Industry Research Fellowships guidelines

Industry Research Fellowships guidelines

About the program

Advance Queensland focuses on growing the economy and creating jobs. This includes investing in science and innovation in order to:

  • build Queensland’s reputation and capacity to conduct innovative research and development,
  • deliver new products and services for Queenslanders, and
  • establish new industries that will provide jobs for the future.

The Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships program supports researchers undertaking original work that will have a positive impact on Queensland. A key purpose of the program is to attract and keep talented researchers in Queensland, and to develop the professional careers of early and mid-career researchers.

The following fellowships grants are available:

  • early-career fellowships—$180,000 over three years (excluding GST)
  • mid-career fellowships—$300,000 over three years (excluding GST).

The fellowship funding is paid to the applicant organisation (the Fellow’s employer).

The program is managed by the Department of Innovation, Tourism Industry Development and the Commonwealth Games (the department).


The Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships program:

  • provides opportunities for researchers to pursue and continue their research careers
  • assists in retaining the state’s best and brightest research minds in Queensland
  • attracts talented researchers from interstate and overseas
  • supports increased linkage and closer collaboration with industry organisations to foster the translation of research into practice
  • delivers tangible benefits and practical outcomes for Queensland by supporting applied research and development.

Investment Areas

The Queensland Government invites individual and strategically clustered applications in the following investment areas that demonstrate collaborative applied research arrangements, and/or platform technologies:

  • biofutures research, for example, R&D projects that address gaps in key policies and practices facing the biofutures industry in Queensland; advance feedstock development; develop bioindustrial technology; and/or develop the manufacturing of bioproducts such as biofuels, biochemicals and bioplastics from sustainable feedstocks or waste resources. Refer to the Queensland Government Biofutures Roadmap (PDF, 2.57MB)
  • trusted autonomous systems including robotics and artificial intelligence applications for multiple sectors such as Defence
  • agricultural technology to facilitate transformational change
  • translational biomedical research that supports treatments, technologies and devices that prevent, manage or treat diseases that are a priority for Queensland
  • applied research into the use of technology to improve and/or enhance tourist products or experiences in Queensland
  • energy supply, distribution and management innovation
  • protecting the Great Barrier Reef
  • solutions to managing the impacts of drought, floods and cyclones
  • advanced technologies to support resource industries of the future
  • a topic of strategic importance to the applicant organisation that addresses the need of a Queensland-based industry organisation.

Strategic Research Clusters

Applicant organisations are invited to submit applications for a strategic cluster of fellowships, with no more than four fellowships per cluster.

Strategic research clusters should focus on areas where:

  • Queensland has strong domain knowledge at a national and international level
  • the applicant organisation(s) has current research strength in this area of domain knowledge
  • a strategic research focus has been identified for the cluster that can leverage this domain knowledge and research strength for the benefit of Queensland
  • the strategic research focus is applied in nature and/or builds on platform technologies
  • funding of the strategic cluster will help build critical mass in research in Queensland, attracting national and international investment to accelerate commercialisation
  • there is one or more industry/end-user partner supporting the cluster.

The individual fellowships within a strategic cluster must undertake projects that are connected and complementary and address the strategic research focus of the cluster.

Each strategic cluster application must include a letter of support from the applicant agency that: 1) clearly outlines the strategic focus of the pool of projects, and 2) describes how the individual projects are complementary and necessary for the overall project.

Strategic cluster applications will be assessed in the same way as individual applications.

Eligibility criteria

  • The applicant organisation must be a Queensland-based agency that conducts research and includes, but is not limited to:
    • universities
    • research agencies
    • government organisations
    • not-for-profit/charitable organisations
    • businesses.
  • The applicant organisation must be registered for GST and have an Australian Business Number.
  • The nominated Fellow must be employed by the applicant organisation in a minimum 50% FTE capacity.
  • The Fellow must spend a minimum 50% FTE on the fellowship.
  • The Fellow must be an Australian citizen, or secure Australian residency for the duration of the fellowship. In cases where the Fellow does not have residency at the time of application, if successful, they will have up to six months from the date of notification to obtain residency covering the duration of the fellowship.
  • The Fellow must have a PhD research qualification with:
    • up to 5 years post-PhD research experience for early-career fellowships
    • 5 to 10 years post-PhD research experience for mid-career fellowships.
      Note: (1) Allowances will be made for time taken away from research, for example, for parenting, caring, illness, or time in non-research roles, and (2) applicants in the process of completing a PhD must have their thesis submitted by the closing date for applications.
  • The fellowship proposal must address at least one of the investment areas.
  • The fellowship must be undertaken in Queensland, and the Fellow must reside in Queensland for the term of the fellowship.

