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Australian Studies Competitive Projects

The results of the 2015-16 round of the Australia-China Council's Australian Studies Competitive Projects Funding scheme have now been announced.

The Program offered by the Australia-China Council (ACC) provides funding to individuals or collaborative teams for the following Australian Studies activities to be undertaken in the forthcoming year:

  • Research: at least half of the annual Competitive Projects funding is reserved for projects which include research in Australia. Graduate students are encouraged to apply.
  • Curriculum and Faculty development: funding assistance to develop new courses and programs in Australian Studies or add new Australian content to existing courses, and/or to provide professional development for university teachers of Australian Studies.
  • Publishing subsidies: includes journals and book publication and electronic publications. Applications must be accompanied by a formal letter from a recognised publisher detailing plans for publication and stating their agreement to publish and any attached conditions. (A maximum amount of $4000 is set for publishing subsidies.)
  • Australian Studies initiatives: examples might include the development of websites or electronic publications; conferences and seminars; other public, educational or community activities. Typically, such events are one-off events rather than annual events.

Note that if your research involves travel to Australia it is your responsibility to contact scholars or institutions in Australia and to submit a Host Institution acceptance form with your application.

This is compulsory for student applications and strongly recommended for academic staff applications.



Individual researchers in China, collaborative teams and Australian Studies Centres in China may submit applications.

At least half of the ACC's total Competitive Projects funding budget will be reserved for projects which include research in Australia.

Competitive Projects funding is not available for Chinese students enrolled at Australian higher education institutions.

Note that requests for purchasing resources (books and other research or teaching materials) can be included in Competitive Project applications. These requests must be linked to a specific research project, curriculum development initiative, or similar activity, and once the research is completed the resources must be placed in a Centre, Faculty or University library rather than belonging to the individual researcher exclusively. Building a targeted collection of books in a designated area could also be an appropriate item for funding (e.g. a project studying the development of Australian cities could make a case for the need to build a small collection of relevant up to date books in this area). The ACC's Book Gifts Program now only applies to major library collections.

Graduate students must be enrolled in their home institution in China not in an Australian institution. It is essential that graduate students applying for funding for research in Australia include with their application a completed and signed Host Institution form from the proposed Australian host institution confirming support. This is also strongly recommended for academic staff, as the Selection Committee takes into account the support a researcher will get when making its decisions.

The Competitive Projects Application Form asks applicants to indicate which of the ACC's goals, themes and funding priorities their project supports. The applicant's project must support at least one of the ACC's goals and at least one of the themes and priorities.

Strategic Goals

  1. To strengthen the foundations of engagement - China literacy, business and cultural capabilities of Australian institutions and people
  2. To seek and foster new areas of engagement between Australia and China across business, knowledge and creative sectors
  3. To enhance understanding in China of Australian society, economy, politics and culture through the Australian Studies in China Program
  4. To showcase Australian creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation in China
  5. To generate, disseminate and make accessible high-quality, relevant and up-to-date information about Australia-China relations
  6. To facilitate dialogue, develop professional and institutional networks between Australia and China and harness the leadership of Australian communities in strengthening bilateral connectivity

Funding Priorities

The Australia-China Council's grant-making and program priorities for the 2014-2018 period are centred on four areas – Education, Economic Diplomacy, Arts and Culture and Australian Studies in China and are underpinned by three cross-cutting themes - Mobility, Technology and Capabilities and New Areas of Engagement.

  1. Education: 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, science and innovation 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
  4. Australian Studies in China: Consolidate and strengthen the Australian Studies in China Program

The Council's grant-making and program activities in the above-mentioned areas will focus on the following three cross-cutting themes:

  1. Mobility: Encouraging greater and more diverse professional mobility between Australia and China, including through support of the New Colombo Plan
  2. Capabilities: 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 niche areas of engagement between the two countries

Projects that do not fall under these funding priorities, however, will not be rejected and will be considered by the Selection Committee.


  • to foster perceptions of contemporary Australia in China as scientifically, technologically and educationally advanced, economically enterprising and culturally diverse;
  • to increase awareness and understanding in China of Australian society and culture; and
  • to increase Australians' capacity to effectively engage with China.

Project Selection

Grants are decided on a competitive basis and on the basis of merit. A Selection Committee comprising members of the ACC, representatives of the management committee for the Australian Studies in China Program, and independent academics, looks at every application and after discussion produces a ranking. The maximum number of projects that can be funded within the limits of the Program's budget are awarded Competitive Project grants. All funding decisions will be made by the Australia-China Council.


All funds will be paid in CNY (in China) or AUD (in Australia). All payments must be made before 30 June 2016, unless special circumstances exist.

Selection Criteria

  • The applicant's project must support at least one of the ACC's strategic goals, funding priorities and cross cutting themes.
  • Merit is the major criterion for ranking and selection, and all applications are considered on their merits: on the quality of the research project and the application; the track record of the applicant; the likelihood of positive outcomes from the project (e.g., publications, a new course, a significant public activity); the contribution the project will make to Australian Studies in China.
  • All applicants must use the 20115-16 Australian Studies Competitive Projects Application Form and provide sufficient information for the Australia-China Council's selection committee to make an assessment.
  • Applications must provide an adequate budget justification for the project. Applications without detailed budget plans and justifications will not be considered.
  • Preference will be given to applications which show evidence of an informed knowledge of previous research published in China and Australia in areas relevant to their project.
  • Preference will be given to projects that fall under at least one of the funding priorities but projects that do not fall under a funding priority will not be rejected by the Selection Committee.
  • Preference is given to applications showing evidence of collaboration. Projects showing evidence of significant collaboration with an Australian institution are also favoured. Evidence of such collaboration includes indication of support from a partner or host institution in Australia.
  • The project should add value to Australian Studies in China and to the Australia-China relationship.
  • Priority is given to applications channelled through an Australian Studies Centre formally recognised by its host institution in China.
  • Applicants should display a solid track record (qualifications, performance, publications) relevant to the Program. Special consideration is given to Australian Studies graduate students.
  • Secondary consideration may be given to other issues to ensure a more even distribution of grants among institutions, regions and disciplines, and among senior academics and graduate students.

It is important to remember that a good project is not the same as a good application. The Selection Committee will be reading around 60 applications, so applicants need to make a strong case for their particular project. A strong application will explain clearly what the research project is (its aims and scope), why it is significant, how it will be conducted (this should be related to the requested budget), and what its outcomes are expected to be. The application form also asks applicants to relate the project to the objectives of the ACC. A good knowledge of existing research in the field (where relevant), strong support from your School, Centre or Faculty, and strong support from an Australian host institution, if the applicant(s) are travelling to Australia, are also important.

Further Information

Please contact Dr Roger Osborne at

Last Updated: 10 August 2016
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