Research Themes Investment Scheme: Information Pack

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1 Research Themes Investment Scheme: Information Pack

2 Table of Contents Research Themes Investment Scheme (RTIS) Guidelines... 3 Overview... 3 Intent... 4 Eligibility... 5 Funding available... 5 Application and selection process... 6 Fund management, reporting requirements and deliverables... 6 Appendix 1: UniSA s Research Themes - Overview... 7 Appendix 2: RTIS Scholarship Guidelines

3 Research Themes Investment Scheme Guidelines OVERVIEW The University of South Australia (UniSA) recognises the value of interdisciplinary research to solve real-world problems - this is evidenced by an announcement that ranked UniSA as Australia s leading University for interdisciplinary research 1. While this is a significant achievement, we need to ensure we continue to strengthen and broaden these activities across other areas, including those identified as UniSA s Research Themes. As articulated in the Research and Innovation Strategic Plan , the thematic approach to research at UniSA is a mechanism for building research capability that is positioned around six key themes to ensure we can deliver innovative and sustainable solutions that respond to some of the most pressing needs of society. Spanning across the University, the themes will: create critical mass; link our research strengths; and address local and global socio-economic needs. A thematic approach to research will allow us to nurture transdisciplinary research - that is, research that spans across traditional disciplinary boundaries, for example research across two or more institutes, research across institutes and schools, or research that spans across divisions. Research Themes will be one of the University s primary mechanisms for engaging with the community about our research, allowing us to talk about our research activities in a meaningful and relevant manner. Themes are also being introduced to encourage our researchers to focus and respond to the needs of industry 2. The purpose of the Research Themes Investment Scheme (RTIS) is to support research activity that is aligned with UniSA s Research Themes (Figure 1). Appendix 1 provides an overview of the Research Themes. Figure 1: UniSA s Research Themes 1 U-Multirank 2015 interdisciplinary publication score reflecting UniSA s innovative character. 2 Throughout this document industry refers to a range of external stakeholders including, but not limited to, commercial entities, government agencies, not-for-profit organisations and community groups. 3

4 The scheme comprises two streams, Seed Funding and Development Funding. The intent of each stream is detailed in the boxes below. INTENT Stream 1: SEED FUNDING The intent of this stream is to support the formation or development of research that spans across traditional disciplinary boundaries, and that builds collaborative partnerships. Funds will be awarded to transdisciplinary projects which will forge pathways for future competitive research activities of significant scale and focus, with tangible and relevant research outcomes. A clear case must be made as to how the proposal extends research activity already in progress. It should be noted that each application must include Chief Investigators (CIs) from at least two different disciplines. Priority will be given to those projects that can identify an external partner. Where an external partner is not known, the project team should identify a future source of industry collaboration. Grants between $10,000 - $40,000 will be awarded to projects that can facilitate the: creation of a transdisciplinary project team that will drive a project which has significance and relevance to external partners and encourages future collaborative opportunities; development of a clear strategy, articulated through the project outcomes, that will enhance the University s profile, focus research on real-world challenges, and improve the quality of our research outputs; and delivery of demonstrable research outcomes within 12 months of receiving seed funding. Stream 2: DEVELOPMENT FUNDING- THEMATIC POSTGRADUATE SUPPORT The intent of this stream is to develop and strengthen an existing transdisciplinary partnership, via the provision of a HDR scholarship. These new scholarships are being implemented to facilitate student cohorts around themes. To apply for a scholarship, transdisciplinary supervisory teams must nominate an industry-linked project - the project will allow a HDR candidate to engage meaningfully with an industry partner via thematically-linked research that is informed, leading edge and relevant. A range of scholarship support options are available for domestic and international students, for a duration of years. The options are: I. A Thematic Postgraduate Support Package ($10,000 per annum). This support package will be awarded to domestic students, or international fee paying students, who are in receipt of an externally-funded living stipend (e.g. APA, ARC stipend, NHMRC stipend, IPRS, or an industry-funded stipend). The support package can fund a top-up scholarship and/or activities that allow the students to further enhance and profile their research externally, (i.e. consumables, travel and conference attendance); II. A thematically-badged living stipend for domestic students, set at a level of the current APA rate (2016 rate is $26,288). This stipend will encourage high performing students to align their research with UniSA s Research Themes; III. A fee waiver for exceptional international applicants, who are in receipt of a living stipend sourced from external funds, to strengthen and increase research aligned to UniSA s Research Themes 4

