Grant Program Guidelines

​​Table of Contents

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Grant Program Process Flowchart

Program Developed

Applicant reads guidelines and information pack, then completes an application.

Submit an Application
Applicant submits an application as outlined in the guidelines.

The application is received. The application is assessed by an assessment panel against eligibility and appraisal criteria, to determine eligibility and merit of the application.

The approver makes a decision on the application and the applicant is advised of the decision.

Funding Deed
A deed is negotiated with successful applicant and signed by the applicant and the department.

Applicant undertakes funding activity, completes milestones, provides reports and acquits funds against expenditure as determined in the funding deed.
Department makes payments and monitors progress.

Advice to Approver
Advice provided to the approver on the merits of each application against the program guidelines.

The department evaluates the outcomes of the program. 
Applicant provides information to assist this evaluation.

Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis​

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In 2004 the Australian Government announced that it would establish a Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis (centre) to build on and strengthen the integrity of Australia’s biosecurity import risk assessment process. The aim of the centre was to extend Australian expertise in risk analysis techniques and the science underpinning them by creating and testing methods, protocols, analytical tools and procedures to benefit both government and the broader Australian community.

Following a public call for Expressions of Interest to establish and host a centre, the University of Melbourne was selected to host the centre and the Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis (ACERA) was established in 2006 under a funding deed with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (the department). The current funding deed with the University of Melbourne expires in June 2013.

The department is establishing a new round of funding from July 2013 for the continuation of a centre. A funding grant of up to $1,972,300 per annum (inclusive of GST) will be provided each year for a period of four years to the successful organisation to operate a centre following a competitive application process.

The centre has gained international recognition and other countries have indicated an interest in participating. Accordingly this new round will accommodate participation beyond Australia and will contribute to closer relations with countries that share similar goals for their biosecurity systems. Details of arrangements with any other country that participates will be negotiated separately between that government and the successful applicant.

Purpose of program

The purpose of the program is to continue to support governments’ advancement of biosecurity risk analysis and management through the provision of expertise in risk analysis techniques and the development of associated methods, protocols, tools and procedures.

The objectives of a centre are to deliver practical, rigorous solutions and advice related to the assessment, management, perception and communication of biosecurity risk.  To achieve this, the centre will:

  1. research and develop new and existing methods relevant to biosecurity risk;
  2. engage the range of disciplinary skills relevant to the analysis of biosecurity risk, to ensure governments remain at the forefront of practical risk assessment;
  3. collaborate and engage with end users to improve adoption of methods and increase the impact of research findings;
  4. document and communicate research findings to governments and others engaged in biosecurity decision making;
  5. work to promote excellence in risk analysis.

The centre will build on the founding work of the University of Melbourne and be guided in its operations by the department and any other contributing governments as appropriate. The centre will also be expected to seek other funding and work, consistent with the centre objectives and strategic direction.

How the program will operate

A single competitive call for applications will be used to select one organisation to host a centre for four years.

The centre will be required to be operational from 1 July 2013, ready to commence a work program to achieve the objectives of the centre as negotiated with the department.

Government grant funding of up to $1,972,300 per annum (inclusive of GST but not including any funding to be contributed by other governments) will be available to the centre, commencing in 2013-14. Funding would be paid in increments to be negotiated with the department and payment would be contingent upon meeting agreed milestones. The centre would be expected to provide in-kind contributions from its own resources for the administrative function and support of the centre and it would also be expected to seek other funding and other work consistent with the centre’s objectives.

The applicant must be a legal entity. It would be expected to enter into a funding deed with the Commonwealth and be legally accountable for the expenditure of the grant and performance of the obligations under the funding deed. Subject to exceptional performance by the centre and to the availability of funding, the department may consider making a recommendation for an extension of the funding deed for an additional period of up to five years beyond June 2017.

It is envisaged that the centre would employ a minimum number of ongoing staff, engaging with other providers as necessary to employ the range of skills and sciences relevant to the analysis of biosecurity risk.

