboration with a wide variety of partners and staff are encouraged to seek external research funding from various sources and to participate in consultancies that are strategically important for the University. In this Policy the term External Research Funding includes all categories of research and consultancies that are conducted though QUT as set out below in Section 2, Application.

(2) The purpose of this Policy is to set out the structures within QUT that support and govern these activities, as well as the principles and procedures that apply to the process of seeking and expending external research funding.

Top of Page

Section 2 - Application

(3) This Policy applies to:

  1. all QUT staff (including casual and sessional staff), research students, and any person taking part in a research activity at QUT, including a person holding an adjunct, conjoint or honorary role at QUT, and to any other person appointed or engaged by QUT to perform work, duties or functions for QUT;
  2. all research applications and commercial research proposals seeking external funding led by QUT, or where QUT is a participant, including all grants (competitive, domestic, and international), industry-led grant schemes (e.g. CRC-P, etc.), large programmatic initiatives such Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs), commercial research;
  3. externally funded positions (for example Chair or joint positions);
  4. proposals seeking support for research infrastructure (equipment and facilities);
  5. scholarships that are part of larger research projects or programmes; and
  6. all consultancies conducted through QUT.

(4) The policy does not apply to:

  1. activities supported by QUTeX (Non-award Study Policy);
  2. work integrated learning programs or student internships (unless part of a funded research project);
  3. international training projects;
  4. bequests, donations and gifts;
  5. Outside Work, Private Consultancies and Directorships Policy; and
  6. stand-alone student scholarships, bursaries and prizes (Student Scholarships, Bursaries and Prizes Policy).
Top of Page

Section 3 - Principles

(5) All research activities administered by QUT must be strategically aligned with QUT priorities and conducted in a manner consistent with:

  1. the agreed contractual terms between the University and the external funder;
  1. the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2007 (the Code) and QUT Code for Responsible Conduct of Research;
  2. Management of Research Data and Primary Materials Policy;
  3. Intellectual Property Policy; and
  4. QUT Code of Conduct - Staff and Conflict of Interest Policy.

(6) QUT accepts funding from reputable external sources that share the University’s commitment to addressing real-world problems and advancing knowledge with integrity. The Head of Research Portfolio may refuse external research funding where the funding is from individuals or organisations involved in certain activities (for example, individuals or organisations involved in the tobacco industry) or for activities which do not comply with applicable laws and regulations (such as the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012).

Top of Page

Section 4 - Roles and Responsibilities

Head of Research Portfolio
Approves procedures under this Policy.
Approves commitments from the University Research Budget (URB) to external research projects as outlined in the URB Protocol.
Delegates the certification and submission of funding proposals to the Executive Director, Office of Research Services.
Executive Director, Office of Research Services (ORS) who delegates to ORS representatives
Submits/endorses proposals for commercial research projects, tenders and grants, including large programmatic funding opportunities such as CRCs, ARC Centres of Excellence, ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hubs or Training Centres, NHMRC centres and other government or industry funded centres.
Provides expert advice and assistance to support external research funding proposals including strategic positioning proposal preparation, governance advice, pricing and submission.
Negotiates and manages all contracts related to external research funding activities.
Reports to University committees regularly on external research funding activities and to the Vice-Chancellor and President annually.
Heads of School or direct Supervisor (where Heads of School, Deans or Senior University Executives are first named investigators or for professional staff)
Endorse/approve external research funding applications and commercial research proposals (including consultancies) led by QUT certifying the quality of the proposal and confirming staff members have the appropriate skills, time, capabilities and resources to perform the relevant activity and that all conflicts of interest have been declared and considered.
Endorse external research funding applications and commercial research proposals where QUT is not the first named applicant.
Ensure any proposed research activity requiring workforce planning considerations have been discussed with the relevant Executive Deans.
Associate Deans Research
Develop and implement the faculty research strategy.
Organise peer review for major (ARC/NHMRC) grant applications.
Review grant applications for major Grant schemes and large programmatic initiatives and authorising faculty-based co-investment.
First named Investigator 
Is the project coordinator as ‘first among equals’ and in this function responsible for the obligations of the relevant funding guidelines and the agreement, ensuring that the project or research is conducted as specified, or as officially varied.
Is responsible for the intellectual content provided in the application/funding proposal and must ensure that all information is true and accurate and referenced/attributed appropriately.
Is required to obtain, prior to submission of a funding application, written confirmation from each named investigator (including internal and external chief, partner, associate, and other investigator types) that each approves, and has corresponding approval from their employer, to be named on and contribute to the project as outlined in the application, and to retain these confirmations. In addition, the first-named chief investigator must ensure that workloads for QUT staff associated with the project fall within currently agreed workload assignments, with any variations explicitly discussed with the staff members HOS/supervisor.
Ensures that contractual administrative and non-financial reporting requirements associated with external research funding are met in a timely manner.
Ensures the project is conducted in line with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct for Research and associated policies, protocols and procedures required by QUT.
Top of Page

Section 5 - Preparation of a Proposal

(7) The first named investigator takes the role of ‘first among equals’, being responsible for coordinating the development of the proposal, for providing a complete and transparent approach to costing and for ensuring all investigators contribute appropriately to the project and have approval from their Head of School or direct supervisor (where Heads of School, Executive Deans or Senior University Executives are first-named investigators or professional staff) to be a named investigator on the project and commit the allocated time to the project.

(8) Guidance for Developing a Research Proposal (QUT staff access only) can be found in the Digital Workplace.

(9) First named investigators seeking a University Research Budget contribution should consult the University Research Budget Protocol (QUT staff access only) available in the Digital Workplace.

