The Australia-China Council (ACC) is the Australian Government’s advisory and funding body dedicated to strengthening of cultural, education, business, and more broadly, people-to-people relations between Australia and China.
Each year, we deliver around A$700,000 in grants for organisations and individuals across Australia. The Council’s funding is determined by the Government, and is subject to the scope and availability of funding in each financial year.
The Grants section of the website provides you with information about our 2015-16 funding program and the funding application process. It also includes information about what happens after you have applied and if you are successful.
2015-16 Grant Round Dates
Opening date - Expressions of Interest (EOI) online – Friday 27 February 2015
Closing date for submitting EOI – Tuesday 31 March 2015 (03:00PM AEDT)
Invite successful applicants to submit full application – May 2015
Notify unsuccessful applicants (EOI Stage) – May 2015
Closing date for receipt of full applications online (by invitation only) – June 2015
Notify unsuccessful applicants (Full Applications Stage) – July 2015
Notify successful applicants pending funding allocation for the 2014-2015 Financial Year – July 2015
**The online application system will be accessible on the opening date and will close on the closing date at the times indicated above. Late entries will not be accepted. We recommend applicants not to wait until the last day to submit their applications.
Grants at a glance
Through our annual competitive grants program, the Australia-China Council supports projects across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and Australia that broaden and strengthen Australia-China relations in education, business, culture and the arts.
The Australia-China Council grants are intended to provide seed funds for innovative proposals relevant to the objectives of the Australia-China Council’s Strategic Plan 2014-18). The Council will normally hold one grant round each year, opening in February.
How to Apply
Step 1 - Our Funding Priorities
The Australia-China Council’s grant-making priorities for the 2014-2018 period are centered on three areas – Education, Economic Diplomacy and Arts and Culture and underpinned by the three cross-cutting themes - Mobility, Capabilities and New Areas of Engagement.
Support practical and effective solutions to enhance China literacy, business and cultural capabilities of Australian institutions and people to effectively engage with China and promote education and knowledge connectivity between Australia and China
2. Economic Diplomacy
Promote diversity, growth and innovation of Australia's trade and investment relationship with China
3. Arts and Culture
Showcase Australian arts and creative industries to Chinese audiences and build closer and broader cultural and artistic partnerships
The Council’s grant-making and program activities in the above-mentioned areas will focus on the following three cross-cutting themes:
Encouraging greater and more diverse professional mobility between Australia and China, including through support of the New Colombo Plan.
Building capabilities of organisations and individuals to enter into partnerships and work effectively with their Chinese counterparts; investing in information resources (including new digital and mobile platforms) that inform Australian communities and relevant sectors about opportunities, practices and risks in engaging with China.
3. New Areas of Engagement
Identifying and seeking practical solutions to develop new areas of engagement between the two countries.
Step 2 - Application Process
There is a two-stage process for applying for a grant:
- Expressions of Interest (EOIs), which are open to all prospective applicants
- Complete applications, which will be invited from a shortlist of Expressions of Interest.
- The ACC's preference is for EOIs and complete applications to be submitted online. The online application system will be accessible on the opening date and will close on the closing date at the times indicated above.
- There will be word limits which must be adhered to.
- Late Expressions of Interest will not be accepted. We recommend applicants not to wait until the last day to submit their applications.
Please contact us if you have problems submitting the application online at firstname.lastname@example.org or on (02) 6261 3818 before the closing date.
Following the assessment of the EOIs by the Council Board assessment committees, a short list of applications will be determined. Those short listed will be contacted and invited to submit a complete application online. Those who are not short listed will be notified in writing.
All applicants for Council funding will be advised in writing of the outcome of their application. Successful applicants will receive the Council's Funding Agreement and will be advised of any additional special conditions which the ACC may specify for the grant.
Total funding for the ACC grants program is subject to the availability of funds in 2014-15 financial year.
