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Frequently asked questions

Grant Applications

Is there a page limit for the application form?

There are some word limits in the Smartygrants form.The assessment committee has to read many applications, and the clearer your argument the more likely your application will stand out.

Do I need to brief my referees about the project and participants?

Yes. You need to demonstrate that you have a track record and are going to be able to do what you say you are going to do in the application and that there is likely to be a long-term outcome.

How long should a CV of the main project participants be?

CV's should be no longer than one page.

Do I need to have had contact with my project partner in China, Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan before sending in an application?

The project should be well thought out and ready to be implemented. You should have, at least, in principle support from the organisation or people you identify as being your project partners in your application, and project counterparts (overseas) should be well-briefed about the project and their role in it. It is useful to include written support from your project partner/s with the application.

What if I need a grant quickly or 'out of time'?

The ACC conducts one grant round a year.

Is there an opportunity to discuss a project before completing an application?

As part of the 2018-19 ACC Grants round, applicants can submit an optional one-page pitch of their project to the ACC Secretariat (from the period between 5 February to 19 March 2018). After reviewing each one-page pitch submission the ACC Secretariat will provide applicants with informal verbal feedback to enhance the eligibility of their project prior to applicants submitting a full application.

Please note the one page pitch is an optional process for applicants and is not a required step for the grant selection process and will not guarantee selection .

Who will assess applications?

The Board of the Australia-China Council will assess each application. Board members are listed on the Australia-China Council website. Board members are treated as Commonwealth officials due to their role in the assessment process in accordance with Part 1, section 2.8 of the CGRGs and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act.

Who will approve grants?

The assessment committee will make recommendations to the First Assistant Secretary, North Asia Division, or his/her delegate within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The delegate will make the final decision to approve a grant.

The delegate's decision is final in all matters, including:

  • the approval of the grant
  • the grant funding amount to be awarded.

What are the chances of getting a grant?

The grant process is very competitive. The ACC Board assesses grant applications by considering how the proposal will further the goals of the Council and whether the application meets the guidelines for grant submissions. The ACC Strategic Plan 2014-2018 outlines the goals of the ACC. The Council has a limited budget, which often means that unfortunately not all projects that satisfy the guidelines and further the goals of the ACC can be funded. Last year 34 out of 215 grant applications were successful.

How do I apply?

You need to submit an application at the time the Grant Round is announced, usually in February-April period each year. The Grant Round will be advertised on the ACC website, the ACC Facebook page, the ACC LinkedIn page and via the DFAT Twitter account.

If I am successful, what happens next?

If you are successful we will send you a letter congratulating you on your success. The ACC Secretariat will then forward a copy of a Funding Agreement stating the terms and conditions of accepting the grant funding for you to sign. The Board may request further information prior to providing funding and this will need to be provided quickly, or risk losing the grant funding. Then 4-6 weeks out of the start of the project, the ACC will be able to transfer funds to the nominated account upon the receipt of your invoice. Following completion of the project you will be expected to submit an online Acquittal Report, detailing how the funds were spent, what the outcomes of your project were and how you achieved them. We also expect the successful grant recipients to provide updates to the Secretariat throughout the project cycle.

Can I appeal a grant decision?

The Boards decision is final and there is no mechanism for appeal.

Do I need to do anything to complete my grant?

Yes, you need to submit an Acquittal Report detailing how the funds were spent, what the outcomes were and how you achieved them. You will need to provide receipts, any materials that were produced as a result of the grant (e.g. reports, journal articles, policy papers) and publicity materials (including, video, photographs, and online features).

What can I get a grant for?

The ACC provides modest funding for innovative proposals relevant to the mission and goals of the Council. This includes proposals which demonstrate the potential for the development of long-term links between individuals and institutions in Australia and counterparts throughout China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. We have published profiles of recent grantees.

In any financial year the Council will look to fund a diverse range of activities that further the Council's goals and are preferably under the Council's funding priority areas, both in Australia and China, including projects which have a reach outside the major cities. The Council's funding priority areas are outlined in the 2014-18 Strategic Plan. The ACC currently supports projects under the broad themes of arts and culture (including sport), education and economic diplomacy.

Can I apply for a grant?

Yes, you can apply for a grant if you are an Australian citizen or organisation. We do provide grants to Chinese organisations on a case by case basis, however our strong preference is for the Chinese organisation to have an Australian partner/ organisation who applies for the grant.

Do you fund research?

The ACC does not fund research that is more appropriately funded by universities, the Australian Research Council or other institutions.

Do you fund scientific projects?

The ACC welcomes applications in the funding priority areas under the current strategic plan of arts & culture (including sport), education, and economic diplomacy. We suggest applicants for science related projects consider applying for funding for other sources, including the Australia-China Science and Research Fund.

Can I apply for a grant if the project will take more than one year to complete?

In order to maximize the impact of the ACC-supported projects, the ACC accepts multi-year grant applications (up to 3 years). Multi-year grants refer to projects that require more than one year to complete instead of recurring activities such as annual festivals etc. Grant payment for multi-year projects will be made upon satisfactory delivery of milestones instead of the full amount upfront.

I work for a University that has received thousands of Commonwealth Government grants in the past. Do I need to list each and every one?

If you are part of a large organisation, please list only those grants recently acquitted by your immediate Department or work area and to your project. This information is needed if you wish the board to take into account your organisation's good track record on achieving project outcomes and acquitting grants.

I am a researcher at a University. Should I apply for a grant in my own name, or on behalf of my University?

The ACC prefers applications be made on behalf of the research or host institution rather than by individuals where possible, as this demonstrates active support from the host organisation.

I work for a Commonwealth government agency. Can our agency apply for funding?

The ACC does not generally provide funding to Commonwealth Government agencies or departments. However, the ACC can provide grant funding to "corporate Commonwealth entitles" (where the organisations are not part of the same legal entity as the ACC). Examples of such entities include the National Library of Australia, the National Museum of Australia, the Australian National University, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. If uncertain, refer: Department of Finance's Commonwealth entities [PDF, 455KB].

Can I use the Australia-China Council grant to pay for salaries, such as to engage a research assistant?

No, we do not provide grants to pay for salaries such as research assistants. Grants are not normally available to cover administrative costs arising from the day-to-day operations of an organisation (including salaries, leases of equipment or property) or activities that are properly the responsibility of other funding bodies or other government agencies (e.g. academic research, assistance to business, development assistance projects). But we can pay for services related to a specific project. For example, engaging a graphic designer to produce a logo could potentially be appropriate under a grant.

Can I pay per diems to consultants?

While the ACC will not pay for salaries, payment of per diems could be possible, depending on whether the amount is reasonable and appropriate in the context of the application. In general, per diems should not be the central plank of an application.

What type of projects does the ACC welcome to celebrate its 40th anniversary?

The ACC welcomes projects consistent with its current strategic plan. As the ACC prepares to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its founding in 2018, we welcome projects consistent with the strategic objectives that highlight achievements and milestones in Australia's relationship with China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan - especially in relation to cultural diplomacy and people-to-people links.

Last Updated: 4 April 2016
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