Partner organisations

The fellowship project must involve at least one Queensland-based industry/end-user organisation, that is, a private, public or not-for-profit organisation that will progress the translation and practical application of the research.

Fellows must spend some of their fellowship physically co-located with one or more Queensland-based industry/end-user organisation(s). Refer to Assessment Criterion 2.

Note: For non-industry/end-user organisation applicants, the industry/end-user partner must be a separate entity from the applicant organisation - not a parent or subsidiary, or a spin-out established for less than 12 months.

Industry/end-user organisation applicants

In cases where the applicant is an industry/end-user organisation, the Fellow must spend some of their fellowship time physically co-located within that organisation.

Company/business based Fellows must demonstrate that they will meaningfully collaborate with a Queensland-based university or research organisation throughout the fellowship.

Cash co-funding requirements

The fellowship project must have combined cash funding from the applicant organisation and partner organisation(s) that equals or exceeds the Queensland Government funding sought.

Queensland Government non-grant funding may be used as matched cash, but cannot exceed $90,000 (excluding GST) for early career fellowships, or $150,000 (excluding GST) for mid-career fellowships.

Queensland Government grant funding cannot be used as co-funded (matched) cash.

Cash is a combination of:

  • funding directly contributed to the fellowship by the applicant organisation and/or the partner organisation(s)
  • “salaries as cash”. This includes the standard remuneration and on-costs of the Fellow and other dedicated fellowship research/technical staff. The non-fellowship time of these staff can not be claimed.

Other conditions

  • The fellowship project must commence after the notification of the award, and no later than 30 June 2019. 
  • Fellows are expected to complete the fellowship research over three continuous years.
  • For individual awards, the fellowship is not transferable in cases where the approved Fellow cannot complete the fellowship.
  • For clustered fellowships, the department will assess requests to replace fellows who withdraw from the project on a case-by-case basis.
  • The applicant organisation must provide a financial acquittal statement to the department annually containing details of:
    • Queensland Government funding received and expended
    • their cash contributions to the fellowship
    • the cash contributions of the partner organisation(s) towards the fellowship.
  • Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellows must not concurrently hold another fellowship.
  • Applicant organisations must not submit more than one application in a given round of funding for the nominated Fellow.
  • A nominated researcher in a clustered application cannot also be nominated for an individual fellowship.
  • A given agency can submit one clustered application (maximum) if all of the Fellows are from their agency.
  • Agencies can partner with other Queensland-based research agencies to submit multiple clustered applications (no limit). In these applications the nominated Fellows would come from two or more agencies.
  • The Fellow must have not previously received a Queensland Government fellowship of the same or higher level.
  • Fellows should actively promote their research; provide broad fellowship information if required; and attend media/promotion events if requested.
  • The Fellow and applicant organisation must acknowledge the Queensland Government’s funding in all relevant published material, media releases and public statements.
  • The department must be advised of any changes that are likely to impact on the fellowship, including changes that may impact on eligibility, research milestones, project funding or reporting.

Using the fellowship funds

The Queensland Government fellowship payments will be released to the applicant organisation to administer the grant funding. The funding may be used for the following eligible project costs.

Salary costs

Salary costs, including standard on-costs (leave loading, superannuation contributions, worker’s compensation contributions, and payroll tax) for key research staff, including:

  • the Fellow. The Fellow’s claimed salary must be commensurate with the FTE percentage committed to the fellowship. A Fellow is not entitled to a full-time salary unless they spend 100% FTE on the fellowship
  • the FTE fellowship time of other dedicated fellowship research/technical staff, including post-doctoral research staff.

Other costs

Project costs directly related to the fellowship, including:

  • consumables required specifically for the fellowship project
  • small equipment (up to $10,000 per item) required specifically for the fellowship project
  • travel to conduct research for the Fellow and dedicated fellowship research/technical staff
  • conference travel for the Fellow.

Only eligible expenditure incurred on or after the commencement of the fellowship can be claimed.

Ineligible expenditure and cash contributions

Items not eligible for funding, or to be regarded as matched cash funding, include:

  • institutional on-costs above standard salary on-costs
  • institutional overheads and operational costs, including general facility and accommodation related costs
  • costs associated with non-fellowship projects/programs of the applicant or partner organisations
  • the salary costs of non-fellowship activities for the Fellow or other dedicated fellowship staff
  • costs associated with administrative support staff
  • contract research for services that can be performed by the applicant organisation.

Assessment criteria

The assessment criteria below will have equal weighting in the assessment process.

