Grant Development Resource Library

Applying for external competitive grant funding is challenging for researchers in all stages of their careers. To assist in the development of grant applications, the following resources have been made available for Western Sydney University researchers only.

Grant Development Support Strategy

To address the needs of the research sector and our research effort, Western employs a Grant Development Support Strategy. This comprises:

  • an Expression of Interest (EOI) held in May each year; and
  • a Notification of Intent (NOI) to resubmit Category 1 grants in September each year.

These EOI and NOI processes are undertaken in collaboration with local (School and Institute) grant development support.

Guiding Principles of the Grant Development Support Strategy

In establishing this strategy, the University is guided by four principles:

  • Consistency in peer review
  • Efficient use of research time
  • Focus on quality applications
  • Clear decision making.

For further information, see below or download the 2018 Grant Development Support Strategy (PDF, 1276.76 KB) (opens in a new window)

Research Plan EOI and Resubmission NOI process

Research Plan EOI

The University uses an EOI form due in May each year. Researchers will outline:

  • the research idea
  • proposed research team
  • funding source, if known
  • if a theoretical, methodological or applied approach will be used, and
  • potential impact.

The local review panel may invite researchers to ‘pitch’ their idea to them for additional support and input.

Research Directors, or delegate, will inform researchers if their Research Plan EOI will proceed and under which funding stream.

REDI Research will work with the School/Institute to support the project’s development towards submission.

Research Resubmission NOI

The University uses a Research Resubmission NOI form due in October each year. Researchers indicate if they intend to resubmit an unsuccessful ARC or NHMRC application.

Researchers outline how they will address assessors’ feedback to strengthen a new submission.

The local review panel may invite researchers to ‘pitch’ their idea to them for additional support and input.

Research Directors, or delegate, will inform researchers if their NOI will proceed and under which funding stream.

REDI Research will work with the School/Institute to support the application for resubmission.

What will the University submit?

The final decision to submit a research application lies with the DVCRD.

The DVCRD signs off on all submissions to the ARC and NHMRC.

Typically, DVCRD sign-off occurs immediately prior to final submission; however, the DVCRD may decline a submission earlier if there is evidence the application is not competitive.

The quality of the application and the track records of the researchers are the central factors guiding the DVCRD’s decision. If a researcher is unable to meet the milestones set out in the timeline (see below), this will signal that a submission may not meet the expected high quality.

If researchers plan to lodge multiple applications as a lead investigator within any one grant round, the DVCRD will review those applications. In these cases, a researcher will need a robust case for DVCRD approval to submit. There will be a strong assumption that one or more of the multiple applications may not meet the expected high standards.

If a researcher seeks approval to submit more than one application in the same round, the case for submission should be lodged with REDI Research first and supported by the academic unit. REDI Research will assist, where appropriate, to develop the case. REDI Research will advise the DVCRD’s decision to the relevant Research Director and researcher.

Local review panels

The function of the local review panel is to identify the support needed for researchers to develop a successful application and which submissions will go ahead in the current round.

Research support may include: conceptual and methodological advice; identifying mentor(s), and/or additional research team members; skill/professional development; funding opportunities via Research Professional; industry partners; or external reviewers for the most promising applications.

The panel may meet up to 3 times corresponding with REDI deadlines for EOIs and drafts.

REDI Research will provide central research performance data. REDI Research Development Officers will record panel decisions for the provision of central support and records.

Research Directors will communicate the decisions of the local review panel to researchers, preferably through scheduled meetings.

Multiple applications by the same lead investigator in the same grant round will be given careful attention. There will be a strong presumption that one or more of the multiple applications may not meet the expected high quality.

EOIs/NOIs may be referred by a Research Director to a development team/mentor to strengthen the project idea for a future/alternative competitive grant round.

The panel may identify projects that are suitable for other funding sources. Suitable projects may be referred to REDI Business for development and industry research funding.

The panel nominates promising submissions, if any, to be supported by external reviews. Research Directors to advise nominations to REDI Research after the final review meeting.

Local Review Panel Composition

Panels may vary in composition between Schools/Institutes, but should include a REDI Research Development Officer, the School/Institute Research Director, disciplinary/cross-disciplinary experts and an Early Career Researcher (ECR).

Review of School and Institute grant development support

Local review processes and grant development support are assessed by a central team in partnership with the Office of the DVCRD in March each year.

Recommendations to revise processes or support mechanisms will be circulated at the Research Directors’ Forum by REDI.

