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2014/15 AMI general grants program - Grant funding guidelines

1. About the Australia-Malaysia Institute (AMI)

1.1 The Institute is an advisory body for the Minister, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The Institute consists of:

  • an Advisory Board consisting of not fewer than five members, all of which are prominent members of the Australian community with strong links and experience in Malaysia and/or AMI priority areas; and
  • a Secretariat provided by DFAT.

1.2 The mission of the Australia-Malaysia Institute (AMI) is to broaden and deepen the relationship between Australia and Malaysia and to undertake and support programs that strengthen next-generation links between Australia and Malaysia.

1.3 Its goals are to:

  • Initiate and support influential persons and groups in Australia and Malaysia, with activities that encourage a greater interest in the development of relations between the two countries, including political and economic relations and broader diplomatic objectives.
  • Promote cooperation between individuals and institutions in Australia and Malaysia which enhance learning, teaching and research in areas of mutual interest and shared dilemmas.
  • Broaden awareness and understanding in Australia and Malaysia of each other's culture, values and traditions through increased people-to-people contacts between Australia and Malaysia.
  • Publicly promote the Australia-Malaysia relationship and establish relations through media and alumni activities in order to facilitate long-term bilateral links.

1.4 Wherever possible the AMI seeks to expand people-to-people and institutional links through programs, partnerships with other organisation and seed funding of projects to enable them to grow.

1.5 Through a competitive selection process, the AMI periodically offers grant funding for projects that contribute to the Institute's goals.

1.6 As applications are assessed against these Guidelines, all applicants should familiarise themselves with them before submitting an application for funding under the AMI General Grants Program.

2. Grant Program Objectives and Priorities

2.1 The objective of the General Grants Program is to provide financial assistance to eligible organisations for outcome based projects, programs and initiatives which contribute to the Institute's goals, as outlined under 1.3 above.

2.2 Each year the AMI identifies priority areas for its support. For 2014-15 the AMI has identified the following priority areas:

  • Public Policy
  • Education, including vocational education and training
  • Media
  • Women and girls

2.3 Quality projects in a sector not identified above, but that closely aligns with the objectives of the AMI, may still be considered.

3. Grant Applications

3.1 Application rounds for the AMI General Grants Program will be advertised on the AMI website, and other media as considered appropriate by the Board.

3.2 To enable an accurate and comprehensive assessment of applications, all applicants must complete the AMI funding application form in full online, following the link supplied on the AMI Grants Program page. Potential applicants can access and enter the form without necessarily submitting. Intending applicants may work on the application over time before clicking on the final submit button.

3.3 Applications that are incomplete, do not include the requested documentation, or do not address the selection criteria may be deemed ineligible.

3.4 Applicants must also provide signed letters of support from two referees (see 7 – Referee Requirements).

3.5 Applications must be submitted in the English language and application budgets must be submitted in Australian Dollars (AUD).

3.6 Applicants should demonstrate an established record of achievement in the development and management of projects relevant to their proposed area of endeavor, and should provide evidence of this.

3.7 When preparing the application applicants should bear in mind that Institute members may not be familiar with the applicant, the organisation or the field of activity. As the Institute's decision will be primarily based on the information provided in the application form, this document should be clear, accurate, comprehensive and focused.

3.8 Applicants should present a strong argument why Malaysia (in the case of Australian applicants) or Australia (in the case of Malaysian applicants) are the partners of choice for the project for which funding is being sought.

3.9 If you are unable to access the online application form, you may request a hardcopy application form from the AMI Secretariat by sending an email to or calling +61 2 6261 1333. The completed application form and any associated documents must be sent by mail to the AMI Secretariat at:

Australia-Malaysia Institute Secretariat
South-East Asia Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
R G Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent

3.10 The application must be received in the Secretariat by the closing date of the application round.

3.11 AMI reserves the right to amend without notice the Funding Application Form and these associated Guidelines for Funding Applicants. It is the responsibility of applicants to check on the AMI website that the respective documents are current.

4. Eligibility

4.1 The Institute has no obligation to consider applications received outside of its advertised Grants Program application rounds. However, applications received outside of those rounds may be considered by the Institute on an ad hoc basis during the financial year, subject to available Institute funding.

4.2 Both individuals and organisations may apply for grants.

4.3 Joint applications may be accepted from non-Australian citizen/resident individuals or organisations who are working in partnership with Australian individuals, groups or organisations, where this will promote Australian-Malaysian relations.