1. Project relevance and merit

The application must:

  • describe the reasons why the proposed research is strategically important and its relevance to Queensland
  • outline how the proposed research is aligned to an investment area
  • provide details of the research to be undertaken. The proposed project must have scientific merit, and be well planned and achievable. Please refer to key research that has been/is being undertaken by others in the proposed research space. If applicable, outline the outcomes of patent searches. 

2. Meaningful collaboration

The application should demonstrate:

  • meaningful engagement and participation, including physical co-location, with at least one Queensland-based industry/end-user organisation #
  • the involvement of other people and/or organisations with complementary areas of expertise.
    Note: The letters of support from the applicant and partner organisations will be considered as part of this assessment criterion.

# Meaningful engagement with industry/end-user partner organisations means:

  • spending 50% of the fellowship time physically co-located with one or more Queensland-based industry/end-user partner organisations

or, a combination of arrangements such as:

  • spending some of the fellowship physically co-located with one or more Queensland-based industry/end-user partner organisations (compulsory)
  • cash-contributions from the industry/end-user partner organisation(s)
  • access to specialist equipment and supplies owned by the industry/end-user partner organisation(s)
  • access to professional or technical expertise in industry/end-user partner organisation(s)
  • access to a mentor in an industry/end-user organisation.

3. Clear outcomes and relevance for Queensland

The application must demonstrate:

  • clear, quantified, outcomes/benefits for Queensland within the next five years, with a well-defined path to translate the research findings into the outcomes/benefits. Please refer to economic, social, environmental and/or regional benefits
  • how the research addresses an industry/end-user need, and the expected benefits for each industry/end-user organisation
  • how the success of the research will capture value for Queensland, including through adoption and/or commercialisation.

4. Track record

The application should demonstrate that the Fellow has the professional, research, project management and industry engagement skills to undertake and complete the proposed fellowship.

Assessment process

Applications will be assessed in a competitive, merit based process against the program’s assessment criteria by panels comprised of members with scientific, research, and/or industry background.

Applicants may be contacted during the assessment process to clarify information provided in the application and/or to request additional information to enable the appropriate consideration of the application.

The assessment process will take into account the need to balance the Queensland Government’s research investment to support a diversity of capability across scientific disciplines, geographic regions and research groups.

Fellowship Agreement

For successful applications, the applicant organisation will enter into a legally binding Financial Incentive Agreement (FIA) with the Queensland Government. The applicant organisation automatically signs the FIA by submitting a signed declaration page with the application form, but the FIA is not finalised until the authorised departmental representative signs a separate FIA execution page. This occurs after the applications have been assessed and the successful applicants approved. 

The FIA consists of the Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships terms and conditions; the Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships guidelines; and the application, including supporting information.

The applicant organisation and the nominated fellow must not enter into any legally binding arrangements with other parties which prevent them from meeting obligations under the Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships FIA.


The Queensland Government collects and collates information from the application form to evaluate applications for the program. Only authorised departmental officers and approved grant assessors have access to this information under the Financial Accountability Act 2009 for the purpose of assessing the application for funding.

Applicants should note that broad details of successful proposals, agreed outcomes, progress and the level of funding awarded may be published by the Queensland Government.

Some information may be used to promote funded projects.

The Fellow’s personal information will not be disclosed to any other third party without their consent, unless required by law or for the purposes of the Information Privacy Act 2009.

For audit purposes, the Queensland Government is required to retain the applications and other supplied support material.

The provisions of the Right to Information Act 2009 apply to documents in the possession of the Queensland Government.

How to apply

Applications for the Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships close 1:00 pm AEST, Tuesday 31 July 2018. The application consists of:

  • a completed on-line application form
  • a scanned (PDF) copy of the proposed Fellow’s PhD
  • scanned (PDF) letters of support from the applicant organisation and partner organisation(s)
  • a signed Financial Incentive Agreement Terms and Conditions declaration page. The template is available on the Advance Queensland website and must be printed, signed by a delegated representative from the applicant organisation, scanned in PDF, and uploaded with the application form. All scanned documents can be submitted as part of the on-line application process.

Letters of support

Letters of support from the applicant and partner organisations should clearly outline:

  • their commitment to, and reasons for supporting, the fellowship project
  • the likely benefits to be gained by participating in the fellowship
  • the annual cash contributions they will make to the fellowship.

Note: The letters of support from the industry/end user partner organisations should outline the amount of time the Fellow will be physically co-located with them over the course of the fellowship.

The letters of support from the applicant organisation for clustered applications must describe how the individual projects are complementary and necessary for the overall project.

Last updated 20 Feb, 2019
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