School and Institute Research Directors provide the following information on the peer review and support processes they offer to grant applicants:

  • Timeline and processes for local internal and external peer review of ideas/projects/applications
  • Criteria used for selecting internal and external peer reviewers
  • Timeline and steps for mentoring processes and peer support
  • Criteria used for selecting mentors.

The central team will include:

  • A Research Director
  • Discipline specific readers (experts recommended by Schools and Institutes)
  • REDI Manager, Grants and Researcher Development
  • An external reviewer (optional)
  • A research theme champion (optional).


See the 2018 Grant Development Support Strategy (PDF, 1276.76 KB) (opens in a new window) for further information.

Enquiries about this process should be directed to the REDI Research team or your School or Institute Research Director.

Strategic Advice and Guides




New NHMRC guides and tip sheets coming soon.



Where do I find information on external grants?

Information on external grants is available on the Australian Competitive Grants Register (ACGR) (opens in a new window)

When should I submit my application to REDI for review and feedback?

All external research grant applications need to be lodged via REDI at least five working days prior to the external closing date, and be accompanied by a completed Clearance Form (opens in a new window) (login required)

If researchers wish to submit with less than five working days, they need to seek endorsement from their Research or Institute Director.

Is ethics approval required before submitting a grant?

A grant can be submitted before ethical approval is sought. However, all research projects conducted by Western staff or students involving human participants, whether funded or unfunded, are required to seek ethical clearance before the project commences.

Ethics information is available here

Do I need approval to submit an external research submission?

Yes. All research funding applications, even if administered by another institution, require approval. The only authorised delegate for this approval is your Dean and/or Institute Director. The Clearance Form (opens in a new window) (login required) is how you get approval.

What are on-costs and how are they calculated?

The University is liable for payment of costs covering Payroll Tax, Workers Compensation, Superannuation, and Long Service Leave. These are on-costs.

On-costs must be factored into the cost of all employment contracts as this is the total cost of employing staff.

More information is available here (opens in a new window)

What are indirect costs?

Indirect costs are overheads or infrastructure costs that the University cannot easily allocate to a single activity, such as:

  • The provision and maintenance of physical infrastructure, such as offices, laboratory facilities, technology and communications;
  • Access to in-house resources and services, such as legal services, financial management and insurance services, security and other administrative services.

The term indirect costs replaces the so-called previous Research Levy.

Which funding is exempt from indirect costs?

Indirect cost exempt funding includes:

  • Funding bodies registered as charities under their ABN
  • Those that specify no levy/indirect costs in their application guidelines/rules
  • Category 1 funding
  • Projects that include a PhD scholarship
  • LIEF Grants (as they are Equipment)
  • Other Equipment funding

Where do I find information on salary levels?

You must use the relevant Enterprise Agreement salary levels for all project costs. Use the correct year's rate for future years. These rates can be found here (opens in a new window)

What are ATO reasonable travel allowance expense amounts?

The ATO (Australian Taxation Office) is responsible for travel expense amounts. The University uses these rates for costing research proposals. They can be found here (opens in a new window)

How do I justify my budget?

Budget justifications are an argument for why you need these items in your budget and how you arrived at the costings.

Direct Costs:

  • Research assistance: outline the role and say why this is crucial to the conduct of the research. Say what skills are required for the position.
  • Travel: outline why you are going, how long you will be away or explain how you arrived at the total number of kilometres.
  • Maintenance: if you want to include phone, postage etc. this must be special to the project e.g. survey mail outs.
  • Investigator salaries proportional to the time allocated to the project.

Indirect Costs:

  • Infrastructure e.g. office space, meeting venues, computer access.
  • Professional development (workshops for specific skills).
  • The research environment e.g. opportunities to work with other similar/related researchers and postgraduates.
  • Access to specialist resources such as libraries and or unique databases.

For further advice, contact your Research Development Officer

Where do I find FOR, SEO and Type of Activity codes?

It is a good idea to check with experts in your area from your school/institute/centre to see if you have chosen the right category codes.

You must select the sections and subsections until you reach the six-digit codes for your project.

Research Category Codes can be found here

Who signs my application for submission?

You must have your completed application signed by the institutional representative, Executive Director, REDI or the PVCR&D. This will be arranged by REDI Research when your application is submitted for review and feedback.

Exemplar Applications

The following projects were awarded in 2015. We thank the Chief Investigators for their kind permission to share their applications with fellow Western Sydney University staff.

Please note: These applications are available to Western Sydney University staff in confidence and you may only share them with other employees of the University.

ARC Discovery Projects Exemplars

ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Exemplars

NHMRC Exemplars