Helen McLellan Research Grant Guidelines

Preamble


1. The Friends’ Helen McLellan Research Grant was established in 2010 to commemorate the generous bequest to the Friends of the late Helen McLellan.  It is one of a number of financial measures put in place by the Friends to provide continuing support to the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Purpose

2. To provide a financial grant in support of a scientific research initiative to be conducted by or on behalf of the Royal Botanic Gardens Board.

Value

3. The value of the grant(s) will be up to $20,000 per annum. The funds may be aggregated to a maximum of $60,000 for any one grant to be paid over a 3 year period.
Conversely, any unallocated amount in any one year may be carried forward for up to a further 3 years.

Research Grant Proposals

4. Research grant proposals should:-

(i) be consistent with the Friends’ ‘Purposes and Rules’ and the Royal Botanic Gardens Act 1991 as amended

(ii) aim to add value to the RBG’s research output

(iii) be focused on scientific investigation and research and be expected to lead to publication of the results in relevant peer reviewed journals.

5. Within this context it is intended that research grant conditions are flexible enough to allow for grants to be generative of funds from other sources (e.g. Australian Research Council) and to allow for a variety of applications including but not limited to:-

(i) a contribution towards scoping, seeding or proving a piece of major research

(ii) hire or purchase of scientific or technical equipment (e.g. a centrifuge) for a research study

(iii) to facilitate attendance at a scientific conference or convention connected with a defined research activity

(iv) engagement of an external expert or assistant required for the conduct of a research proposal

(v) contracting out a research proposal to an appropriate external body

(vi) supporting an interstate or overseas researcher to spend time at the RBG as a research partner or to pass on research skills to RBG staff.

6. Research may be conducted within RBG Board facilities or externally; by RBG employed staff or external researcher.

Conditions

7. Grant funding is intended to augment the capacity of the RBG Board to fund worthwhile research, but not to substitute for funding by the RBG of its programmed research activities. It is expected that grants will be used to support research that would not otherwise be undertaken at the time.

8. Where a grant is required to support a sub-project of a larger investigation, the sub-project should be sufficiently discrete for the outputs and outcomes to be independently evaluated.
 
9. Grant applications will only be accepted from employees of the Royal Botanic Gardens Board who will have primary responsibility for oversighting the research project.

10. It is not intended that grant funds are used to contribute to the salary and related employment costs of permanent RBG staff, towards their normal training or staff development costs, or towards administrative overheads.
 
Assessment & Approval

11. Research grant funding proposals will be invited annually or as funds become available and should be lodged at the Office of the Director and CEO in the form requested.  The Attachment contains some suggested guidelines.

12. Following initial assessment by the Director and CEO and the Chief Botanist, selected research proposals will be presented to a Judging Panel comprising the Friends Grants Committee and the Director preparatory to a recommendation being presented to the Friends Council for approval.

13. The proposer(s) of the research project(s) selected may be asked to attend and assist the Judging Panel and/or Council deliberations.

14. In assessing grant proposals consideration will be given to:-

(i) the scientific merit and relevance of the application to the RBG’s research objectives;

(ii) whether the research forms an identifiable or discrete element of work;

(iii) the qualifications and experience of the researcher(s);

(iv) the likelihood of achieving the stated objectives and its suitability for publication;

(v) and the justification of the budget for which funding is sought.

Other Considerations

15. Grant funding may also be subject to other considerations, for example:-

(i) presentation of results to the Friends Council, AGM and/or a meeting of the Friends

(ii) preparation of an article suitable for publication in Botanic News.

16. It is expected that an acknowledgement of the financial support provided by the Friends Helen McLellan Research Grant will be made in any published material, report or presentation on research supported or assisted by the grant.

June 2010