Funding is capped at $40,000 per application. The level of funding for an individual application may only be increased in exceptional circumstances. If requesting more than $40,000, applicants will need to demonstrate significant potential of the project to make a long-term positive impact on the bilateral relationship within the funding priorities of the Council. Applicants are strongly encouraged to carefully consider their project costs and note the assessment committee is unlikely to recommend many projects be funded over $40,000 limit, as it reduces the number of grants to be offered. We encourage applicants planning to apply for grants of over $40,000 to discuss their proposal with us before applying.
ACC grants are intended to be a seed funding to encourage partnerships with other areas of government, corporate sponsors and private donors, and applicants will normally be expected to demonstrate that they are seeking assistance from other sources. Full budget details for the project are required in the complete application form and applicants must declare where they are seeking other sources of funding for the same project, including all Commonwealth, State/Territory and local government funding.
Step 3 - Eligibility requirements
- Individuals and organisations may apply for grants.
- Individual applicants must be Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents. Proof of citizenship or residency may be required.
- The applicant should demonstrate an established record of achievement in the development and management of projects relevant to their proposed area of endeavour, and should provide evidence of this.
- Joint applications may be accepted from non-Australian individuals or organisations who are working in partnership with Australian individuals, groups or organisations. Australian individuals or organisation should be the main applicant.
- No person or organisation can hold more than one Australia-China Council grant at any given time without the prior approval of the Council.
- Grants may not be provided to organisations or individuals that have failed to provide a proper acquittal of an earlier grant provided by the Australia-China Council, or any other Foundation, Council or Institute of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
- Competition for grant money is considerable, and the Council may decide not to award a new grant to an individual or organisation which has received a grant in the past.
- Each applicants can only submit one application per round, excluding applications re-submitted with additional information at the Council’s request, however we will accept multiple applications (maximum 3 per organisation) from different areas/business units of large organisations (such as universities).
- As a government organisation, the Australia-China Council is committed to the principles of equal opportunity and encourages individuals and organisations from target groups to apply for grants under this scheme.
ACC welcomes applications for a wide range of projects that enhance Australia-China relations in the priority funding areas and fall under the cross-cutting themes outlined above. The table below provides some broad examples of activities eligible for funding. The table is not intended to provide an exhaustive list of all activities eligible for ACC funding, and should be used as a guide only:
|Cross-cutting themes →||Mobility||Capabilities||New Areas of Engagement|
|Priority Funding Areas ↓|
|Projects involving education-related internships, Fellowships, professional placements and visit programs||Projects offering innovative and practical solutions to increase interest in Chinese linguistic and cultural studies in Australia, resources and applications on Chinese language and studies, studying in China guides||Innovative projects investigating and developing new areas of education and science engagement|
|Economics and Business||Projects involving business-focussed internships, work placements, mentoring, reciprocal visits by business leaders||Projects producing resources and applications on opportunities, achievements, risks in the economic relationship, outreach, advocacy and professional development programs assisting business community to enter and succeed in China||Practical initiatives exploring opportunities in emerging sectors, events on new and emerging areas of the bilateral economic relationship|
|Arts and Culture||Residencies, tours, exhibitions (in-bound and outbound)||Project showcasing Australian creativity and artistic capabilities to Chinese audiences, programs which develop capabilities of Australian cultural institutions and artists to enter and success in China’s cultural sectors||Practical initiatives developing and investigating new areas of cultural exchange, opportunities for Australia in emerging cultural sectors and regions (e.g. second and third-tier cities in China)|
Activities Not Eligible for Funding
- Commercial activities, and activities which give a commercial advantage to an organisation/individual
- Capital expenditure, equipment or computer software
- Research which is more appropriately funded by universities, the Australian Research Council or other institutions
- Conference/meeting travel, unless the subject of the conference is of direct relevance to the Australia-China relationship and the applicant is a leader in the field. Applicants must also demonstrate that a substantial program will be arranged before and/or after the conference.
- Funding support to grant-giving organisations for activities mainly involving their own personnel and/or other costs.
- Activities that are properly the responsibility of other funding bodies or other government agencies, for example:
- Development assistance projects;
- Activities under bilateral science and technology agreements; and
- Trade promotion activities normally handled by Austrade or industry promotion bodies
- Activities that are properly the responsibility of the host institution e.g., post graduate students applying for travel assistance to do field work as part of their thesis will not normally be considered.