The centre will be expected to maintain an international standing as a centre of excellence, producing innovative and high quality research, building capacity and interdisciplinary approaches and promulgating excellence in biosecurity risk analysis through communication and dissemination of research findings. The centre will also be expected to effectively engage and collaborate with end users to maximise the investment.

The department will collaborate with the centre on the content of annual work plans and on the development and delivery of individual projects using a Steering Committee and assigning government collaborators to each project. It is expected that appropriate governance structures will be established by the centre to complement these arrangements and to oversee the management of projects and the centre overall.

In the case of co-contributions, the Australian government and any other participating governments will maintain separate governance arrangements with the centre; with provisions to make clear the relationship with participants. An annual planning meeting between participants would provide coordination and collaboration for the centre’s work plan of projects. Joint projects will be encouraged and it is expected the centre will provide the key lead in ensuring consistent reporting and coordination of projects.  Assurance of projects will be performed by both governments through their respective steering committees.

Key dates

The following table outlines the anticipated timeline for the program.

Milestone Anticipated Dates
Applications Open 18 April 2012
Applicant briefing 30 April 2012
Applications Close 15 June 2012
Decision 24 August 2012
A centre becomes operational 1 July 2013
Program Ends(if not extended) 30 June 2017

Who is eligible

Applicants must meet each of the following criteria to be eligible for funding:

  • the applicant must be an Australian higher education provider, research provider, corporation, cooperative, or consortium; and hold an ABN and/or ACN;
  • the applicant must be a legal entity, or must consist of organisations that are legal entities;
  • agrees to provide an Intellectual Property licence (as set out in the draft funding deed template provided with these guidelines - see clause 9 below for further information).

Each of these is essential and an applicant who cannot meet one or more is ineligible.

What qualifies for funding?

Funding will be made available for the establishment of the centre and for the achievement of the objectives of the centre as stated above and in the funding deed, including:

  1. up to 15% of funding per annum may be used to meet the cost of administration, staffing and servicing the work of the centre. This amount is in addition to the required in-kind contribution provided by the centre referred to in clause 3 above; and
  2. the balance of the funding to be used for research/project work to fulfil the requirements of annual work plans that would be developed by the centre in conjunction with the department.

How to apply?

  • Please complete the application form which is available on the website. Applicants must include in their applications a response under each of the headings of the four assessment criteria as detailed in clause 14 below.
  • Applicants must lodge a hard or electronic copy of their application and supporting documentation by COB, 15 June 2012 (Closing Date). Postal and email details are provided on Page 1. Please note that documents over 7MB cannot be emailed and hard copies will be necessary in this case.
  • It is the applicant’s sole responsibility to lodge applications no later than the Closing Date. Acceptance of late applications will only be considered on a case by case basis for exceptional circumstances. Please contact the department prior to the Closing Date if you think your application will be lodged late. Contact details are provided on Page 1.
  • Applications must be complete and signed by the applicant. Further information for corrections after the Closing Date is provided in clause 8 below.
  • Applicants are encouraged to attend a briefing in Canberra at 1pm on Monday, 30 April 2012 at Ground Floor, 7 London Circuit, Canberra City where they will be offered the opportunity to question the department about this program. Video conferencing facilities will be available. Applicants wishing to attend should confirm by contacting the department. Contact details are provided on Page 1.


If an applicant discovers any material discrepancy, ambiguity, inconsistency or errors in their application, they must immediately bring it to the attention of the department. Contact details are provided on Page 1. The department may request further information from an applicant and/or allow an applicant to remedy any perceived discrepancy, ambiguity, inconsistency or errors in an application.

The department may also consider information submitted by an applicant after the Closing Date for the purpose of resolving any material discrepancy, ambiguity, inconsistency or errors in an application provided that no new information is added, which has not been referred to in the original application. The department’s decision will be final and will be made at its absolute discretion.

What are the conditions?

The successful applicant will be required to enter into a funding deed with the Commonwealth. Details of arrangements with other governments will be negotiated separately between them and the successful applicant.

