Researcher Development Awards

Researcher Development Awards 2021

***Please note, all forms have been updated recently. Please ensure you download the revised version of the form.***

The Researcher Development competitive funding scheme, offers four different development awards for use in 2021. These funding opportunities are directed toward staff who are endeavouring to establish and/or expand their research profile including considering grant funding from an external agency. They are aimed at supporting staff that have experienced career interruption, or are early career researchers, with a particular focus on gender equity. These awards are not directed to staff with an established research profile (i.e. those that have previously been awarded external funding such as ARC and NHMRC grants).

Awards are open to Level A, B or C Academics (other eligibility criteria apply – please see the Scheme Guidelines (DOCX, 446.34 KB) (opens in a new window)) in the following categories:

  • Women’s Fellowship
  • ECR Fellowship
  • ACA/DAP Research Support
  • Career Interruption
Timeline
DateAction
13 July 2020 Call for applications opens
31 August 2020 Applications due to the Office of the DVC REI
23 September 2020 Ranking meeting
November 2020 Applicants notified of outcomes
January 2021 Funding awarded (to eligible awardees)

Women's Fellowship – up to $30,000

The Women's Fellowship supports female academics employed at Western Sydney University as a Lecturer B or C.  This funding can be used to support your research in a variety of ways including teaching or administration buy-outs, pilot studies, research translation and project costs.

Please refer to the Scheme Guidelines (DOCX, 446.34 KB) (opens in a new window) for relevant eligibility information.

Applications open 13 July 2020 and close 31 August 2020

ECR Fellowship – up to $15,000

The Early Career Researcher Fellowship supports ECRs in balancing teaching and administrative duties while establishing a research profile. The fellowship provides ECRs with funding to allow for teaching, marking or admin buy-out or RA assistance.

An Early Career Researcher is considered to be someone who has been awarded a PhD within the past 5 years (eligibility exemption applies for career interruptions) and who holds an academic appointment.

Please refer to the Scheme Guidelines  (DOCX, 446.34 KB) (opens in a new window) for relevant eligibility information.

Applications open 13 July 2020 and close 31 August 2020

ACA/DAP Research Support – up to $10,000

This funding supports academics who are currently employed in the role of Academic Course Advisor (ACA) or Director of Academic Programs (DAP). This award allows the academic to employ a Research Assistant to support their research during 2021.

Please refer to the Scheme Guidelines (DOCX, 446.34 KB) (opens in a new window) for relevant eligibility information.

Applications open 13 July 2020 and close 31 August 2020

Career Interruption – up to $10,000

This funding supports academics who are:

  • returning to work after a period of necessary personal leave or a career break, which could include health issues or family responsibilities. It is designed to help re-establish research relationships, partnerships and projects that may have lapsed or been put on hold as a result of a specific career break; OR
  • currently on family or carers’ leave (for a period of more than three months) to access funds to continue their research while on leave.

Please refer to the Scheme Guidelines (DOCX, 446.34 KB) (opens in a new window) for relevant eligibility information.

Career Interruption awards are open year round

Equitable Assessment Measures

The concept of assessing researchers relative to their ‘research opportunity and performance evidence’ or ROPE is the practice of the Australian Research Council (ARC). ROPE was introduced to ‘help provide a more realistic consideration of a researcher’s capabilities and assist those who have had career interruptions for family and other reasons’ and can readily be applied for academics seeking promotion, ADP and internal funding that may be available from 2021 onwards.

ROPE meets the research agenda of Western, seeking to prioritise quality above quantity, a pivot encouraged over recent years, as the University provides a framework within which the quality and benefit of achievements is given greater weight than the rate of outputs. It considers working arrangements, career histories and personal circumstances and provides an acknowledgement of research performance given the opportunities available. This is an established practice at Western and one which will continue with the inclusion of COVID related impacts.

Criteria for ROPE Assessment

ROPE provides a framework within which the quality and benefit of achievements is given more weight than the quantity or rate of particular achievements. It considers working arrangements, career histories and personal circumstances and provides an acknowledgement of research performance given the opportunities available.

Performance Evidence

Must be viewed in reference to research opportunity. Any assessment of research will need to apply an approach that quantifies the actual research time of the academic as well as assessing the ongoing ramifications of the interruption. For example, a career interruption due to carer responsibilities can vary greatly dependent on the nature and duration of the associated responsibilities. COVID-19 has exacerbated the impacts of career interruptions and introduced new pressure points such as home schooling and accessibility. The disruptions to women academics have the potential to be reflected in research activity and output well beyond the periods of lockdown and physical distancing. As such they will need to be considered when assessing research activity for funding, promotion and ADP in future rounds for as long as these impacts resonate.

Examples of career interruption that are often experienced by women academics include, but are not restricted to:

  • Carer’s responsibilities
  • Illness
  • Maternity or parental leave
  • Unemployment
  • Non-research employment not concurrent with research employment
  • Lack of access to facilities/mentoring
  • Inability to partner as necessary to achieve research outcomes
  • Travel restrictions impacting research/fieldwork
  • Inability to conduct necessary face to face experiments
  • Additional teaching loads and demands of transitioning to online delivery
  • Increased governance responsibilities – particularly pastoral care roles

Under these current and extreme circumstances, the established and long identified inequities for women academics are amplified. All these factors must be taken into consideration when assessing the opportunities and limitations for research confronting women academics, particularly those establishing their careers.

Kate McBride Dr Kate McBride at the 2019 Researcher Development Showcase event