- Any project in which the Australia-China component is marginal and incidental to the main aims of the project.
- Study tours or activities undertaken by schools where travel by a significant number of students is the principal element of the proposal.
- Employment of research assistants, administrative staff etc., or the payment of administrative charges levied by the applicant's organisation.
- Funding of completed projects, or recurrent funding of projects.
- Salaries and honorariums.
Step 4 - Examples of Projects
Visit 'Australia-China Relations' - a web initiative by ACC showcasing the diversity and depth of Australia-China ties and projects supported by the Council.
Step 5 - Application Guidelines
How to complete the online Expression of Interest or online Application Form
In order to give your online Expression of Interest or Application the best chance possible, please be aware of the following:
- The applicant should be the owner of the bank account into which the grant (if successful) will be paid. This person or entity will be required to enter into a funding (grant) agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia (represented by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), and legally responsible for the proper acquittal of any funds awarded. Persons signing application and funding acceptance forms must be duly authorised to do so.
- The start date for the project should take into account project preparation time.
- Normally the Council does not pay a grant to a successful recipient until four to eight weeks prior to the project's start date. However, you may be required to pay project expenses before this. In either case, advice of the date you estimate you will need ACC funds will help the Council plan its grant payments. For example, you would use the date airline tickets must be paid for, not the departure date or the booking date.
- The amount applied for should be exclusive of GST. If you are registered for GST, the ACC will add that amount to your grant.
- Remember that the ACC may have little or no knowledge of what you do. As decisions are based on information provided, ensure that your forms are clear, comprehensive and concise.
- We must receive the on-line application by the closing date/time.
- With the online Expression of Interest and Application form you do not need to send in a hard copy of the application with your signature.
In addition to the points above, following the completion of the online Expression of Interest form, should you be invited to complete the online Application form; the following tips for completing your online Application form are also important:
- Ensure your Budget (incoming funds) matches your Expenditure Statement (project costs) in the Complete Application Form (attached to the online form as MS Excel spreadsheet).
- Provide the most detailed and accurate Expenditure Statement possible for the complete application. Unless the Council specifies otherwise, these will be the only activities for which you can use the grant.
- Unspent grant funds must be returned to the Council when your project has been completed.
- Council funding of international air fares is at the applicable economy excursion rate. Applications for funding of business class airfares will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The Council will not reimburse applicants for additional expenses incurred because of late bookings or other problems requiring tickets to be paid at a higher rate.
- Applicants should note that misleading the Australian Government on financial matters may have serious consequences. Under section 136.1 of the Criminal Code (Commonwealth), it is an offence to provide false or misleading information to an Australian Government body in an application for a benefit, punishable by up to 12 months imprisonment.
- Referees should be independent of the project and be able to comment on your ability to undertake the project, in addition to commenting on merits of the project itself.
- The ACC will not accept un-signed referees' reports. Scanned copies of referees’ reports should be attached to the Online Complete Application. You do not have to send hard copies of reports to ACC Secretariat at DFAT.
- Follow up with your referees to ensure that you receive their signed written references before the closing date and attach them as scanned copies to your online application. It is important that you include references when submitting the application. Late references will not be accepted.
- Please note that CVs are strictly limited to one page.
- All documentation must be in English or accompanied by a translation.
All applicants will receive an acknowledgement email when the EOI has been received. The acknowledgement may be sent out before EOIs are checked for eligibility. Receiving an acknowledgment does not mean that an EOI is valid. Please see below for information on the eligibility check.
EOIs will be considered by an assessment committee which will make recommendations on a shortlist of EOIs to the committee chair for approval. Shortlisted EOIs will be invited to submit a complete application.
The assessment committee competitively assesses EOIs against the ACC funding priorities, cross-cutting themes and assessment criteria using a rating system.
EOIs will be shortlisted primarily on the basis of the information supplied by the applicant in the EOI form.