Top of Page

Section 6 - Budgeting and Pricing a Proposal

(10) The first named investigator must ensure that the proposed work is properly costed in accordance with User Charging Policy and/or the guidelines of the funding provider. Where appropriate the first named investigator will also need to ensure that pricing of the goods/services offered complies with the National Competition Policy in terms of competitive neutrality requirements.

(11) All budgets for External Research Funding must include at a minimum, direct costs and a recovery for indirect costs at the applicable rate in accordance with the QUT Finance Manual unless the published conditions of the funding body explicitly exclude some of these costs.

Top of Page

Section 7 - Review, Approval and Submission of Proposals

(12) The Office of Research Services has delegated responsibility on behalf of the University to submit external funding proposals. Prior to submitting a proposal to an external organisation, the first named investigator must contact the Office of Research Services to review and endorse the proposal. All named investigators on the proposal must also obtain approval from their Head of School/employer (or Supervisor in the case of a Head of School or senior or professional staff member) to undertake the proposed project or activity. The first named chief investigator is required to obtain, prior to submission of a funding application, written confirmation that each named investigator approves, and has approval from their HOS/employer to be named on and contribute to the project as outlined in the application.

(13) In seeking approval, investigators are required to notify any conflict of interest related to their involvement in the project or activity, in accordance with the Conflict of Interest Policy.

(14) Before giving their approval, the Head of School should consider the following in consultation with other stakeholders including, for example, Centre Directors:

  1. expertise and capability of the academic(s) and relevance to the proposed project;
  2. staff member’s workload allocation;
  3. benefit to the staff member (for example staff development, external engagement, disbursement of income);
  4. any staff conflict of interest.

(15) The Head of School should also consider the following in relation to the proposed project:

  1. quality of the proposed project and potential contribution to the discipline/broader community;
  2. availability of required QUT resources (space, access to research infrastructure, technical support, etc.);
  3. whether each named investigator (internal and external), and their Supervisor/employer has confirmed (in writing) their willingness to participate on the project as outlined in the application;
  4. potential issues obtaining ethics approval;
  5. potential foreign interference considerations;
  6. requirements to obtain a blue card for projects involving children and young people;
  7. potential risks and how they could be managed; and
  8. whether the costing is appropriate.
Top of Page

Section 8 - Contract Negotiation and Agreement

(16) The Office of Research Services negotiates all agreements related to External Research Funding and any variations to these agreements. The Office of Industry Engagement provides advice on agreements involving commercialisation or intellectual property considerations. QUT staff can negotiate scope, timing and deliverables, however Office of Research Services representatives are the contract managers for these agreements (Contracts and Legal Instruments Management Policy).

(17) The positions delegated to sign agreements for external research funding are specified in the Register of Authorities and Delegations (QUT staff access only).

Top of Page

Section 9 - Project Management and Locally Managed Consultancies

(18) Guidance for Managing a research project can be found in the Digital Workplace (QUT staff access only).

(19) Locally managed consultancies (not including expert witness or projects involving international partners) up to $25,000 are managed at school/faculty or centre level where an approved QUT template is used.   

Top of Page

Section 10 - Definitions

Term Definition
Research Means an activity that is aimed at new findings, based on original, not obvious, concepts and hypotheses, uncertain about the final outcomes, planned and budgeted, and leads to results that could be possibly reproduced. (Reference: as defined in the Commonwealth Department of Education, Higher Education Research Data Collection Specifications).
Collaborative Project Means a research project whereby the University works in partnership with another research provider(s) or stakeholder(s) of the research to share equally or proportionately (as contractually agreed) the costs and benefits of the research.
Commercial Research Means research other than competitive research that is conducted in collaboration with government, private or charitable organisations. It may result from direct negotiation with an external organisation or a through an application-based, competitive process organised by an external organisation (sometimes known as a tender or a request for proposals or quotes). In some cases, it may be a collaboration with an external organisation where QUT is a named collaborator or where QUT is identified as a subcontractor to perform a particular research task.
Competitive Research Means research that is funded by an external organisation following an application-based, competitive peer review process and where the external organisation does not directly receive, or expect to receive, any material benefit or advantage in return (e.g. new intellectual property or commercialisation rights). Competitive research may involve collaborating partners that do expect to receive benefit or advantage (e.g. new intellectual property or commercialisation rights).
Consultancy  Means a project that involves an external agency buying the skills and expertise (pre-existing know how) of staff and/or use of QUT equipment to work on a specified project. Consultancies involve the application of existing knowledge and do not normally lead to the development of new intellectual property. Income from activities of this nature is not normally included in Department of Education, research income definitions. Consultancies may be funded following direct negotiation with the external organisation or a through an application-based, competitive process organised by an external organisation. In some cases, it may be a collaboration with an external organisation where QUT does not receive external funding.
Grants  Are funds provided by an agency under generic terms and conditions to support the cost of a project or programme of academic research activities (such as Cooperative Research Centres, ARC Centres of Excellence, ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hubs or Training Centres, NHMRC centres and other government or industry funded centres). Normally, they are awarded after a competitive process and generally allow the researcher(s) to propose the program of activity
Locally Managed Consultancies  Are consultancies (excluding international projects and expert witness projects) that are typically conducted under an agreement that is an approved QUT template and are valued at $25,000 or less.
Tender Means the process under which government and industry invite bids for work to be performed. Tenders usually involve a competitive bid to achieve a set of outcomes that have been pre-defined by the organisation calling for tenders, although a tender may also be a bid to be added to a pre-qualified panel of providers. The project that results from a successful tender will be subject to a customer contract that is usually for the provision of a service, where the tenderer is required to meet certain outcomes/milestones.
Top of Page

Section 11 - Delegations

(20) Refer to Register of Authorities and Delegations (VC012, VC025, VC027, VC028) (QUT staff access only).