Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA)

Critical Dates

August 2017

Funding rules for 2019 released

8 January 2018

Proposals open in RMS




Eligibility Exemption Request due to RIC (if applicable)

Submission Period 13 - 15 February 2018

Submit review ready application to RIC 

26 February 2018

Request not to assess due to RIC

28 February 2018

Request not to assess due to ARC

8 March 2018

Final Application Submission due to RIC

14 March 2018

Final Applications due to ARC


Rejoinders due to RIC in RMS by 5pm

September 2017

2018 Outcomes


Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA) supports early career researchers who have typically received their PhD in the last five years or have eligible commensurate career disruption.

The DECRA scheme aims 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; and
  • Enhance the scale and focus of research in the Science and Research Priorities.


The scheme provides funding for up to 200 projects per round. Funding is awarded by the ARC of up to $139,369 per annum for three years, with a per annum salary contribution of $99,369 including 30 per cent on-costs and up to $40,000 project costs per annum. Project costs can be used to hire research
assistants, support HDR students, or fund equipment, consumables, Field Research, Travel, and dissemination costs. See section D of the Funding Rules for more information.

Some major Changes to 2018 DECRA Projects:


Your ‘active projects’ are used to calculate proposal limitations to ensure your eligibility to apply for a new grant.

The ARC have changed their definition of  an ‘Active Project’. Previously when calculating proposal limitations, the ARC would calculate your active projects based on the original award letter of your Project. Meaning if you had a late start date or had carried forward project funding extending your project end date, this project did not count towards your proposal numbers.

Active Projects NOW mean: a Project that is receiving funding according to the terms of the original Funding Agreement, or has any carryover funds approved by the ARC, or an approved variation to the Project’s end date. Therefore if your project has carried forward any funding and the end date has changed, the NEW end date determines an active project.

Applicants should review all Limits on Project and proposal rules - See A6.3- page 14 and 15 of the Funding Rules):
A6.3.1 Within the Discovery Programme a researcher can be funded for a maximum of:
a. two Projects as a CI; or
b. one ARC Fellowship or ARC Award, and one Project as a CI.

A6.3.9 A Proposal may only be submitted for funding that the researcher would be eligible to hold under these rules as at the Funding Commencement Date of the Project/ARC Fellowship/ARC Award being applied for. The ARC will calculate this rule as at the closing time of submission of Proposals (and may calculate this rule again as other scheme rounds’ announcements are made)

SELECTION CRITERIA - new weighting

The new criteria weighting is as followed:

  • Project Quality and Innovation: 40%
  • DECRA candidate: 35%
  • Feasibility: 10% (new weighting)
  • Benefit: 15% (new weighting)

NOTE: Research Environment is no longer a selection criterion and the ‘Research Environment’ term has been removed from the Funding Rules in its entirety.

Some of the required criteria which fell under ‘Research Environment’ now falls under 'Feasibility' and 'Project Quality and Innovation'.  Applicants should review section D5 of the Funding Rules, page 42 for further details.

Establishment Grants for ARC DECRA

Establishment Grants are internal grants to support ARC DECRA applicants at the University of Melbourne. Please refer to  the  establishment grant page for details.


How to apply

  1. Submit a Notice of Intent (NOI)

    The NOI should be completed early to provide RIC with DECRA candidate contact details.

  2. Update RMS profile

    Candidates must obtain access to RMS and update profile information (see RMS information)

  3. Review documentation

    Review the DECRA Funding Rules and the Instructions to Applicants. These documents are available under the Supporting documents tab.

  4. Complete the draft application

    Log on to RMS to complete the draft application.

  5. Strategic statement

    Work on the Strategic Statement in respect of the Research Environment with your supervisor and department/faculty. The Head of Department must certify the Strategic Statement Coversheet before submission to RIC.

  6. Eligibility Exemption Request

    If applicable, complete the Eligibility Exemption Request form. This is a spreadsheet that details career interruptions for applicants whose PhD was awarded prior to 1 March 2012.

    This form must be sent to by 10 February 2017 so that RIC can arrange for the DVC(R) to certify eligibility.

  7. Submit 'Review ready' application to RIC

    See the Major Grant Rounds Submission Procedure document for information on review ready applications for Gold and Silver Service.

    Submit application to RIC within the RIC internal submission period. Include the following:

    • An electronic copy of the complete review ready draft application (PDF downliaded from RMS)
    • Specify whether you are requesting Gold or Silver Service
    • An electronic copy (i.e. Microsoft Word document) of the Strategic Statement, using the template letterhead provided.(NOTE: Applicants from MDHS, Arts and Science should submit Strategic Statement to their Faculty)
    • D2 Strategic Statement coversheet, signed by Head of Department/School (NOTE: For applicants from Arts and Science, this certification will be arranged by your Faculty Research Office).
    • If applicable, the applicant should include an electronic copy of the Request Not to Assess form if they would like to request the exclusion of a potential assessor.

      Tip: Section G1, 'Research support for all participants', is necessary for every applicant, even when no other research funding is held. The current DE18 application must be included, and if you are requesting an Establishment Grant, this should also be listed. 
  8. Application review

    RIC staff members will review the application and provide the applicant with feedback via email. For Gold service, two staff members will review the application. For Silver service, it will be reviewed by one person.

  9. Complete the application

    After taking feedback from the RIC team into consideration, complete the application in RMS. It is suggested advice is sought from colleagues, Faculty Mentors, etc. before finalising the application.

  10. Submit the UOM Authority to Submit form

    The form must be submitted to RIC via email to before 5:00pm on the final internal closing date. This form should include:

    • Complete the compliance and eligibility section
    • Signature of all CIs and PIs
    • Signature of the Head of Department for each CI
    • Signature of the CEO (or delegate) for all Australian-based PIs

    Electronic signatures are permitted.

    This is an ARC requirement and the application cannot be submitted to ARC until received.

  11. Final submission

    Before 5:00pm on the final internal Closing date, the applicant must:

    • Submit final application by clicking ‘Submit to Research Office’ in RMS
    • Email RIC ( a pdf copy of the final application and a scanned, signed Authority to Submit form

    Note: Applications without a completed Authority to Submit form cannot be submitted to the ARC

  12. RIC will submit the application

    Once the application has been submitted to ARC, you will receive an email from RIC confirming submission.

Supporting documents

ARC Documents

RIC Documents

Preparing a DECRA application:

External applicants please note: If you require access to documents requiring a UoM login, please email



DECRA questions and primary email

Key contacts

Veronica Loew+61 3 8344 8236
Angela Baklavas+61 3 8344 2018

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