Successful EOI applicants will be notified in writing and invited to submit a complete application. Please note that shortlisting does not automatically guarantee a grant.
Unsuccessful EOI applicants will be advised in writing following the completion of the EOI assessment process. Due to limited resources, unsuccessful EOI applicants cannot be given feedback on their EOI and will not be able to seek additional verbal feedback from the ACC Secretariat.
All applicants will receive an acknowledgement email when the application has been received. The acknowledgement will be sent out before applications are checked for eligibility. Receiving an acknowledgment does not mean that an application is valid.
Indigenous content and protocols
Applications with artistic content and/or stated intended outcomes relating to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists, communities or their activities, should provide signed letters of support from relevant Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists and/or communities and/or organisations.
Grant applicants with artistic content and/or stated intended outcomes relating to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists, communities or their activities, must adhere to the Indigenous cultural protocol guides which are available free on the Australia Council website and can be downloaded from the Australia Council website.
Assessment Process and Criteria
EOIs and Complete Applications will be considered by the ACC Board assessment committees which will competitively assesses EOIs and applications against the selection criteria using a numerical rating system.
Decisions are made primarily on the basis of the information supplied in the EOI and Application, budget and accompanying supporting documentations. The assessment committee will seek additional input from relevant DFAT overseas missions to assist in the consideration of applications. The assessment committee may also take into account information from other sources that it considers appropriate, such as:
- advice from ACC board members;
- communication with other areas of government, including federal, state and territory agencies; and
- previous DFAT grant acquittals (including any overdue or unsatisfactory acquittals).
While an EOI and/or application may meet the selection criteria, a grant is not guaranteed. Successful applications may not be funded to the full amount requested.
Unsuccessful applicants will be advised in writing following the completion of the assessment process and will be able to seek additional verbal feedback from the ACC Secretariat on request.
Conflict of interest
Assessment committee members and ACC Grants Program staff must disclose any actual or perceived conflict of interest in any matter to be considered in which they are formally involved. Depending on the nature and extent of the conflict, they may be required not to take part in any discussion or decision-making process involving the conflict. Such disclosures will be formally recorded.
DFAT employees are required to comply with the Commonwealth Public Service Act 1999 and the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct. DFAT's Conduct and Ethics Manual ensures that any conflicts of interest, whether actual or perceived, do not influence decision-making. The manual is available online at http://www.dfat.gov.au/publications/conduct-ethics/.
Role of DFAT staff
The role of ACC Grants Program staff is to:
- provide information and advice to the assessment committee to assist its determination of policy and its assessment of grant applications
- provide information to potential applicants for grants
- administer and monitor the program to enable a flexible, fair and efficient assessment process in the interest of both the decision-makers and applicants.
ACC Grants Program staff do not make decisions on funding applications.
All applications are assessed against the Council's strategic objectives - funding priorities, cross-cutting themes and the following 5 key assessment criterions. Applications for grants must therefore follow these guidelines before being submitted for consideration:
- The project should be relevant to the Council's goals (as indicated in the Strategic Plan 2014-2018 and Funding Priorities section above).
- The Project’s objectives should be clearly defined and consistent with the Council’s goals and national goals for the broader and deeper engagement with China.
2. Excellence and Quality
- Applicants should have an established record of achievement in their proposed field of endeavour.
- The applicant should have a demonstrated ability to deliver the project successfully.
3. Sustainability and Continuity
- The project should establish prospects for future independent activity as a result of initial Council funding.
- Preference will be given to projects which are able to demonstrate that they have obtained part of their funding from other sources and can provide evidence of such support.
- ACC support should constitute seed funding intended to encourage financial support from other sources, including corporate sponsorships.
- While grant amounts will be considered on a proposal basis, in general, individual grant funding does not exceed AUD 40,000. In exceptional circumstances the Council may decide that the project will become a priority activity of the ACC in that financial year and provide funding beyond the stated limit.
- Where a project is of high quality, but financially beyond the Council's resources, the Council may decide to award the applicant a grant conditional on funds being raised from other sources.