5 All RTIS applications must clearly address the following eligibility criteria: ELIGIBILITY The project proposal: aligns with 1 or more of UniSA s Research Themes addresses national and/or state research priorities through a clearly articulated and defined research challenge establishes and/or further develops meaningful engagements with external industry partner(s) in order to drive future research activities and deliver tangible impact and benefit demonstrates a potential to attract future funding from external sources The project team: is a transdisciplinary collaborative research team from UniSA with CIs from at least two different disciplines. For all Development Funding: Thematic Postgraduate Support options: there must be an end-user identified as part of the application there must be at least one (1) end-user advisor proposed as a member of the students supervision panel. The Lead CI / Principal Supervisor must be employed by UniSA for the duration of the project. CIs / Principal Supervisors are limited to leading one application from each Stream. 5

6 Grants from both streams will be awarded to each thematic area and the funding available is detailed below. Stream 1: SEED FUNDING FUNDING AVAILABLE A total funding envelope of ~$400,000 will be available for Seed Funding. Grants ranging from $10,000 - $40,000 will be awarded. Activities supported by RTIS Funding include: travel to facilitate engagement with an external partner (includes accommodation and airfare expenses plus incidentals); attendance at forums/conferences/workshops to engage the external partner and develop collaborative opportunities; research assistance to progress the RTIS project; and residencies with the external partner. Please note this list is not exhaustive and other activities which facilitate the development of a collaborative partnership will be considered. Stream 2: DEVELOPMENT FUNDING THEMATIC POSTGRADUATE SUPPORT A number of scholarship and support packages will be available for Development Funding for students commencing in RTIS postgraduate projects approved in Applications will be judged on their fit with the scheme and likelihood of delivering a successful outcome. All successful proposals will be eligible for a RTIS support package voucher ; however these vouchers will be allocated to students on a first-come, firstserved basis once the supervisor has identified a suitable candidate and they have accepted a place at UniSA. Once the total funding allocation for the scheme has been exhausted, remaining projects will be notified that no further funding is available and would need to be resubmitted to a subsequent round of RTIS if they wished to continue with the scheme. As required, thematically-badged scholarships will be advertised via a national advertising campaign in July-August 2016, to assist in attracting exceptional candidates to specific projects. This timing is broadly aligned with the University s HDR domestic recruitment timelines. Students may be recruited in the main domestic scholarship round or independently to the rounds. However they are expected to commence no later than 18 August Please refer to the attached Scholarship Guidelines (Appendix 2) for further information. It is important that you are familiar with the expectations articulated in the guidelines before submitting a RTIS application. 6

7 A RTIS application form must be completed using the online application, and submitted by the closing date and time. The closing date for applications is 10 June, 2016, 5.00pm ACDT. APPLICATION PROCESS, FUND MANAGEMENT, REPORTING REQUIREMENTS & DELIVERABLES The Research and Innovation Portfolio will assess all applications received for compliance against the eligibility criteria prior to being presented to the Major Research Initiative Working Group. If ruled ineligible, the Lead CI or Principal Supervisor may be offered the opportunity to amend and address any compliance issues. The Major Research Initiative Working Group will meet following the close of applications, and outcomes will be communicated to the Lead CI or Principal Supervisor shortly thereafter. In the case of Stream 1: Seed Funding, the Lead CI is responsible for managing their funds, with all monies transferred to a Project (PG) account. Funding must be acquitted upon submission of an annual performance update and any unspent funds will be reclaimed and returned to the DVC: R&I budget, unless DVC: R&I approval has been sought. All end-user (cash) funding committed to the proposal should also be invoiced into the project account. In the case of Stream 2: Scholarships will be administered in accordance with the University s current HDR Scholarship policies and procedures. Normally, scholarships will be awarded during the major University scholarship rounds. However, if suitable candidate are not identified during these rounds the principal supervisor may award the scholarship out of round provided the candidate is assessed against the University s HDR scholarship criteria, is of a high calibre and can commence by 18 th August For both Streams, upon the completion of the project, the Lead CI or Principal Supervisor (along with the HDR student), will: 1. provide a final written report to the Working Group for review, 2. meet with the Major Research Initiative Working Group and outline the outcomes (projected and current) from the project, 3. work with UniSA s Communications and Marketing Unit in the production of a short video about the project. As an additional requirement for Stream 2, in order to enable the Major Research Initiative Working Group to monitor the student s progress, their Review of Progress, which is completed biannually, will be provided to the Working Group for noting. 7

