Discovery Projects

Critical Dates

August 2017

2019 Funding Rules released

13 November 2017

Proposals open in RMS


RIC ARC Discovery Projects seminar

Submission Period 23 - 25 January 2018

Submit review ready application to RIC

5 February 2018

Request not to assess due to RIC

7 February 2018

Request not to assess due to the ARC

15 February 2018

Final Application Submission due to RIC

21 February 2018

Final Applications due to ARC


Rejoinders due to RIC

September 2017

2018 Outcomes


The ARC Discovery Projects support fundamental research conducted by both individuals and teams.

The Discovery Programme aims to:

  • Support excellent basic and applied research by individuals and teams
  • Enhance the scale and focus of research in the Strategic Research Priorities
  • Expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability
  • Encourage research and research training in high-quality research environments
  • Enhance international collaboration in research
  • Foster the international competitiveness of Australian research.

To be eligible as a Chief Investigator on a 2018 Discovery Project you must, at 1 January 2018:
a. be an employee for at least 0.2 FTE at an Eligible Organisation; or
b. be a holder of an Emeritus Appointment at an Eligible Organisation.

Emeritus Appointment means any honorary position that gives full academic status, as certified by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) in the Proposal. These positions are typically held by former academic staff members who continue to have an ongoing relationship with the institution. For ARC purposes this relationship must include access to research support comparable to employees, and would also normally include participation in postgraduate supervision. The person would not normally be eligible if they hold a substantive (paid) position elsewhere.

If you hold an Honorary or Professorial Fellow appointment  (holding no other paid appointments) and you wish to apply as a Chief Investigator please contact before the 2nd Feb to arrange DVCR certification.

Statements on Progress for ARC-funded projects:

If a project is listed in F16 and has had a final report submitted to the ARC, please ensure a short explanation is provided in G2. For example: 'Final Report has been submitted to the ARC on dd/mm/yyyy'.

Some major Changes to 2018 Discovery 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.

For the 2018 Discovery Project Round to fulfill eligibility, ALL CIs must meet the following criteria as of the 1 Jan 2018:

Funding Rules (note applicants should review all Limits on Project and proposal rules- See A6.3- page 14 and 15 of the Rules)
A6.3.1 Within the Discovery Programme a researcher can be funded for a maximum of:
a. two Projects as a CI
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)

Please contact RIC at

  1. If you or any of your CIs listed on your project are unsure if you meet the eligibility requirements OR
  2. If you or any of your CIs have 2 active projects as of the 1 Jan 2018 and one has an end date of early 2018 - please contact to discuss formally amending your end date through a variation to fulfil eligibility.

SECTION F13 - Significant research outputs and ARC grants

This section is now limited to four pages. This page limit includes significant research outputs from the applicant's entire career (no time limit) and the table of ARC grants from the last 10 years.

It is possible to abbreviate references in question F13 of the DP18 Proposal form where the full reference is available elsewhere in the proposal.

In the table of awarded grants, where the list of awardees is extensive (e.g. for a LIEF) it is possible to abbreviate the list of awardees.

SECTION C1 - Project Description: 8 page limit; new headings

The page limit for Section C1, Project Description has been reduced from 10 pages in previous years to 8 pages. This page limit includes references, which can be in 10pt font size. Please ensure you use the exact headings in the DP18 Instructions to Applicants.

SELECTION CRITERIA - new weighting

The new criteria weighting is as followed:

  • Investigators: 40%
  • Project Quality and Innovation: 35% (new weighting)
  • 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 F5 of the Funding Rules, pages 53 and 54, for further details.


The scheme provides $30,000-$500,000 funding per annum for projects of two to five years duration. Project costs can be used to hire research personnel, support HDR students, or fund teaching relief, equipment, consumables, Field Research, Travel, and dissemination costs. Discovery International Awards (DIAs) may be funded as a Special Condition to fund travel for a CI to work with an overseas-based PI and/or for an overseas-based PI to work in Australia on the project. See section C of the Funding Rules for more information.

How to apply

  1. Submit a Notice of Intent (NOI)

    The NOI should be completed early to provide RIC with the CI's contact details.

  2. Updates RMS profile

    All CIs and PIs must obtain access to RMS and update profile information (see RMS information)

  3. Review documentation

    Review the Discovery Project 2017 Funding Rules and the Instructions to Applicants and the FAQs. These documents can be found under the Support documents tab.

  4. Complete the draft application in RMS

    Log in to RMS and complete the draft application.

  5. Submit 'Review ready' application to RIC (31 Jan-2 Feb 2017)

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

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

    • PDF of the complete review ready* draft application (downloaded from RMS)
    • Specify whether you are requesting Gold or Silver Service
    • 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. This form can also be sent separately and is due by the 13th February, 5pm.
  6. Application review

    Two RIC staff members will review the application and provide the applicant with feedback via email.

  7. 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.

  8. Submit the UOM Authority to Submit form

    The form must be submitted to RIC via email 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.

  9. 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

  10. RIC will submit the application

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

Supporting documents



NOTE: A RIC review cover sheet is no longer required, email submission is sufficient.


How to write a rejoinder


Questions and primary email

Key contacts

Angela Baklavas-Kottaras+61 3 8344 2018
Elizabeth Morfe +61 3 8344 2064

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