What is the MARCS Research Development Portfolio?
Aligned with WSU’s Researcher Development Framework Strategy and emphasis on research leadership, mentoring and training, the MARCS Research Development Portfolio is overseen by the MARCS Research Director Professor Peter Keller and the MARCS Research Development Officer Dr Karen Hutchings, who work closely with the MARCS Institute Director Professor Kate Stevens, Chief Scientist Dr Manuel Varlet, Director of Impact and Engagement Dr Celia Harris, and in tandem with WSU's Grant Services and Library Research Services teams.
Why do we need a MARCS Research Development Portfolio?
The current Australian tertiary research environment is characterised by increased competition for research funding, increased focus on translation, impact and engagement, and a mandate for academic-industry connections and partnerships. This environment requires researchers to deliver higher quality applications, diversify their funding sources, demonstrate real world application of their research and develop partnerships with industry and community groups. The implications of this current context for MARCS Institute is the need to balance the funding and conducting of traditional “blue sky” research with the ability to attract funding from a variety of non-ARC/NHMRC sources including from industry partners and through tenders/contracts that require more applied research.
How does it work?
The MARCS Research Development Portfolio helps researchers work strategically on their funding applications by deploying the necessary internal expertise where it’s most needed, particularly for EMCRs, while ensuring that we also attract the highest calibre of external researchers (e.g. applicants for DECRAs, Future Fellows) who can clearly see the value add of being associated with MARCS for their career path mentoring. To this end the MARCS Research Development Portfolio is responsible for assisting researchers in the identification of relevant and individually appropriate funding opportunities including Category 1 Australian competitive grant and other research grant applications (Category 2/3) as well as tenders, contract work, and WSU internal funding schemes; and guiding, mentoring and providing peer reviewing for them throughout the preparation and writing of their funding applications from draft to submission stage. The Portfolio also develops and hosts research funding related training workshops and activities within the Institute. The MARCS Research Committee is run within the Portfolio to support the aims and responsibilities of the Research Development Portfolio and meets bi-monthly. Membership of the Committee consists of MARCS Institute and School based members from all levels (ECR, MCR and Senior) as well as a Higher Degree student representative. These roles are elected to annual or bi-annual terms of service.
As the MARCS Institute has expanded, so has the need for internal processes related to grant development and submission. There is now a MARCS Expression of Interest process (see forms below) for key ARC schemes such as Discovery, DECRA, Future Fellow, Laureate and Linkage. This ensures that your application is supported throughout the process – and if you are a MARCS school based member, that your School’s Associate Dean of Research as well as Dean is aware of your intentions and has approved your participation. As Cat 2/3 applications become more commonplace and even more numerous than the Cat 1 applications we have also instituted a Checklist for Mentors and Applicants (for MARCS Staff only) (see below) as well as an Information sheet for Applicants (below) to ensure that relevant processes are adhered to and so that applications receive full institutional support from initial concept to full proposal stages.
Link to WSU Researcher Resources on the university website, including access to a budget calculator and exemplar successful applications:
Research Development Activities and Presentations
The MARCS Research Development Portfolio runs Research Development Sessions and Workshops throughout the year, please see below for our current Calendar of Events. The Research Development Portfolio also organises the MARCS Research Impact Competition held annually in June, and co-ordinates the MARCS Summer Scholarship program applications.
Please see below for the PPT slides related to the MARCS Understanding the Grants Process Presentation from March 2021 presented by Karen Hutchings and Peter Keller. These slides also include information on MARCS competitiveness in recent grant rounds and some tips and tricks when applying to ARC schemes.
WSU Research Services Mr Gary Long presented an update on WSU’s Excellence in Research (ARC ERA) performance and strategy, please see a copy of this presentation below.
WSU Librarian Ms Ria Hamblett presented on a workshop on writing for ROPE: Writing Track Record statements, and Academic Log presentation and resource below:
MARCS Expression of Interest:
Click here to access the MARCS Expression of Interest form for all grant schemes
This form has a drop down box so you can choose the relevant scheme you are planning to apply to, and the last page of the form has signature boxes for the Research Director, and MARCS Director (and for school based members, the Associate Dean of Research and Dean of their School). You will also need a statement and information from your mentor to complete the form.
The Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Projects scheme provides grant funding to support research projects for individual researchers or teams. The ARC DECRA scheme provides focused research support for early career researchers in both teaching and research, and research-only positions. The ARC Future Fellowships provide four-year fellowships to outstanding Australian mid-career researchers. ARC Laureate Fellowships target the highest-quality researchers by providing eligible Australian Laureate Fellows with generous project funding in addition to a salary supplement and salary-related (on-cost) support. The ARC Linkage project scheme is designed to foster collaboration between research and industry such that at least one Partner Organisation must provide a cash or in kind contribution to the project.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) supports health and medical research towards significant improvements in individual and population health. NHMRC Investigator Grants, provides researchers at all career stages with funding for their salary and a significant research support package. Synergy Grants are for outstanding multi-disciplinary research teams. Ideas grants support innovative and creative research projects for all career stages, including early and mid-career researchers. NHMRC Strategic and Leveraging Grants support research addressing identified national needs, including Targeted Calls and Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies.
MARCS research levy document: please click here to access the MARCS policy document on research levies applied to Cat 2 and 3 grant funding (this is only available to MARCS Institute members). Karen and Peter are also available to provide support and advice on applying this levy to your grant budget.