8 Appendix 1: UniSA s Research Themes - Overview AN AGE FRIENDLY WORLD Unlocking human potential across the community through intergenerational approaches Australia and the world s demographics are changing dramatically we are living longer and fertility rates are falling in many societies. The Baby Boomers are driving an ageing demographic, where there will be huge opportunities as the makeup of our communities shifts. In conjunction with a growing population, the demand on our energy resources, transportation and health services is increasing and there is a need to improve efficiency. The impact of these changes in our communities is immense and is providing major challenges and opportunities in areas such as education, energy production and technologies, population health, transportation, social care and the economy. As people live longer we have come to expect a high quality of life and are facing major challenges such as: o How do we sustain a high quality of life for people across a longer lifespan? o How do governments and industries provide developmentally appropriate services and facilities such as education, healthcare and social support, while ensuring the financial sustainability of our systems and institutions? o How do we develop a resilient transport fuel system, with increased diversity of sources, and to design and deliver infrastructure that responds to Australia s urban, regional and remote communities? o What new clean energy technologies and energy storage technologies are required, in a growing population, that are efficient, cost-effective and reliable? o How do we develop reliable, low-cost, sustainable energy supplies that are resilient to shocks, as well as decadal trends in demand and climate, and to technologies that use energy more efficiently? o What are the rights of people across the lifespan? How do these rights differ at various stages of life? Is this fair and does this enable all members of society to fully participate in work, recreation and family life? CANCER Enhancing our understanding of cancer and building our capacity in its prevention and management Humans are living longer than ever opening the windows of the expression of chronic diseases, including cancer. While a focus on therapeutic cancer treatment is fundamental we have the opportunity to offer leadership in additional areas relating to the early detection and lifestyle intervention in cancer. At its core, this theme will operate as a hub to address the real-life challenges facing cancer patients, including: o How can we better manage pain and cancer? o How can nutrition intervention be utilised as a prevention strategy for cancer? How can specific nutrition plans improve the quality of life of cancer patients o How can exercise be used as a preventative for cancer, and as an adjunct to improve/enhance existing cancer therapies? o How do we create more effective therapeutics that are appropriate to patients? o In addition to the current pharmaceutical cancer treatments, where are the opportunities to repurpose existing therapeutics as treatment options, which would provide rapid entry to market and patients? 8

9 TRANSFORMING INDUSTRIES Building economies of the future The world economy is increasingly influenced by many countries moving from labour intensive to capital intensive manufacturing processes. Australia s resource sector is a significant contributor to the economy. By prioritising the sustainable extraction of our resources and by adding value where we have competitive advantage, we will optimise long-term economic, social and environmental benefit to the community. In addition, Australian competitiveness needs innovative industries that are focused, agile, high value-add, transformative and fully integrated into global supply chains. Research will be critical in developing a new and advanced manufacturing sector for Australia. The theme will address a number of issues, including: o What can we produce in South Australia and Australia and how will we identify what we should produce? o Where are the opportunities for South Australia to add value to existing industries? o How will we compete, both nationally and internationally? o How will we educate our future workforce to best respond to the needs of future markets? How do we encourage and support an entrepreneurial culture in the next generation? o In the competitive global market, what selected niche product categories should Australia aim to dominate? HEALTHY FUTURES Understanding, treatment and prevention of, chronic diseases The key disease burden in Australia is chronic disease, and over the past two decades research has identified that most are preventable. The prevention and management of chronic disease is heavily dependent on intervention, as early as possible, which includes the integration of population health activities with lifestyle, communication and decision making. Across this theme, our researchers will address major challenges such as: o What are the causes of diseases and how can we best intervene to prevent these illnesses? How can we better educate future generations to reduce the burden of chronic disease? o How do we treat diseases to improve health outcomes for our citizens? How do we create more effective therapies that are appropriate to patients and align with services, facilities and social support? o How do we improve our health systems and services while ensuring their financial sustainability? o What are the rights of people receiving health care? What are the rights and responsibilities of families of people receiving health care? How do individuals receiving health care, their families and health care providers work together to improve health outcomes of Australians? o How can we improve the health outcomes of our citizens and advance health equality? SCARCE RESOURCES Making more with less In Australia we live with a deep dichotomy around resources we must survive with scarce resources, and at the same time we must capitalise upon the scarce resources found in our land. Scarce resources influence the production of goods and services that have limited availability, often in combination with potentially unlimited productive use. As demand increases, Australia will need to develop sustainable, high intensity and high production capacity in new and existing food products. Furthermore, we face constrained soil and water resources, and changes in the environment that could lead to increased difficulties in meeting expectations. 9