The department’s draft funding deed template contains the terms and conditions of the grant. Applicants should read the draft funding deed template before submitting their application and should seek independent legal advice before entering into a funding deed. No legally binding relationship exists until a funding deed is signed by all parties.

If a successful applicant fails to comply with any requirements in the funding deed, the applicant may be required to repay some or all of the grant money received.

It is an essential requirement of the eligibility criteria and it will be included in the funding deed with the successful applicant that the grantee will grant the Commonwealth a perpetual worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive licence (including the right to sub-license) to use and adapt the relevant Intellectual Property of the centre (that is, research findings, methods and other outputs of the centre relevant to biosecurity risk developed by the centre or for the purposes of the centre with Commonwealth and grantee funding) for such purposes as the Commonwealth determines.

Publication of grant information

Applicants should be aware that if they are successful, Commonwealth policy requires the department to publish information on its website about the applicant, including but not limited to:

  • Name of the person or entity receiving the grant
  • Title and purpose
  • Amount of funding received
  • Term of the grant
  • Funding location

By submitting an application for funding under this grant program, the applicant consents to publication of the above information by the department if they are awarded funding under this grant program.

Privacy Statement

Information provided to the department is for the purposes of administration of the program and assessment of an application. In providing the information (personal or otherwise) applicants consent to the department using the information for the above mentioned purposes and any other incidental or related purpose. The department may disclose your personal information to any party that may be engaged for the purposes of assessment or program evaluation. The department will store the personal information collected by it in compliance with its obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). You may access or correct your personal information by contacting the department. Contact details are provided on Page 1.

Who is selecting the suitable applicants?

Applications will be assessed on a merit basis by an assessment panel (Panel). The Panel members will have expertise in biosecurity and/or research, economics, industry and/or government roles. Panel members consist of both departmental staff and a member of the National Biosecurity Council. The Panel will make recommendations to the department’s delegate, who will make a decision on approving the grant.

How are applications assessed?

Applications will be checked for eligibility, and eligible applications will then be scored against the assessment criteria and ranked against all other eligible applications received. Each assessment criterion will have an equal weighting.

Applications that best align with the assessment criteria at clause 14 will have the greatest likelihood of being funded. Specifically, this will be the extent to which the applicant can demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Panel, the capability to establish and host a centre to the standard necessary to meet each of the centre objectives as set out in clause 2 – Purpose of the Program.

The Panel may investigate the accuracy of the information provided by applicants. The Panel may also draw upon material and information other than an applicant’s written submission in the assessment process. For example, identified risks, such as the applicant's financial viability, associated with each proposal may be considered. The Panel may also request applicants to clarify aspects of their application or to provide supplementary information. An applicant may be requested to attend an interview as part of the application assessment process.

The department reserves the right to negotiate with applicants on any aspect of the centre prior to the execution of the funding deed, including supporting fewer projects/activities, offering less funding than the amount for which they applied, or seeking further outcomes.

Conflict of Interest

  1. Existence of conflict of interests

    Applicants are required to advise whether any actual or potential conflicts of interest exist in relation to establishing and hosting the centre.

  2. Notification of conflict of interests

    If a conflict of interests arises, or appears likely to arise, the applicant must:
    1. make full disclosure of all relevant information relating to the conflict in their application; or
    2. bring it to the attention of the assessment panel in writing if the conflict arises after the application has been received ; and
    3. outline the steps the applicant intends to take to resolve or otherwise deal with the conflict.

  3. Management of conflict of interests

    A register of notified conflicts of interest will be maintained by the Department throughout the application process. Where a conflict has been notified by an applicant and they are successful, the conflict of interest will be managed through the negotiation of the Funding Deed.

