Q-CAS Collaborative Science Fund guidelines

Queensland-Chinese Academy of Sciences Collaborative Science Fund guidelines 2020

About the program

Queensland has a science and technology partnership with China through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology. The Department of Environment and Science Innovation (DES) has a Statement of Intent with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China’s peak research organisation. 

The Queensland-Chinese Academy of Sciences Collaborative Science Fund (the fund) was established under the agreement. 

It is anticipated that up to five Queensland applicants will be awarded grants of $125,000 (excluding GST) by the Queensland Government over a maximum of two years. 

In addition, each of the CAS lead participants in the successful applications will receive $125,000 from CAS.


The fund aims to develop relationships between Queensland and China by supporting practical and applied collaborative science and research projects in the following priority areas: 

  • Agricultural biotechnology and food research, including food safety
  • human health and medical research
  • environmental sciences

The objectives of the fund are to: 

  • create and strengthen collaborative relationships between Queensland and CAS researchers to facilitate the sharing and development of complementary expertise
  • enable Queensland and Chinese researchers to undertake projects that address current and significant scientific challenges
  • deliver real and tangible economic, social and/or environmental outcomes for Queensland and China through the creation of innovative products, technologies or processes that have a practical application
  • capitalise on the complementary comparative advantages of Queensland and China and build a critical mass of internationally recognised science and research.

Eligibility criteria

The proposed project must create and/or enhance a research alliance between Queensland and China research organisations. In doing so, the project application must meet the eligibility criteria below: 

  • focus on one of the three identified priority areas 
  • be led by a Queensland-based research organisation (with an ABN and registered for GST) 
  • have a lead participant (partner) that is a CAS-affiliated institute 
  • have a cash contribution from the Queensland-based applicant of at least $75,000 
  • have a cash contribution from the eligible CAS-affiliated participant (and any other partner/s) of at least $75,000 to match the Queensland applicant (and any partner/s) contribution. (Total project value will be a minimum of $400,000 comprising $125,000 each from DES and CAS and $75,000 each from the Queensland applicant and CAS lead participant.) 

The application is ineligible if:

  • the project is not a distinct activity/set of activities with specified start and end points, and aims and outcomes that are achievable within these specified points 
  • the lead Queensland-based applicant (and/or any Queensland partner/s) receives Queensland Government support for their core activities and it cannot be demonstrated that the proposed project is an addition to those core activities 
  • the activities carried out by partner organisation(s) are contract research activities, and do not involve genuine collaboration with the applicant organisation. 

Using the Queensland Government funding

Funding may be used for the following eligible project costs: 

  • salary costs for project staff (including salary-related on-costs)
  • project consumables 
  • travel directly related to the project activities outlined in the submitted application.

Items not eligible for funding include: 

  • organisational overheads 
  • capital works and/or physical infrastructure including any buildings, land transportation, telecommunications and IT networks 
  • travel for professional development or conference attendance 
  • costs associated with the on-going programs of work and/or core business of the applicant or partner organisation(s)
  • contract research for services that can be performed by the applicant organisation.

Funds committed by the applicant and project partners to satisfy the matching cash requirements can include: 

  • salaries (including salary-related on-costs) for any staff working on the project for a minimum of 20 per cent of their total work time
  • any other direct and actual project costs (non-salaries).

Queensland Government funding either must be expended wholly in Queensland, or if partly expended in the partnering jurisdiction, must directly support the Queensland research proponent (for example to cover costs to access specialised research equipment not available in Queensland). 

Only eligible expenditure incurred on or after the project commencement date can be claimed by successful applicants. 

Payment of grants will be made based on agreed periodic project milestones. A final milestone payment will be made upon the provision of documentary evidence that all project requirements have been satisfied, including evidence that total project expenditure has been incurred and project contributions made by all relevant parties. 

Assessment criteria

  1. Level of novelty and scientific merit of the project (30% weighting)

    • The science and research is addressing a current and significant challenge for both Queensland and China.
    • Preliminary research has been undertaken (by the applicant, project partners or others) that supports the advancement of the project.
  2. Quality of the collaboration and capability of the project team (30% weighting)

    • Science and research partners with complementary areas of expertise will work together on a specific project.
    • The project will build upon the competitive advantages of Queensland and China.
    • The participants have the research, scientific and management skills and experience, with the access to infrastructure and funding required, to successfully deliver the project.
  3. Outcomes and impact of the project (40% weighting)

    • The project will develop innovative products, technologies or processes that have a practical application within an area of identified priority.
    • The project will deliver real and tangible economic, social, and/or environmental benefits for Queensland and China.

Application assessment

Applications will be assessed in a competitive, merit-based process against the fund’s assessment criteria by a panel with scientific/research/industry expertise. 

The assessment process will also take into account the government’s priorities and the imperative to create jobs for the economy as well as the need to balance the research investment to support a diversity of capability across scientific disciplines, identified fund priority areas, geographic regions and research groups.

The Minister for Science will approve successful applications for this grant program.

Submitting your application

The closing time and date for submitting applications is Tuesday 16 June 2020, 1:00pm.

Applications should be completed and submitted electronically online via the Queensland Government website (https://science.des.qld.gov.au/funding). The online lodgement process is hosted via the secure SmartyGrants site and application documentation will remain strictly confidential. The link to the SmartyGrants application form is available at https://des.smartygrants.com.au/QCAS2020

Funding agreements

Successful applicants will be required to enter into a legally binding financial incentive agreement with the Queensland Government.

Ensure you have read and accept the terms and conditions of the financial incentive agreement, prior to submitting an application for funding, as they will not be negotiable at the time a funding offer is made.

Promotion of supported projects

Funding recipients will be expected to actively promote their research, and to provide information and attend media/promotion events if requested.

The Queensland Government funding should be acknowledged by recipients in all relevant published material, media releases and public statements.


The Queensland Government collects and collates information from the application form to evaluate applications for the program. Only authorised Queensland Government officers, approved grant assessors and the Advanced Queensland expert panel will have access to this information. 

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 in the future. 

Your personal information will not be disclosed to any other third party without your 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. 

Further information

Email: science.grants@des.qld.gov.au 

Facebook: Queensland Science 

Twitter: @qldscience

Phone: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)

Chinese partners can obtain more information from the Chinese Academy of Sciences: 

Email: crchen@cashq.ac.cn 

Phone: +8610 6859 7506


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