5. Selection Criteria

Please also refer to our AMI Grant Application Tips page.

5.1 Applications for funding will be assessed against the following criteria:

  1. The proposal has clearly defined objectives consistent with one or more of AMI's strategic objectives (35% weighting).
  2. The project outcomes:
    • are achievable within the stated timeframe;
    • offer prospects for ongoing self-sustaining activity in the absence of on-going AMI funding;
    • represent value for money (30% weighting).
  3. Where possible, support requested from AMI should constitute seed-funding and encourage financial assistance from other sources, including corporate sponsors (15% weighting).
  4. The applicant demonstrates the ability to plan, manage and evaluate the project, including evidence of qualifications/experience (20% weighting).

5.2 The Institute will consider a range of issues when selecting successful projects including, although not limited to: availability of funding, rating against the selection criteria, spread of projects in Malaysia and projects across the Institute's priority areas.

5.3 The Institute assesses grant applications on the likely benefits a project will bring, rather than on the amount actually requested, and it therefore exercises some flexibility in the amounts disbursed as grants. While the level of grant funding will be decided according to the merits of the proposal, funding will generally be between AUD 5,000 and AUD 20,000 per grant.

5.4 As the Institute receives more proposals for funding each year than it is able to support, AMI reserves the right not to fund projects, even if they satisfy the Selection Criteria. AMI may also decline to provide funding at the level sought.

6. Activities not funded

6.1 The intent of the Board is to provide seed-funding for innovative new projects that are closely aligned with the Institute's objectives.

6.2 Support will normally not be made available for projects which have received AMI funding on two or more previous occasions. Where projects have been funded previously by the AMI, applicants need to make a strong case as to why continued funding should be provided.

6.3 Grants are not normally available for the following purposes:

  • activities that are predominantly research in nature;
  • activities that are commercially viable in their own right;
  • business development activities and activities that will be of a commercial benefit to the recipient (e.g. promotion of the recipient's business);
  • capital expenditure on real estate property and purchase of equipment;
  • travel and accommodation costs for attendance at conferences, meetings, fieldwork, sporting and other short-term activities where such activities are not of direct relevance to AMI's objectives (see 6.2);
  • activities that are properly the responsibility of other funding bodies or other government agencies (e.g. academic research, development assistance projects);
  • day-to-day operational costs of the organisations seeking funding, e.g. wages, salaries; or
  • funding of completed activities, or recurrent funding of activities.

6.4 AMI does not generally fund travel and accommodation for attendance at conferences or meetings participation in fieldwork or sporting or other events, unless such activities are considered by the Institute to be of direct relevance to its objectives. In assessing applications for such activities, AMI considers whether:

  • the activity would involve a sharing or transfer of expertise from which institutions or individuals in both countries would benefit, and in ways that would directly advance AMI's objectives;
  • the activity includes a wider program that would directly advance AMI's objectives;
  • the activity would result in an expansion of links in new areas in ways consistent with AMI's objectives; and whether
  • alternative sources of funding are either unavailable, or have been adequately explored.

6.5 Regarding funding attendance at conferences or meetings, AMI will normally apply the following additional criteria:

  • only one participant per conference or meeting will be funded; and
  • the conference or meeting participant should be a principal speaker, and a copy of any paper presented by the participant is to be provided to AMI together with the report on the activity.

7. Publicity

7.1 Information should be provided in the application on proposed publicity and promotion of the grant activity. Funding recipients are expected to cooperate with AMI in publicising the activity, and AMI sponsorship must be appropriately acknowledged during the course of the activity and in any publicity arising from it. This requires more than simply replicating the logo on publicity material.

7.2 Any publications, electronic media and publicly performed activities associated with the project should carry the AMI logo (available at /ami/forms.html) and invitations to Institute members for key events associated with the project are highly desirable.

7.3 If the project involves guests travelling to Australia or Malaysia the AMI Secretariat should be advised as early as possible, preferably no later than three weeks before the guests arrive, to provide an opportunity for appropriate AMI involvement.

7.4 If the project involves activities in Malaysia, grant recipients have an obligation to notify and invite the High Commission (6 Jalan Yap Kwan Seng 50450 Kuala Lumpur; E-mail:; Phone: 603 2146 5555; Fax: 603 2141 5773).

