The life course of Australian researchers : experiences of applying for research funding

Herbert, Danielle L., Clarke, Philip, Graves, Nicholas, & Barnett, Adrian G. (2013) The life course of Australian researchers : experiences of applying for research funding. Australasian Epidemiologist, 20(2), p. 65.


The life course of Australian researchers includes regular funding applications, which incur large personal and time costs. We previously estimated that Australian researchers spent 550 years preparing 3,727 proposals for the 2012 NHMRC Project Grant funding round, at an estimated annual salary cost of AU$66 million. Despite the worldwide importance of funding rounds, there is little evidence on what researchers think of the application process. We conducted a web-based survey of Australian researchers (May–July 2013) asking about their experience with NHMRC Project Grants. Almost all researchers (n=224 at 31 May) supported changes to the application (96%) and peer-review (88%) processes; 73% supported the introduction of shorter initial Expressions of Interest; and half (50%) provided extensive comments on the NHMRC processes. Researchers agreed preparing their proposals always took top priority over other work (97%) and personal (87%) commitments. More than half (57%) provided extensive comments on the ongoing personal impact of concurrent grant-writing and holiday seasons on family, children and other relationships. Researchers with experience on Grant Review Panels (34%) or as External Reviewers (78%) reported many sections of the proposals were rarely or never read, which suggests these sections could be cut with no impact on the quality of peer review. Our findings provide evidence on the experience of Australian researchers as applicants. The process of preparing, submitting and reviewing proposals could be streamlined to minimise the burden on applicants and peer reviewers, giving Australian researchers more time to work on actual research and be with their families.

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ID Code: 63659
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Funding
ISSN: 1327-8835
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Deposited On: 24 Oct 2013 03:46
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 12:22

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