SSH Rate

Discovery Projects for Australian Research Cooperation

The Discovery Projects scheme provides funding for research projects that can be undertaken by individual researchers or research teams.

The objectives of the Discovery Projects scheme are to:

  • support excellent basic and applied research by individuals and teams
  • encourage research and research training in high-quality research environments
  • enhance international collaboration in research
  • expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability
  • enhance the scale and focus of research in the Science and Research Priorities. 

Eligible Organisations

A Proposal may only be submitted through the Research Office of an Eligible Organisation (Universities and Institutes of Higher Education in Australia). The Eligible Organisation that submits the Proposal will be the Administering Organisation.

Roles and Eligibility for Researchers

Roles that may be undertaken by researchers are:

a. Chief Investigator (CI); or

b. Partner Investigator (PI).

Eligibility Criteria for Chief Investigators (CIs)

As at 1 January 2018 a researcher nominated on a Proposal as a CI must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • be an employee for at least 0.2 FTE (20 per cent of Full Time Equivalent) at an Eligible Organisation; or be a holder of an Emeritus Appointment at an Eligible Organisation.
  • A CI must normally reside predominantly in Australia for the life of the Project. A CI may seek approval from the Administering Organisation to undertake Field Research, or study leave, directly related to the Project. Such absences must not total more than half the Project funding period.
  • Researchers undertaking a higher degree by research are not eligible to be CIs. Researchers must have their higher degree by research conferred by the Funding Commencement Date of the Project in order to be eligible.

  • A CI must normally reside predominantly in Australia for the life of the Project. Any significant absences including fieldwork or study leave directly related to the Project must have approval from the Administering Organisation and must not total more than half the Project funding period.

Eligibility Criteria for Partner Investigators (PIs)

As at 1 January 2018 a researcher nominated as a PI on a Proposal must:

  • not meet the eligibility criteria for CI
  • have the capacity to make a serious commitment to carrying out the Project and cannot assume the role of a supplier of resources for work that will largely be undertaken by others.

Non-Australian nationals based outside Australia are eligible to be Partner Investigator (PI). There is no restriction for a PI in terms of residency.

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be assessed and ranked using the following selection criteria:

Investigator(s) (40%)

  • Research opportunity and performance evidence (ROPE); and
  • Time and capacity to undertake the proposed research.

Project Quality and Innovation (35%)

  • Does the research address a significant problem?
  • Is the conceptual/theoretical framework innovative and original?
  • What is the potential for the research to contribute to the Science and Research Priorities?
  • Will the aims, concepts, methods and results advance knowledge?
  • What is the potential for the research to enhance international collaboration?
  • Are there adequate strategies to encourage dissemination, commercialisation, if appropriate; and promotion of research outcomes?

Feasibility (10%)

  • Do the Project’s design, participants and requested budget create confidence in the timely and successful completion of the Project?
  • Is there an existing, or developing, supportive and high quality environment for this Project and for Higher Degree by Research students where appropriate?
  • Are the necessary facilities available to complete the Project?

Benefit (15%)

  • Will the completed Project produce significant new knowledge and/or innovative economic, commercial, environmental, social and/or cultural benefit to the Australian and international community?
  • Will the proposed research be cost-effective and value for money?


The minimum level of funding provided by the ARC under Discovery Projects is $30,000 per year of funding and the maximum is  $500,000 per year of funding per Project.

A Project may be applied for and awarded ARC funding for up to five consecutive years. A Proposal must request ARC funding in all years of the Project.

Application date
1 Mar 2017
Up to 5 years
Oceania Australia
Humanities Anthropology, Ethnology and Folklore Archaeology Architecture Art & Art History Classical Studies Digital Humanities History History & Philosophy of Science Linguistics Literature Media Studies Medical Ethics Music & Musicology Philosophy Religion & Theology Social sciences Business and Administrative Sciences Communication Sciences Demography Economics Environmental Sciences Gender Studies Geography International Relations Law Pedagogic & Education Research Political science Psychology & Cognitive Sciences Social Anthropology Sociology Other Agronomy Biology Chemistry Computer science Engineering Mathematics Medicine Physics
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 99 years
Award granted
Up to AU$ 500.000/year