Industry Research Fellowships guidelines

Industry Research Fellowships Guidelines - 2020

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
  • establish new industries that will provide jobs for the future.

The Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships program supports researchers partnering with industry to complete original research that will have a positive impact on Queensland. The program is focussed on establishing and/or maintaining meaningful collaboration between researchers and industry.

The following fellowships grants are available:

  • early-career fellowships – up to $180,000 over three years (excluding GST)
  • mid-career fellowships – up to $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 and Tourism Industry Development (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 Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships applications that are aligned to one of the following investment areas.

  • protecting the Great Barrier Reef
  • responding to climate change
  • energy and water sustainability
  • improving healthcare outcomes by using new technology and practices for:
  • diagnosing and managing mental health issues
  • preventing and managing diabetes
  • preventing, detecting and treating melanoma
  • managing Queensland’s waste and pollution
  • developing environmentally responsible mining practices
  • using innovation to improve agriculture and food
  • sustainable fuels
  • managing natural disasters, including droughts, floods, cyclones and bushfires
  • using innovative technology to advance industry, including:
  • automated systems
  • robotics and artificial intelligence
  • nanotechnology.

Eligibility Criteria

The applicant organisation

  • The applicant organisation must be a Queensland-based university, government agency or not-for-profit organisation that conducts research.
  • The applicant organisation must be registered for GST and have an Australian Business Number.
  • Companies and businesses that conduct research are not eligible to apply for funding directly, but are encouraged to partner with an eligible applicant organisation. The partnering of researchers with industry is an essential prerequisite of the program.

The proposed Fellow

  • 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.
  • Applications nominating Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander researchers are encouraged. 
  • 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

The post PhD duration is calculated from the conferral date of the PhD to the closing date for applications.

  • Allowances will be made for time taken away from research when determining the number of post-doctoral research years. For example, time away from research for parenting, caring, illness, or time in non-research roles will be considered as gaps in research. Applicants cannot claim standard recreation leave, sick leave or long service leave as a research gap.
  • Researchers with 0-5 years post-doctoral research experience will not be considered for mid-career fellowships, and researchers with 5-10 years post-doctoral research experience will not be considered for early-career fellowships.
  • A nominated Fellow in the process of completing a PhD must have their thesis submitted by the closing date for applications. In these cases the fellowship cannot commence until the PhD has been approved.
  • The Fellow must be employed by the applicant organisation in a minimum 50 per cent FTE capacity.
  • The Fellow must spend a minimum 50 per cent FTE on the fellowship. Consequently, a candidate who is employed by the applicant organisation in a 50 per cent FTE capacity must spend all of that time on the proposed fellowship.
  • The fellowship funding is the same (full amount) for both full-time and part-time Fellows. Part-time Fellows may decide to use the funding to engage more technical and research support to enable the project to be completed in three years.
  • The Fellow must not have previously received a Queensland Government fellowship of the same or higher level. 
  • Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellows must not concurrently hold another fellowship.
  • There can be no more than one nomination of a given researcher for a fellowship in a funding round.

Cash co-funding

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

  • For the purposes of this program co-funded “cash” is defined as:
    • cash directly contributed to the fellowship by the applicant organisation and/or the partner organisation(s)
    • “salaries as cash”. This includes the standard salary remuneration and salary on-costs of the Fellow and other dedicated fellowship research/technical staff. Salaries as cash can be claimed for the FTE time that staff spend on the fellowship project for applicant and partner organisation staff. The non-fellowship time of these staff cannot be claimed as a cash contribution. 
  • Queensland Government non-grant funding may be used as co-funded cash, but cannot exceed $90,000 (excluding GST) for early-career fellowships, or $150,000 (excluding GST) for mid-career fellowships from all sources (applicant and/or all partner funding). 
  • Queensland Government grant funding cannot be used as co-funded cash.
  • In-kind contributions will not be considered as cash. 

The fellowship project

  • The fellowship proposal must address at least one of the investment areas outlined in these guidelines.

  • The fellowship must be undertaken in Queensland, and the Fellow must reside in Queensland for the term of the fellowship.
  • Fellows are expected to complete the fellowship research over three continuous years, irrespective of their FTE commitment to the fellowship (which must be 50 per cent FTE or higher).

Industry partner

  • 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. 

  • For the purposes of this program the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are regarded as research organisations and cannot be claimed as industry partners. 
  • Fellows must spend some of their fellowship physically co-located with one or more Queensland-based industry/end-user organisation(s).
  • The industry/end-user partner must be a separate entity from the applicant organisation, that is, not a parent or subsidiary, or a spin-out established for less than 12 months.
  • Nominated Fellows must not have vested interests in partnering organisations. Vested interests include being employed by the partner; having shares or equity in the partner company; or being on a board or committee in the partner organisation.