- The Council attaches great importance to the capacity of projects to develop new or strengthen existing partnerships between Australian organisations and individuals and their counterparts in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau.
- Where projects are to be undertaken in conjunction with, or part funded by a Chinese or Australian organisation, applicants must demonstrate that sufficient support is available from the counterpart to ensure the success of the project. An example of such support might be in-kind or other support of the project provided by host/counterpart organisation. Copies of documentation to this effect should be provided. Where the support takes the form of guarantees by governmental or other agencies, documentary evidence of this should also be provided.
5. Outreach and Publicity
- Provision should be made in the application for publicity or promotion of the project. Full acknowledgement of the Council’s support is required in all promotional materials and publications associated with ACC-funded projects.
In addition, the Australia-China Council programs and grant-making activities are informed by the following principles:
- Creativity and Innovation: The Council-funded projects generate new ideas and identify new areas of contact between Australia and China
- Equality and Diversity: Projects promote and encourage gender equality, cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity, and facilitate engagement between Australian and Chinese regions and areas outside major capital cities and business hubs
- Accountability: Projects have clear key performance indicators and comply with the Australian government’s financial and other reporting requirements
Step 6 - Responsibilities of Successful Applicants and Grant Conditions
Funding recipients are responsible for the following:
- All administrative costs and arrangements associated with their activities, including visa and travel arrangements, visa charges, airport taxes, ground transport, travel and health insurance and accommodation.
- Making arrangements regarding any taxation liabilities, which may arise from the award of funding. Payment will only be made after receipt of the signed Funding Acceptance form, and a Tax Invoice (with GST included in the case of GST-registered funding recipients).
- Funding recipients who do not have an ABN are required to provide the Secretariat with a completed ATO Statement by a Supplier form .
- Council grants must normally be taken up in the financial year for which they are granted. If a grant cannot be taken up within the specified period, it will be withdrawn in order to give other applicants an opportunity to carry out a project. Any likely delay should therefore be reported in good time to the Council, to allow it to consider the circumstances and take any appropriate action.
- Applicants should read the conditions contained in the Funding Agreement carefully before submitting an Expression of Interest and/or Application. The Australia-China Council reserves the right to withdraw funding if a grant recipient fails to comply with the Australia-China Council’s Funding Agreement.
Grant recipients will be required to sign a legally-binding funding agreement setting out the terms and conditions of the grant and the requirement to provide an acquittal within two months of the completion of the project.
Grant recipients will be required to provide a tax invoice, in accordance with GST legislation, for each payment of grant funds in accordance with the payment dates set out in the funding agreement. Payment of a grant will not be made until the agreement has been signed by all the relevant parties and the grant recipient has submitted an invoice. Applicants should not start the project until the agreement has been signed by all relevant parties.
Funding must be used for the specific activities outlined in the application and only towards those costs indicated in the budget for ACC funding expenditure. Recipients may request changes to the agreement in writing to the ACC Secretariat, but this does not guarantee the request will be approved. The recipient must repay any unspent funds and/or funds spent on non-approved items promptly.
If a grant cannot be taken up within the specified time period, it may be withdrawn. Any changes to the timing of the project, including delays, should be reported immediately to the ACC Secretariat. If required, a request for extension should also be submitted in writing. Requests for extension will be considered but may not be approved.
A condition of funding is that the applicant will provide an acquittal report on the project and an adequate financial acquittal within 30 days of the completion of the activities for which the funding is provided. The acquittal report will include an evaluation of the project and its outcomes, accompanied by supporting evidence and a certified financial acquittal. An audited financial statement may also be required. Failure to do so will prevent the applicant from being given further funding and may lead to grant recovery action. Acquittal report can be submitted online – the link to the online acquittal report will be sent to all successful grant applicants.
No guarantee of ongoing funding
Unless specified, approval of any grant to an individual, group or organisation does not commit DFAT to any future funding of that individual, group or organisation. Funding will be awarded to those who best meet the selection criteria within the amount of funds available.
