Discovery Indigenous

Critical Dates

Tuesday 8 October 2019

Release of 2021/22 Grant Guidelines 

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Proposals open in RMS

Tuesday 3 March 2020

Submit review ready application to RIC

Tuesday 3 March 2020

Request not to assess due to RIC

Wednesday 4 March 2020

Request not to assess due to the ARC

Friday 13 March 2020

Final Application Submission due to RIC

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Final Applications due to ARC

12 June 2020 - 25 June 2020


Fourth Quarter 2020

2021 Outcomes


The Discovery Indigenous scheme provides funding to Administering Organisations to support research programs led by an Indigenous Australian researcher and to build the research capacity of higher degree research and early career researchers. The scheme aims to:

  • Develop the research expertise of Indigenous Australian researchers
  • Support fundamental research and research training by Indigenous Australian researchers as individuals and as teams
  • Support and retain established Indigenous Australian researchers in Australian higher education institutions
  • Expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability.

National Interest Test

  • Under the new National Interest Test, applications will need to meet the NIT definition and score highly in the competitive grants process to be recommended to the Minister for funding.
  • Applicants will be asked to explain ‘the extent to which the research contributes to Australia’s national interest through its potential to have economic, commercial, environmental, social or cultural benefits to the Australian community’.
  • The previous “benefit and impact” application text will be replaced with a compulsory field for the applicant to make their case against the NIT. This statement will be 100 to 150 words and in plain English. The NIT will apply to all future rounds.

To be eligible as a Chief Investigator on a 2021 Discovery Indigenous Project you must, at 1 January 2021:
a. be an employee for at least 0.2 FTE at an Eligible Organisation; or 
b. be a holder of an honorary academic appointment at an Eligible Organisation.

Honorary Academic Appointment means any honorary position that gives full academic status, as certified by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) or equivalent in the application. For ARC purposes this relationship must include access to research support comparable to employees e.g. an emeritus appointment.  The person would not be considered to hold an honorary acedemic appointment 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 13th March to arrange DVC-R certification.

Statements on Progress for ARC-funded projects:

If a project is listed in D8 and has had a final report submitted to the ARC, a statement of progress is no longer required to be attached. The ATC still requires details including the Project ID, First Named Investigator and the scheme name.


Active Projects  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 a project has carried forward any funding and the end date has changed, the NEW end date determines an active project. Active projects can be viewed via the applicants RMS profile by selecting Person Profile > Current ARC Projects> end date.

The new term Active Project Assessment Date (the date on which Active Project eligibility will be considered), has been introduced into the Definitions, and referenced at subsection 17.1. This is a scheme-specific date that nominates the date when Project and Proposal limit eligibility is assessed by the ARC.

The ARC will calculate active projects as at the closing time of submission of Proposals (and may calculate this rule again as other scheme rounds’ announcements are made and End of Year Reports are submitted.

Scheme Funding Commencement Date Active Assessment Date Example 1
Discovery Indigenous Project 2021 1-Jan-21 1-Jul-21 IN candidates can apply for a IN21 while holding two DP18s with Project end dates prior to 1 July 2021. However, you cannot start the IN21 until at least one of the DP18s has been completed, one DP18 has been relinquished or your role on one DP18 has been relinquished in order to meet the limit of two Discovery Program Projects.

For the 2021 Discovery Indigenous Project Round to fulfill eligibility, ALL CIs must meet the following criteria as of the 1 Jan 2021:(note applicants should review all Limits on Project and Grant Guidelines- See 4.10 - 4.16 - page 15 of the Grant Guidelines)

4.12 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
c. one ARC Fellowship or project if the individual is also a CI or Director on an active ARC Centre of Excellence or a Special Research Initiative project.

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 July 2021 - please contact to discuss either formally amending your end date or arranging a Project or role relinquishment through a variation to fulfill eligibility.
SELECTION CRITERIA - new weighting

The new criteria weighting is as followed:

  • Investigator(s)/ Capability: 35%
  • Project Quality and Innovation: 40%
  • Benefit:15%
  • Feasibility:10%


The scheme provides $30,000-$500,000 funding per annum for three years. Project costs can be used to hire research personnel, support HDR students, support Indigenous Australian Honours students, or fund teaching relief, equipment, consumables, Field Research, Travel, and dissemination costs. A Discovery Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards (DAATSIA) may be requested for one researcher per proposal to devote more time to the project. DAATSIA funding may be requested at one of five salary levels. See section D of the Grant Guidelines for more information.

Establishment Grants for ARC DAATSIA Fellowship


The Scheme aims to:

  • Support successful ARC DAATSIAs in establishing their research program at the University of Melbourne
  • Enhance the candidate’s competitiveness when applying for the ARC Discovery Indigenous (IN) scheme.

Faculties may set their own objectives and priorities in determining which candidates will be nominated for Establishment Grant support. IN applicants must apply to their host faculty for Establishment Grant support through whatever process the faculty deems appropriate. Establishment Grant requests must be submitted by faculties to Research, Innovation and Commercialisation (RIC), not directly by individual IN applicants. For further information refer to your Faculty Research Manager.

The Establishment Grant is only available for ARC DAATSIA Fellowships.


For funding commencing 2018 and thereafter, ARC DAATSIA Fellowships will be supported by an internal establishment grant on a 2:1 co-contribution basis, with a maximum DVC(R) contribution of $100,000 matched to a maximum of $50,000 from faculty/Department/School.

How to apply

  1. Submit a Notice of Intent (NOI)

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

  2. Update RMS 2.0 profile

    All CIs and PIs must obtain access to RMS 2.0 and update profile information (see RMS information)

  3. Review documentation

    Review the Discovery Indigenous Funding Rules and the Instructions to Applicants. These documents are available under the Support documents tab.

  4. Complete the draft application in RMS 2.0

    Log on to RMS 2.0 to complete the draft application.

  5. Submit 'Review ready' application to RIC

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

    • PDF copy of the complete review ready draft application
    • RIC review coversheet
    • 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. Email this to

    Note that international and interstate applicants may also email a pdf copy of their application and coversheet to

  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 2.0. 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 electronically 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 2.0
    • 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



Instructional Videos

How to write a rejoinder

Please note: Assessor comments should only include details on the Investigator(s)/DAATSIAs, Project Quality and Innovation, Feasibility, and Benefit and Collaboration.  Assessors should not be commenting on Eligibility and Compliance.  If you notice any comments to that effect when reading the Assessments please let your Faculty or RIC know so that we can in turn advise the ARC. Please note that applicants should never contact the ARC directly. Always speak to your Faculty or RIC first.


Discovery Indigenous questions and primary email

Key contacts

Angela Baklavas-Kottaras+61 3 8344 2018
Annabel Cookson+61 3 8344 2061

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