Other partners

  • In addition to the required Queensland-based industry partner, the fellowship may involve collaboration with other partner organisations (industry or non-industry) that can make significant contributions to the project. These partners can be based in Queensland, interstate, or overseas.

Other conditions

  • Fellowships must commence no later than six months after notification of the award.

  • The fellowship is not transferable in cases where the approved Fellow cannot complete the fellowship.

  • Applicants will automatically be considered for $180,000 early-career and $300,000 mid-career fellowships over three years, irrespective of the FTE of the proposed Fellow (which must be 50 per cent FTE or more). Applications for part-funding will be deemed ineligible and not considered.
  • Fellows should actively promote their research; provide broad fellowship information if required; and attend media/promotion events, if requested by the department.
  • 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 likely to impact on the fellowship, including changes that may impact on eligibility, research milestones, project funding or reporting. Please also advise the department of any changes to the contact details of the proposed Fellow.

Using the fellowship funds

The Queensland Government fellowship payments will be released to the applicant organisation to administer the grant funding.

The Advance Queensland funding is released in instalments. The first instalment is linked to the execution of the Financial Incentive Agreement (FIA), and subsequent instalments are linked to the submission of satisfactory project reports and their associated financial acquittal statements, as outlined in the FIA Schedule 2. 

The Advance Queensland fellowships funding is paid in advance. The funding may be partially or completely recovered by the Queensland Government if the Recipient is subsequently found to not be entitled to the funding, or has not used the funding in accordance with the fellowship Agreement or the program guidelines.

The funding may be used for the following 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 per cent 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, including field trials, for the Fellow and dedicated fellowship research/technical staff
  • contract research for services that cannot be performed by the applicant organisation, but are integral to the fellowship project
  • conference travel for the Fellow where the Fellow presents fellowship findings, or where the conference content directly relates to the fellowship. 

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 co-funded cash, include:

  • institutional salary 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 organisation(s)
  • conference travel for technical/scientific support staff
  • salary costs of non-fellowship activities for the Fellow or other dedicated fellowship staff
  • salary costs of the Fellow’s supervisor
  • scholarships, including PhD scholarships, or other fellowships
  • grants or prizes
  • costs associated with administrative support staff
  • contract research for services that can be performed by the applicant organisation
  • any non-fellowship related activity.

Assessment criteria

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

1. Project relevance and merit

The application must:

  • outline why the proposed research is important to Queensland 
  • briefly outline other relevant key research, and why the proposed research is novel
  • outline the fellowship research proposal, demonstrating that the research has scientific merit, and is well designed and achievable
  • outline how the fellowship is aligned to at least one of the investment areas. 

2. Meaningful collaboration

The application must demonstrate:

  • meaningful engagement, collaboration, and participation, including physical co-location, with at least one Queensland-based industry/end-user organisation #
  • the involvement of other people and/or organisations that can make significant contributions to the fellowship project.

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

  • 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 the industry/end-user partner organisation(s)
  • access to a mentor in an industry/end-user organisation.  

Note:  Letters of support from the applicant and partner organisations will be considered as part of this assessment criterion.

3. Clear outcomes and benefits for Queensland

The application must demonstrate:

  • clear, quantified, outcomes/benefits for Queensland within the next five years. Please refer to economic, social, environmental and/or regional benefits
  • how the research findings will be translated into outcomes for Queensland, including through adoption and/or commercialisation
  • how the industry/end-user partners will benefit from being involved in the project.

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 may 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.

There is no implicit guarantee of approval at any stage in the process.

The decision to award funding is at the discretion of the Queensland Government and all decisions are final. There is no appeals process for unsuccessful applicants.

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. 

Applicant organisations and nominated researchers must read and accept the terms and conditions of the FIA before applying for funding.

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 their obligations under the Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships FIA. 


Recipients of fellowship funding are required to complete reports on the progress of their projects annually, as outlined in the FIA.

As part of the reporting process, recipients must also provide financial acquittal statements, in a format notified by the department, which clearly outline details of the receipt and expenditure of each source of project funding.

The reports and financial acquittal statements must be assessed as satisfactory before the associated fellowship payment is released.

Interim reports and financial acquittal statements may be requested if a fellowship ends prior to the scheduled completion date.


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 21 April 2020. 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 the nominated Fellow and an authorised 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.

Applications cannot be revised after submission, but the department must be advised of any changes that are likely to affect funding eligibility. 

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 co-funding contributions they will make to the fellowship.

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

Further information

Please refer to the Advance Queensland website for additional information.

If you have specific questions about the program, please contact the grants manager in your organisation, who will contact the department if necessary.

Download these guidelines (PDF, 195KB)

Last updated 23 Jan, 2020
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia (CC BY-ND 3.0) ( )

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