Grant recipients are responsible for all administrative costs and arrangements associated with their project including visa and travel arrangements, visa charges, airport taxes, ground transport, travel and health insurance for project participants, medical and hospital insurance cover for visitors not covered by Medicare in Australia (including evacuation and death cover), any necessary insurance for equipment, and accommodation costs and arrangements. Grant recipients must be covered by appropriate insurance, including public liability insurance. DFAT may request evidence of the currency and amount of cover under all relevant policies.
Groups, unincorporated associations and other bodies with no legal status are required to nominate either a member of the group or a legally constituted organisation to take responsibility for administering the grant, should they be successful in receiving ACC grant.
The applicant, the nominated member or an administering body should provide the acquittal once the project is completed (see Acquittal Report section above). Both the applicant and the administering body will be considered responsible for unsatisfactorily acquitted grants. The administering body is not responsible for the artistic direction or the artistic quality of the project. Generally, the administering body would be required to sign the funding agreement.
Grant applicants should enter into a written agreement with their administering body, setting out the respective rights and responsibilities of both parties in relation to the grant's administration and acquittal. The agreement should also contain a dispute resolution clause setting out procedures to be followed in the event of a disagreement between the parties.
An organisation may be the administering body for as many DFAT grants as they see fit. Administering bodies may make grant applications in their own right.
Access and equity services
Applicants may speak with the ACC Secretariat in their first language by telephoning the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 (local call anywhere in Australia) and asking to be connected with the ACC Secretariat.
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander applicants may wish to access assistance in submitting an application where English is not their first language. In these cases, applicants may contact an Indigenous language centre for assistance. A list of Indigenous language centres is provided in the National Indigenous Languages Contacts Directory available from:
The Federation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages and Culture (Corporation) (FATSILC)
295 King Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: +61 3 9602 4700
Fax: +61 3 9602 4770
Taxation and grants
Grants paid by DFAT may be considered part of an applicant's income in a financial year and may be subject to tax, including the GST. Individual applicants need to be mindful of the taxation obligations of receiving a grant as an individual. It is the applicant's responsibility to understand their taxation obligations and liabilities. Advice is available from the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 66 or at www.ato.gov.au.
Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) enables applicants to request documents held by DFAT. If applicants wish to access documents under the FOI Act they must make a formal application. Charges may apply. Access to information under the FOI Act is limited by certain exemptions and an authorised decision-maker will assess any requested documents prior to any release of information.
All personal information provided in support of an application is treated in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988. The information provided in grant applications is used when processing and assessing applications. This information may also be used for training and system testing by DFAT staff and for evaluating the program.
The personal information provided by applicants will be stored centrally and will be available to Commonwealth officers and the government on a need-to-know basis.
Personal information concerning successful grant applicants may be disclosed to the ACC, to other Commonwealth agencies, State and Territory governments, media representatives, members of Parliament and the general public. DFAT may also publish this information in its Annual Report and on its website. DFAT is required to publish information about the ACC Grants Program on its website, including details of each grant awarded (for example, the recipient's name, state, suburb and postcode, the purpose and value of the grant, the date the funding agreement takes effect and the term of the agreement).
Rights and responsibilities
Funding under the ACC Grants Program does not imply or determine that DFAT endorses the views of the artists or participants involved in funded activity. Grant recipients are required to comply with all applicable domestic and international laws, and their activity should not bring DFAT into disrepute.
In planning overseas travel, it is recommended that applicants refer to DFAT's travel advisory service, Smartraveller. DFAT maintains travel advisories for more than 160 destinations, which provide accurate, up-to-date information about the risks Australians might face overseas. This information enables applicants to make well-informed decisions about whether, when and where to travel. DFAT encourages applicants and project personnel to register their travel with Smartraveller. This service can be accessed online at http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/.
Notwithstanding any assistance provided by DFAT in facilitating international travel through an ACC grant, applicants are responsible for their own travel insurance and travel at their own risk.
Step 7 - Online Application
The online application system will be accessible on the opening date and will close on the closing date at the times indicated above. Late entries will not be accepted. We recommend applicants not to wait until the last day to submit their applications.