Manual of Policies and Procedures

D/1.3 External research funding

Contact Officer

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research)

Approval Date

21/09/2020

Approval Authority

University Academic Board

Date of Next Review

30/09/2023

1.3.1 Purpose
1.3.2 Application
1.3.3 Principles
1.3.4 Roles and responsibilities
1.3.5 Preparation of a proposal
1.3.6 Budgeting and pricing a proposal
1.3.7 Review, approval and submission of proposals
1.3.8 Contract negotiation and agreement
1.3.9 Project management and locally managed consultancies
1.3.10 Definitions
1.3.11 Delegations
Related Documents
Modification History

1.3.1 Purpose

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 under Application (D/1.3.2).

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.

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1.3.2 Application

This policy applies to:

  • 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
  • all research applications for external funding led by QUT, or where QUT is a participant, including all grants (competitive, domestic, and international), large programmatic initiatives such Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs), commercial research
  • externally funded positions (for example Chair or joint positions)
  • scholarships that are part of larger research projects or programmes; and
  • all consultancies conducted through QUT.

The policy does not apply to:

  • activities supported by QUTeX (C/3.3 Non-award study)
  • bequests, donations and gifts (G/2.1 Trusts, gifts and privately funded positions)
  • outside work, private consultancies and directorships (B/7.9) and
  • stand-alone student scholarships, bursaries and prizes (E/11.1 Student scholarships, bursaries and prizes).

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1.3.3 Principles

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

  • The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (the Code) and QUT Code for responsible conduct of research (D/2.6),
  • Management of research data and primary materials (D/2.8),
  • Intellectual property (D/3.1), and
  • QUT Staff Code of Conduct (B/8.1) and Conflict of interest (B/8.7).

QUT accepts funding from reputable external sources that share the university’s commitment to addressing real-world problems and advancing knowledge with integrity. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research) 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).

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1.3.4 Roles and responsibilities

Position
Responsibility

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research)

  • approves procedures under this policy
  • approves commitments from the University Research Budget (URB) to external research projects as outlined in the URB Protocol
Director, Office of Research Services (ORS) who delegates to ORS representatives
  • submits/endorses proposals for tenders and for 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 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 (HoS) 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 led by QUT certifying that staff members have the appropriate skills, capabilities and resources to perform the relevant activity and the time to do so 
  • endorse external research funding applications where QUT is not the first named applicant
Associate Deans Research (ADRs)
  • develop and implement the faculty research strategy
  • organise peer review for major (ARC/NHMRC) grant applications
  • endorse 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
  • ensures that administrative and non-financial reporting requirements associated with external research funding are met in a timely manner

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1.3.5 Preparation of a proposal

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 similarly to the project and have approval from their Head of School to conduct the project.

Guidance for developing a research proposal can be found in the Digital Workplace (QUT staff access only).

First named investigators seeking a University Research Budget contribution should consult the University Research Budget Protocol available on the Research Plan and Protocols webpage (QUT staff access only).

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1.3.6 Budgeting and pricing a proposal

The first named investigator must ensure that the proposed work is properly costed in accordance with User Charging policies (G/8) and Finance Manual Chapter 2(H) University Outside Work (QUT staff access only), 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.

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 appropriate QUT budget tool and QUT’s user charging policies unless the published conditions of the funding body explicitly exclude some of these costs.

Where a Head of School approves a staff member to conduct consulting activities in addition to allocated workload, their direct salary cost can be distributed according to QUT finance policies and procedures.

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1.3.7 Review, approval and submission of 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 investigators on the proposal must also obtain approval from their Head of School (or supervisor in the case of a head of school or senior or professional staff member) to undertake the proposed project or activity.

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 policy on Conflict of interest (B/8.7).

Before giving their approval, the Head of School should consider the following:

  • staff member’s workload (including whether this would be considered within the allocated workload or in addition to the allocated workload)
  • benefit to the staff member (for example staff development, external engagement, disbursement of income)
  • any staff conflict of interest.

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

  • availability of required QUT resources
  • potential issues obtaining ethics approval
  • potential risks and how they could be managed
  • whether the costing is appropriate.

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1.3.8 Contract negotiation and agreement

The Office of Research Services negotiates all agreements related to external research funding and any variations to these agreements. The Office of Industry Engagement would provide 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 (A/1.6 Management of contracts, deeds and memoranda of understanding).

The positions delegated to sign agreements for external research funding are specified in the Schedule of Authorities and Delegations (Governance - Contracts and Agreements).

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1.3.9 Project management and locally managed consultancies

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

Locally managed consultancies are managed at school/faculty or centre level and the Office of Research Services negotiates agreements when these consultancies are not conducted under an approved QUT template.   

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1.3.10 Definitions

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 does not receive external funding.

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. Competitive research may involve collaborating partners that do expect to receive benefit or advantage.

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 DEST 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 $10,000 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.

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1.3.11 Delegations

Refer to Appendix 3 Schedule of Authorities and Delegations (VC012, VC025, VC027, VC028).

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Related Documents

MOPP A/1.6 Management of contracts, deeds and memoranda of understanding

MOPP B/7.9 Outside work, private consultancies and directorships

MOPP B/8.7 Conflict of interest

MOPP D/3.1 Intellectual property

MOPP D/2.6 QUT Code for responsible conduct of research

MOPP D/2.8 Management of research data and primary materials

Consultancy - External research funding (QUT staff access only)

Understanding research funding (QUT staff access only)

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Modification History

Date

Sections

Source

Details

21.09.20

All

University Academic Board

New policy - incorporates elements related to research funding and QUT managed consultancies previously covered by B/7.9 Outside employment - professional staff, D/7.1 Outside work - academic staff and senior staff, and rescinded policy D/1.1 Research and innovation

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