8. Referee requirements (for full applications only, not EOIs)

8.1 Applicants must provide signed letters of support from two referees with their full applications, which where possible should comment on:

  • their relationship to the applicant,
  • their involvement or interest, if any, in the project,
  • the project's objectives and the strategies to achieve them, and
  • the applicant's ability to complete the project and to administer project funds.

8.2 Copies of the signed letters of support must be uploaded in the online application form.

8.3 It is the applicant's responsibility to contact the referees in advance and provide them with a copy of the grant application, to assist their preparation of the letters of support. AMI may or may not contact referees directly to seek additional information. Referees may not include staff of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

8.4 AMI also reserves the right to seek advice about the application from other persons as appropriate.

9. Funding arrangements

9.1 Applicants are required to provide a Project Budget breakdown in their application form.

  • The Australian Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a supplementary tax that will be calculated and paid by the Institute as a separate component of project costs, where the applicant is registered for GST. Supplementation for GST may be provided if the project goods or services are to be provided in Australia and are subject to GST. Goods and services provided outside Australia (including international airfares) are not subject to GST. Where foreign taxes are to be imposed on goods and services provided outside Australia, those taxes cannot be treated as a separate payment by the Institute, and applicants should include them in core budget costs for those project items.
  • Where possible, support requested from AMI should supplement financial assistance from other sources, including the applicant's own resources. Where support is obtained from other sources, evidence of the commitment of such support, either financially or in-kind, should be provided with the application form. AMI's decision to award funding may be conditional on supplementary funds being raised from other sources.
  • Where an activity contains an international airfare component, this should be costed as an economy class fare. AMI will not reimburse applicants for additional expenses incurred because of late bookings or other problems requiring tickets to be paid for at a higher cost.

9.2 The AMI Secretariat will prepare a Funding Agreement for each successful funding applicant. The Funding Agreement is the legal agreement between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (on behalf of the AMI) and the funding recipient. In managing the funding provided, the funding recipient must comply with all the requirements of the Funding Agreement.

9.3 All funding recipients must abide by these Guidelines and the Funding Agreement. The funding may otherwise be withdrawn.

9.4 Project implementation must commence during the financial year in which funding is awarded. AMI funding may be valid for up to 12 months, depending on the approved project timeframe.

9.5 If the funding cannot be taken up within the specified period, it may be withdrawn. Any delay in the proposed activity should be reported promptly to the AMI Secretariat. If required, a request for extension should be provided, to allow AMI to consider the reasons for the delay and to take any appropriate action.

10. Selection process

10.1 The AMI General Grants Program is a two-stage open competitive selection process, comprised of the following stages:

Stage 1: Call for Expressions of Interest

Stage 1(a) All Expressions of Interest (EOI) received during the relevant funding round deadlines will be acknowledged by Smartygrants via email.

Stage 1(b) Initial screening of EOIs by AMI Secretariat includes:

  • compliance with Guidelines
  • applicant eligibility and ability to undertake project
  • relevance of project to AMI objectives
  • clarification of details relating to the project strategy and/or budget

Stage 1(c) Assessment of EOIs against selection criteria by AMI Board, and selection of applications for further development.

Stage 1(d) Notification of decision by e-mail to successful EOI applicants to invite them to submit a full grant application on-line through Smarty Grants. Secretariat emails unsuccessful EOI applicants advising that they will not be invited to submit a grant application for this round.

Stage 2: Call for Full Applications

Stage 2(a) Assessment of full grant applications against selection criteria by AMI Board, and selection of successful projects.

Stage 2(b) Notification of decision in writing (by email and letter) to applicants by AMI Secretariat.

Stage 2(c) Funding agreement finalised; facilitated by AMI Secretariat.

Stage 2(d) Grant details advertised on the DFAT website following signature of Funding Agreement.

Stage 2(e) Grant payment on receipt of invoice from applicant.

10.2 Successful applicants will be advised of any special conditions that AMI may attach to their activity. Payment will not be made until the applicant has signed the Funding Agreement.

10.3 AMI reserves the right at any time to:

  • cease the selection process;
  • change the structure, approach, content or requirements of the selection process; and/or
  • call for new applications.

10.4 Applicants who submit their funding applications by the closing date will be notified by email of the outcome of their application within a specified timeframe. AMI cannot guarantee the timeframe that it may take to consider funding applications received after the closing date or outside an advertised application round.