Assessment criteria

Applications will be assessed against 4 criteria as set out below. Applications will be assessed on each of the 4 assessment criteria as follows:

  • Criterion 1: Ability to meet centre objectives – 25%
  • Criterion 2: Capacity and Collaboration– 25%
  • Criterion 3: Centre Structure and Governance – 25%
  • Criterion 4: Financial Management and Viability – 25%

Criterion 1: Ability to meet centre objectives

Applicants will need to describe how they will ensure that the centre meets the objectives as outlined in clause 2 of the Guidelines – Purpose of the Program.

Criterion 2: Capacity and Collaboration

  1. Capacities and Competencies

    Applicants will need to demonstrate their track record with capacities and competencies relevant to the scientific analysis of risk. This will include evidence of past performance in advancing risk analysis methodology for implementation in a relevant sector that will build upon the concept of a ‘centre of excellence for biosecurity’. Applicants should also demonstrate abilities to undertake both tactical and strategic research; and apply other complementary assets and skills as relevant.

  2. Collaboration

    Applicants will need to outline how they will augment their own capacities and competencies by identifying potential arrangements with others. This response should be supplemented by evidence of relevant networks that will contribute to biosecurity and the range of relevant scientific skills able to be harnessed through such channels.

    It is the department’s priority to strengthen the role of science in biosecurity decision-making. Applicants should outline their approach to understanding biosecurity issues, as well as the ability to collaborate with researchers both within the department and more broadly.

Criterion 3: Centre Structure and Governance

Applicants should outline the governance structure and management arrangements they propose for the centre and the benefits of such structure and arrangements.

Information should include reference to:

  1. Governance

    Applicants should demonstrate their experience with research projects and program management and organisational governance management experience.

  2. Confidential Material

    Applicants will need to outline proposals for managing confidential material arising from the work of the centre.

  3. Risk

    Applicants will need to outline their proposal for managing business risk arising from centre activities. This may include (but are not exclusive to) risks that come from uncertainty in resourcing, project failures, legal liabilities etc.

  4. Centre’s Director

    The Director of the centre will play a vital role in attracting both funding and quality research staff.  Applicants will need to nominate the proposed Director and briefly document that person’s suitability for this position, or a process for their selection.  

  5. Conflict of Interest

    Applicants will need to advise whether any actual or potential conflicts of interest exist in relation to establishing and hosting the centre, and how they will deal with any such conflicts, if successful.

Criterion 4: Financial Management and Viability

Applicants will need to indicate how they will support the work of the centre, including any financial and in-kind contribution applicants will make to the operation of the centre from their own resources.  This response should also outline:

  1. how applicants will endeavour to obtain other contributions from third parties to assist in enhancing the centre’s capacity and meet the centre’s objectives
  2. how applicants will manage the centre to provide an efficient and effective return of investment; noting relevant beneficiaries
  3. demonstrated proof of financial viability. This must include auditor reports and statement of financial position for past 3 years (at least).


The successful applicant will receive a letter of offer outlining the agreed centre projects/activities, any specific conditions attached to the funding and the amount of funding to be allocated. The letter of offer does not constitute a funding deed and the successful applicant must not commence a project, or promote themselves as the centre, until a funding deed has been negotiated and executed between the department and the successful applicant.

Where an application is unsuccessful applicants will be notified in writing by the department. There is no appeal mechanism for unsuccessful applicants, nor will unsuccessful applications be reviewed. However, those dissatisfied with the process may follow clause 16 below. Feedback on unsuccessful applications will be available on request. Feedback can be obtained by contacting the department. Contact details are provided on Page 1.

Complaints handling process

If an applicant is dissatisfied with the way in which their application has been handled by the department, the applicants can lodge a complaint by contacting the department. Contact details provided on Page 1.

The complaint may then be reviewed by areas in the department that were not involved in the grant application process. If no resolution is achieved, an applicant can apply to the Commonwealth Ombudsman. The Commonwealth Ombudsman can be contacted on:

Phone, Toll free: 1300 362 072, Website: Commonwealth Ombudsman


GST is payable on grants and the funding deed will include GST where applicable.

False and Misleading Information

Under Section 137.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995, it is an offence to knowingly provide false or misleading information to a Commonwealth entity.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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