10 Questions of scarcity present opportunities for our researchers to directly source, understand and appropriately support what is required to respond to this challenge, including: o How can we better utilise our scarce resources and sustain their use for future generations? o What sustainable alternatives can we use to provide the same or similar outcomes? o What approaches are required to place our economy at the forefront of sustainable scarce resource management and conservation? o What opportunities are there to position our industries so that we can better respond to the supply of scarce resources? o How can we add value through, and refine our current methods for, the production of scarce resources? o What smart systems, including sensing, automation, robotics and data analytics, can be introduced to deliver effective and efficient resource extraction, processing and waste management? SOCIETY AND GLOBAL TRANSFORMATIONS Transforming societies through global citizenship Through this theme researchers will examine the complex inter-relationships between social, environmental, cultural and political changes, which aim to revolutionise sustainable, citizen-led social innovation. This theme is underpinned by transdisciplinary research in areas such as new information technologies, telecommunications, cybersecurity, manufacturing, supply chain management, finance systems in a global economy, environmental change, political community, languages and cultures, social capital, globalisation and sustainability to answer emerging issues, including: o How is society being transformed by information technologies and telecommunications? o How do we secure information and communication systems in our utilities, businesses and government agencies to protect against attack or damage? o How do we respond to the impacts of environmental change on populations, urban and rural communities, industry and the use of energy, water and other natural assets? o What is the impact of more diverse living circumstances on citizens? o How is society being changed through increasing transnational flows of people, commodities, values and images? o What is the role of citizens as agents of change in this complex process? o How are governments seeking to regulate transnational flows of people, commodities, values and images to protect their sovereignty? o How does the trend towards individualisation impact on the emergence of human rights and citizen s voices? Underpinning the six Research Themes is Understanding and Decision Making. Whilst we still know relatively little about the fundamentals of decision making, what research does tell us is that the integration of areas such as psychology, marketing, and education, heavily influences human choice behaviour and decision making. Not only does this impact individual lives, and organisations, but the choices we make have broader ramifications academically, commercially, politically, and at a societal level. 10

11 Appendix 2: RTIS Scholarship Guidelines ELIGIBILITY This scholarship is available to both domestic and international students looking to undertake a research degree aligned with UniSA s Research Themes. Applicants must be of high academic quality with demonstrated research potential. Generally applicants will have first class honours or equivalent to gain a scholarship at the University of South Australia. The applicant s principal supervisor must meet the University s supervisor eligibility requirements. The PHD supervisory panel must include at least one end-user. International applicants from non-english speaking backgrounds are expected to meet UniSA s English language proficiency standards. Scholarship applicants are required to demonstrate that they have met the required level of proficiency by the closing date for scholarship applications. Scholarships are awarded on the basis that the candidate will be studying full-time. Awards will not be made to persons who: have completed a PhD degree or equivalent; and seek to undertake paid employment on a full-time or substantial part-time basis. All scholarship applications will be assessed and administered in accordance with the University s current HDR Scholarship policies and procedures (see also Research Degrees Scholarship Allocation Guidelines: Competitive Commonwealth and University of South Australia funded scholarships). BENEFITS AND CONDITIONS These scholarships have the same benefits and conditions as the UniSA Postgraduate Research Award (domestic students) and University President s Scholarship (international students). In addition, successful candidates must: commence no later than research period have an established supervisory panel in place, including representation from the major disciplines and an industry partner; maintain satisfactory progress with reviews of progress monitored by the RDC sub-committee spend a proportion of their candidature within the industry environment undertake an oral examination as part of the examination process; and Upon the completion of the project, (with the Principal Supervisor) meet with the Major Research Initiative Working Group and outline the outcomes (projected and current) from the project. Prior to this meeting a final report must be submitted to the Working Group for review. 11

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