11. Reporting and acquittal requirements

11.1 It is a condition of AMI grant funding that recipients fully acquit the funds they have received in a timely manner. Grant moneys should be acquitted within 28 days of the completion of a project using the online Acquittal Form linked to the on-line application. It must include a financial statement of expenditure. All unspent funds must be returned to the AMI.

11.2 The online final report must include a written summary report suitable for upload onto the Institute's website. Where available, photographs relevant to the activity should supplement the report. The report should specify:

  • the activities undertaken in project implementation, and
  • the outcomes achieved.

11.4 The Institute may seek an oral report from the grant recipient at an Advisory Board meeting, in addition to the written report.

11.5 Lower risk grants may have their financial statement of expenditure certified by an official from the organisation that received the grant. Higher risk grants should be certified by a qualified accountant. As a general rule, all grants greater than $40,000 should be certified by a qualified auditor. The cost of certification can be included in the grant funding provided.

11.5 Funding recipients are required to keep all receipts and records for five years and to make these available upon request.

12. Taxation

12.1 Funding Recipients are responsible for making their own arrangements regarding any taxation liabilities that may arise from the award of funding.

12.2 AMI requires, in writing, the Australian Business Number (ABN) of the individual or organisation applying for funds or advice that the individual or organisation does not have an ABN.

12.3 Under the Pay As You Go (PAYG) tax obligations, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is required to withhold tax (at the rate of 46.5%) and remit it to the Australian Tax Office, when the applicant does not have an ABN or cannot provide written advice from the ATO of exemption from the withholding tax. Successful funding applicants who do not have an ABN should therefore provide the Institute with written confirmation, where applicable, of one or more of the following, preferably on the ATO "Statement by a Supplier" form NAT 3346- 6.2000:

  • that the payment is of a private or domestic nature;
  • that the applicant is not carrying on an enterprise;
  • that the applicant is an "income tax exempt body"; or
  • that the applicant has applied for an ABN and has been rejected by the ATO;
  • advice as to whether the individual or organisation is registered for the Australian Goods and Services Tax (GST);
  • identification, if possible, of any indirect savings resulting from the abolition of the wholesale sales tax and other indirect taxes and duties. If it is not possible in the application to identify savings, this should be done in the financial statement of expenditure report on completion of the grant.

13. Insurance

13.1 Funding recipients are responsible for obtaining and maintaining any insurance necessary or prudent for undertaking the proposed activity and to provide the AMI Secretariat with evidence of these policies promptly on request, as required by the Funding Agreement.

14. Responsibilities of the recipient

14.1 Individuals or organisations intending to apply for an AMI grant for an activity that involves travel to Malaysia should read the Australian Government travel advisory ( prior to lodging a grant application. Applicants who intend to travel to areas designated by DFAT as 'Do Not Travel' should ensure that this is addressed in the risk management section of their application.

14.2 Funding recipients are normally 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. Funding recipients should note that health insurance is essential. AMI will not accept any liability for any medical, hospital or evacuation costs incurred by participants in projects funded by the Institute.

14.3 Applicants should keep a copy of their application and supporting documentation for their own records, as applications and documentation will not be returned to applicants once the selection process is concluded.

15. Privacy and Freedom of Information

15.1 The information provided in the funding application is used when processing and assessing the submission. Summary information provided by all applicants will be stored centrally and will be available to Commonwealth officers and the government on a need-to-know basis. The information provided by the applicant may be distributed to AMI, Commonwealth and State or Territory governments, organisations which are responsible for grants programs, and may be made public through national and local media or via the AMI website. DFAT may also publish this information, excluding personal information, in its Annual Report and on the DFAT website. In other circumstances, DFAT will only use and/or disclose personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988. Applicants should also note the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 apply to documents in DFAT's possession.

16. Access and equity

16.1 All funding applications are made using standard documents and are assessed by a standard appraisal procedure, helping to ensure consistency and equity in Institute funding decisions. AMI is committed to the principles of equal opportunity and encourages individuals and organisations from target groups to apply for funding for projects consistent with the Institute's guidelines.

17. Contact Details

AMI Secretariat:


Telephone: (02) 6261 1333

Address: Australia-Malaysia Institute Secretariat
South-East Asia Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
R G Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent

Last Updated: 10 February 2014
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