ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) - Information for applicants

Why apply for a DECRA through MARCS?

There are few research concentrations worldwide with the rich interdisciplinarity of MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development – from AI to aging, from linguistics to music, from developmental psychology to engineering. In addition to leading edge software and hardware including AI, deep learning, avatars, robots, and wearable biotech, researchers from cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience in MARCS rigorously design and evaluate the human-human or human-machine/robot interface. Our expertise in Brain Sciences and Engineering is vital as healthcare, transport, security, and services become digital, automated, robotic, autonomous, augmented or virtual.

The prestigious Australian Research Council’s Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme is part of the Discovery Program. The DECRA scheme provides focused support for researchers and creates more opportunities for early-career researchers in both teaching and research, and research-only positions. Researchers are eligible to apply within five years of PhD award, or longer if demonstrated career interruptions are accounted for.

The objectives of the DECRA scheme are to:

  • support excellent basic and applied research by early career researchers
  • advance promising early career researchers and promote enhanced opportunities for diverse career pathways
  • enable research and research training in high quality and supportive environments
  • expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability
  • enhance the scale and focus of research in the Science and Research Priorities

(see Funding Rules/Grant Guidelines(opens in a new window) and FAQs(opens in a new window) for detailed information).

It is anticipated that up to 200 three-year Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards, including up to $40 000 per annum in project funds, may be awarded each year by the Australian Research Council and the Federal Minister for Education.

The next applications for DECRA 2021 will be submitted in March 2020 and then the following year the deadline will change to November 2021 for DECRA 2022 funding.
Key dates for Discovery Early Career Researcher Award 2021

  • Release of Grant Guidelines: September 2019
  • Applications Open: 2 October 2019
  • Request Not to Assess Close: 27 February 2020
  • Applications Close: 12 March 2020
  • Rejoinders: 24 June 2020 to 7 July 2020
  • Anticipated announcement: Mid-2020

The ARC no longer publishes Grant Opportunity Guidelines (formerly known as Funding Rules) on their website. The Grant Guidelines for Discovery Early Career Researcher Award 2020 are now available on GrantConnect(opens in a new window).


While the Grant Guidelines are available to view, you will need to sign in or create a User Registration account(opens in a new window) in GrantConnect to access all relevant documentation for Grant Opportunities.

More about MARCS

Established in 1999 as MARCS Auditory Laboratories, MARCS was one of the first flagship research concentrations at Western Sydney University (WSU) and in 2012 was elevated to one of the four WSU Research Institutes. In addition to continued significant investment from WSU for 16 years, MARCS has won competitive grant and research income in excess of $16M since 2005. MARCS is the intellectual home for more than 60 researchers and 60 PhD students. The Institute has a dozen specialist laboratories with equipment assets exceeding $4.5M, including three BabyLabs; the Ageing Lab, Speech Production; Face & Voice 3D Audio; Performance studio; Psychophysiology; Human-Robot Interaction, Bioelectronics and Neuromorphic Engineering.

MARCS Institute’s programs of basic science and translational research are designed to find solutions for humans in their interactions. MARCS’ world-leading and cutting-edge researchers come from many disciplines including developmental psychology, cognitive science, language science, music science, cognitive neuroscience, and biomedical, electrical, electronic and software engineering. Within MARCS there are five interdisciplinary research program areas: Biomedical Engineering & Neuroscience (BENS), Human-Machine Interaction (HMI), Multisensory Communication and Music Cognition & Action (MCA), and Speech and Language (SL) as well as the International Centre for Neuromorphic Systems (ICNS).

Find out more at:
http://www.westernsydney.edu.au/marcs

Expression of Interest Process for MARCS DECRA applications

DECRA Applications - Expression of Interest Form